UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan on Tuesday expressed the hope that the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), to be hosted by the Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda next year, would “effectively” deal with the special problems of the 37-member group of vulnerable nations.
“The … Conference is a timely opportunity to reinvigorate international support and solidarity for effectively addressing the special needs and vulnerabilities of small island developing States by focusing on practical and pragmatic actions,” Ambassador Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told the first meeting of the 2024 conference’s preparatory committee.
The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States was held from September 1-4, 2014 in Apia, Samoa, a country in the central South Pacific Ocean.
“The Fourth International Conference is taking place at a time when the developing world is in crisis; the crises of food, fuel and finance; of rising water scarcity; of unsustainable debt burdens; of increasing poverty and hunger; and of climate change — all threatening the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable people in the Global South,” the Pakistani envoy said. In this dire situation, he said, the small island developing States are particularly impacted, as they continue to face the combined challenges arising, in particular, from their geographical remoteness, the small scale of their economies, high costs and vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters.
In this regard, Aamir Khan called for addressing the issue of financing, as, he said, the existing international financial architecture was inadequate to support the needs of developing countries. Multilateral Development Banks must be reformed in order to scale up concessional finance and grants, ODA (official development assistance) commitments must be fulfilled, and SDRs (special drawing rights) must be reallocated, Aamir stressed.
Noting that the world is in a debt crisis, he underscored the need for improving existing mechanisms by seeking an expansion of eligibility to all vulnerable countries and finding ways to ensure that all creditors participate on an equal footing.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries was not possible without significant private investment, the Pakistani envoy said. Pakistan, he said, has consistently advocated the formation of a facility under UN auspices, a public-private partnership enterprise, to mobilize investments in sustainable infrastructure. Pakistan will extend its full support to SIDS in the efforts to ensure that the Fourth International Conference is a success, the Pakistani envoy added.