71st United Nations General Assembly - 2nd Committee: National Statement: SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway, delivered by Ambassador Phillip Taula, 10 October 2016.

Mr Chair

New Zealand supports the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and continues to advocate strongly on issues surrounding Small Island Developing States, SIDS.

The past two years have seen significant steps forward in recognition of the development priorities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). 

The successful SIDS Conference in Apia, in 2014, highlighted the unique circumstances of SIDS, and in particular the challenges and opportunities they face. At that meeting, international political commitment to sustainable development was secured and a 10 year SIDS agenda, captured in the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (S.A.M.O.A.) Pathway was confirmed. 

The Samoa Conference highlighted issues critical to the sustainable development of SIDS  - oceans and fisheries, high debt levels and the need for sustainable management of debt, the impact of natural disasters and shocks, the need for disaster risk reduction, non-communicable diseases, energy and sustainable economic development.  Environmental issues were strongly to the fore, most critically the impact of climate change.

Mr Chair

Since the Conference in Apia, many of these priority SIDS issues have been recognised within international agreements. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda, adopted in July 2015, highlights the financing challenges for SIDS (such as lack of economies of scale and, especially for Pacific SIDS, distance from markets), and the Sustainable Development Goals incorporate climate change, oceans and energy, among others, reflecting strong Pacific concerns.

Alongside 75 countries, including 14 Pacific SIDS, New Zealand recently helped make history by ratifying the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and supporting its early entry into force. The Paris outcome is an important achievement, particularly for SIDS. New Zealand is committed to helping support climate action and implementation efforts to deliver on the Paris agreement, including through our support for clean, affordable and renewable energy in the Pacific and elsewhere. 

In June this year, New Zealand and the EU co-hosted the Pacific Energy Conference. The event was attended by leaders and representatives from across the Pacific and beyond. At the conclusion of the Conference donors had committed over NZ$1 billion/ US$690 million  for sustainable energy projects in the Pacific.  New Zealand and the EU also issued a Joint Declaration of Cooperation on a Pacific Partnership for Sustainable Energy. This clearly signals our commitment to close cooperation on renewable energy in the Pacific.

Mr Chair

New Zealand celebrates the fact that the voices of SIDS are being recognised in global agreements. We are keen to ensure that these agreements deliver tangible outcomes, and that implementation can be tracked effectively without adding additional layers of bureaucracy, that could otherwise overwhelm SIDS systems.  We support integration of the SDGs and SAMOA Pathway into local planning frameworks, taking into account country-level priorities.  We have been advocating for indicators that developing countries, including small Pacific countries, would be able to measure and for simple, nimble and effective UN review mechanisms. 

Mr Chair

We, along with Australia and the UK, are supporting an OECD-UNDP study into SIDS Financing Challenges.  This work is under way and should conclude by mid- 2017.  This will help us get a better understanding of the constraints and opportunities for financing for SIDS development.

When we signed up to the SDGs we collectively committed to “Leave no one behind”.  New Zealand takes this seriously.  We will continue to play our part by actively and constructively raising the unique challenges faced by SIDS and delivering tangible results to ensure that indeed no one is left behind. 

Thank you