High Level Political Forum 2023 - Small Island Developing States: From recovery to resilience in the face of multiple shocks

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Statement delivered by Permanent Representative, H.E. Ms. Carolyn Schwalger

Thank you to the speakers and panellists.

It is now widely acknowledged that SIDS face particular vulnerabilities due to their size, remoteness, narrow resource bases, and susceptibilities to climate and economic shocks.

We are supportive of tools that recognise these vulnerabilities, including the development of a multi-dimensional vulnerability index.

The current multiple crises of climate change, COVID, and food and energy price rises due to the war on Ukraine, make it difficult for SIDS to create the space and accumulate the resources needed to build resilience.

As highlighted in the SAMOA Pathway, partnerships are crucial to build resilience, in ways that reflect and respond to these vulnerabilities.

We can also help by making it more straightforward to access externally provided development resources, such as concessional finance. Analysis is required on how well external resources have been able to be accessed, mobilised and integrated into SIDS climate planning, budgeting and consequent adaptation priorities and initiatives.

It will be important for the SDG Summit to acknowledge the unique challenges and barriers SIDS face in achieving the SDGs, and to reaffirm the need for international development system responses that are tailored to SIDS and sufficiently resourced.

In this regard, we welcome the ongoing progress by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in lifting their development finance allocations to SIDS, particularly those in the Pacific, through criteria that recognise their small size and other forms of vulnerability. These approaches should continue and be replicated elsewhere.

The COVID crisis and response offers lessons and opportunities for improving the effectiveness of our development cooperation with SIDS. For example the opportunities associated with higher trust modalities that enable country-led and country-owned responses. For example, reform linked budget support or flexible climate finance for climate adaptation plans.

These approaches illustrate practical application of the principles for improving development impact in SIDS, launched last year. Development partners should continue to work with SIDS and look for opportunities to apply these principles in practical ways.

We note the large and ongoing challenges SIDS face when confronted with unsustainable debt. We are generally supportive of global debt relief efforts, particularly as they relate to private and bilateral debt burdens. We also support dedicated debt relief funds administered by International Financial Institutions. 

Linked with the high-level dialogue on Financing for Development, we would welcome a targeted discussion on the configuration of development and climate finance flows to build resilience in SIDS. Such a discussion should cover the range of finance sources, including from domestic resource mobilisation, the private sector, government to government, from philanthropic organisations, and via international financial institutions.

We see the SDG Summit as one step on the way to the Fourth International SIDS Conference, which we hope will adopt an ambitious outcome and provide direction for partnerships. New Zealand is honoured to serve as co-chair for the preparatory process for the Conference.

Thank you.


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