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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: AOSIS Leaders Endorse Declaration at Samoa Conference

on September 2, 2014

AOSIS Leaders Endorse Declaration at Samoa Conference

 Apia, Samoa—The Heads of Delegation from the Alliance of Small Island States gathered here formally endorsed a Leader’s Declaration today outlining their vision for sustainable development and the concrete steps needed to implement it.

The Leaders from the coalition of 43 low-lying and coastal countries from around the world issued the Declaration on the sidelines of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States to accelerate progress on the implementation of sustainable development goals in SIDS, which face a unique set of challenges in overcoming poverty and building sustainable 21st Century economies.

“Achieving sustainable development in SIDS requires special attention to the unique circumstances we face and with the impacts of climate change – including an existential threat from sea level rise – growing worse by the day it has become even more difficult,” said H.E. Baron Waqa, President of Nauru and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States. “To be successful our work as an international community must be guided by a new level of discipline that ensures no people are left behind, particularly small islands.”

The overarching theme of the conference is “the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States through genuine and durable partnerships” and the Leader’s Declaration welcomes the adoption of the SOMOA Pathway—the outcome of over a year of negotiations with the international community, emphasising priority areas for SIDS in light of their unique vulnerabilities.

“There is urgent need to address the security implication of climate change, including violation of territorial integrity, existential threat, more frequent and severe climate related disasters, threats to water and food security, increased natural resource scarcity, and forced displacement and the human dimensions of climate change, including where necessary, initiatives for preparing communities for relocation,” the Declaration reads.

The Samoa Conference is one in a series of important milestones during the international sustainable development and climate change negotiations this year, which the United Nations General Assembly has declared to be the “International Year of SIDS.” Next month, world leaders will meet in New York at an emergency Leader’s Summit called by the UN Secretary General to address the climate change. Preparations also continue ahead of an international climate conference, where parties are expected to sign a comprehensive agreement to lower the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for the crisis in Paris in 2015.

“There is a unique opportunity this year to improve the lives of island people today and for the future. We have an obligation to seize it because for some it may never come again,” said President Waqa.

–Ends–

Full Declaration available here: http://aosis.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/AOSIS-Leaders-Declaration-1-September-2014-FINAL-.pdf

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