Statement at the Opening of the High-Level Political Forum
on Sustainable Development
“Setting the Stage” Plenary Segment
18 September 2023
United Nations Headquarter- New York
His Excellency Surangel S. Whipps Jr.
President of the Republic of Palau
Chair of the Pacific Small Island Developing States
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I deliver this statement in my capacity as Chair of the 12 Pacific Small Island Developing States represented in New York and we align ourselves with the statement delivered by Samoa on behalf of AOSIS.
On behalf of the PSIDS, I extend our congratulations to His Excellency Mr. Dennis Francis on assuming the Presidency of the 78th Session of the General Assembly and assure you of the Pacific SIDS’ full support in the successful execution of your mandate over the next 12months.
Our continued existence depends on our capacity to unite as a unified global community. In this juncture, the need for multilateralism to be strengthened is not merely advisable but imperative. The achievement of the SDGs must be at the center of our collective efforts over the next 7 years. Together we must rise to these challenges and elevate our actions with urgency to confront the climate crises, leaving a positive impact on our environment, societies and
economies for present and future generations.
The Pacific SIDS’ commitment to sustainable development and resilience of our countries and peoples remains unwavering. However, COVID-19 and climate change have impaired and even reversed our hard-fought development gains. Our endeavors are frequently impeded by the escalating costs associated with natural disasters, the human and physical costs of climate change and our limitation and lack of access to concessional financing. Significant limitations
to accessing finance hinders our abilities to allocate funds to effectively implement our development priorities, including the SAMOA Pathway and other crucial development activities. We support the follow-up and review of the financing for development outcomes in particular the reform of the international financial institutions to support the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Nonetheless, we continue to persist in our efforts to meet the SDGs as they provide the best hope for a brighter and more sustainable future.
SIDS face a unique set of vulnerabilities which hinders our ability to achieve sustainable development. Structural factors, including size, remoteness, and exposure to global economic, social, political and environmental shocks impact socio economic outcomes and our ability to achieve the SDGs. These vulnerabilities were further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic with many SIDS countries being particularly affected by the drop in international tourism and
remittances. The sudden economic shock exposed the fragility of our economies and the urgent need for tailored solutions to address our unique circumstances. Thus, the call for an endorsement of a multi-dimensional vulnerability index (MVI), which will allow for the inclusion of more than just income-based criteria to assess eligibility for concessional finance, comes at the right moment, and we ask for the support of our international community on this key issue.
The slow progress on the SDGs achieved by SIDS to date is an indication that losses linked to vulnerability far outweighs development gains. There is a clear necessity for building genuine partnerships and cooperation to provide financial and technical support. We call for effective and durable partnerships and scaled-up climate finance that adequately recognise the context of SIDS, and respect regional and national policy coordination mechanisms and systems.
Moreover, we call on partners to improve partnerships around data and statistics for monitoring and evaluation, digital infrastructure, and transformation, STI, sustainable and predictable financing, and capacity building.
We need to remind ourselves of the commitments and undertakings we made towards the full implementation of the SAMOA Pathway, and we support the call to develop a robust monitoring framework for the SAMOA Pathway aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other intergovernmental agreements, including the Sendai Framework and Paris Agreement. As these commitments reflect our shared responsibility to leave no one behind and to build a more just and equitable future for all. After all, it is of vital importance that each one of us demonstrates unwavering boldness and courage. –ENDS
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