AOSIS Chair and Samoan Ambassador to the United Nations, Fatumanava Dr Pa’olelei Luteru

Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)chair and Samoan Ambassador to the United Nations, Fatumanava Pa’olelei Luteru is calling for ambitious action-oriented outcomes from the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in May.

“As we approach the end of the informals and stand at the mid-way point of the preparatory committees, we also thank delegations for their expressed assurances to SIDS. We only need now to reaffirm these expressions in tangible commitments.

“The enthusiasm and goodwill at the start of this process needs to materialise into very practical SIDS-designed outcomes; half attempts and reiteration of agreed language from non-SIDS processes, stretching back to a different time and space, won’t suffice,” said Ambassador Luteru in his statement at the Second session of the Preparatory Committee for the SIDS conference in New York this week.

He addressed the progress made in drafting the outcome document for the Fourth SIDS Conference and emphasising the need for resolute focus on SIDS and their specific needs.

“We have made progress on many issues in the text, but a few important areas remain.

“We ask that the focus of the remaining sessions be resolutely on SIDS, their particular circumstances, and specific needs. Responses ought to be targeted for a SIDS-focused and action-oriented outcome.

“This remains the overarching interest of AOSIS, and we trust it is a shared perspective,” said Ambassador Luteru.

He also highlighted the ever-changing global landscape and the necessity to build a foundation for sustainable development amidst uncertain times.

“The world in 2014 did not look the way it does in 2024 and we expect a vastly different world in another decade.

“Our immediate task today is to build a foundation for the most vulnerable among us, that will ensure that a different world will not mean a world where our countries sit on the cliff of another crisis, but instead to attain the sustainable development we clamor for,” Ambassador Luteru stressed.

With the conference looming closer, he outlined the thematic areas crucial for SIDS’ development.

“We are now only two months away from the Fourth SIDS Conference, and one of the last opportunities to place SIDS on a sustainable pathway.

“The Conference agenda is designed to elicit support and action in thematic areas best suited to occasion the greatest gains – revitalise and build resilient economies, enhancing critical forms of finance, making climate finance work by scaling up climate action, leveraging data and digital technologies, and investing in human capital.

“These mirror the main thematic areas of the outcome document and the issues that SIDS relentlessly advocate for. They are the building blocks for the transformation SIDS seek and the international development agenda we all support,” he explained.

Ambassador Luteru thanked the co-chairs and delegations for their support but emphasised the need for tangible commitments.

“We remain grateful to the co-Chairs of the Preparatory Committee, the Permanent Representatives of the Maldives and New Zealand for their steadfast engagement and tireless efforts throughout this process.

“AOSIS looks forward to the next few days of this preparatory committee as we continue to chart the resilient prosperity SIDS desperately want,” he said.

The Fourth SIDS conference will be held in Antigua and Barbuda from 27-30 May 2024.