Second Planning Mission as Samoa and the United Nations Prepare for 2014 SIDS Conference

Jan 26, 2014

Mr Wu Hongbo in the middle. Photo credit: Tatsuya Hayashi.

The Prime Minister and Government of Samoa will host in Apia the 2nd UN Planning Mission from Sunday 27 January to Saturday 1 February. Leading the delegation is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Mr. Wu Hongbo with 11 senior UN Secretariat members for discussions with the Government on preparations for the 2014 Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States to be held in Samoa this coming August/September. Mr. Wu is also Secretary-General of the Conference.

Countries agreed at theRio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 that greater efforts were needed to assist Small Island developing States and called for convening a conference in 2014. 

Commencing discussions next week, Mr. Wu and his delegation will once again meet with Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sa’ilele Malielegaoi on 27 January and will tour the conference site to view the progress made since Mr Wu’s first planning mission in April last year.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa heads the Samoa National Task Force. Ms Faalavaau Perina Sila is the CEO/ National Coordinator of the conference. “The Government and people of Samoa are committed to hosting a successful SIDS Conference and welcome this visit to review and finalize all our preparations for the Conference”, says the Prime Minister.  The venue of the Conference is the Faleata Sports Complex where major renovations and constructions are underway and planned for the next few months in order to provide suitable conferencing facilities for the delegates.  “National preparations are country-wide so that delegates not only enjoy the Conference but also get to enjoy our country and experience the Samoan hospitality we are famously renowned for”, further comments the Prime Minister.

The SIDS Conference will focus on issues that will help close the gaps that obstruct development in the small island nations.The conference is open to the 193 UN countries, observers, representatives of major groups, organizations and the media with the expected official participants numbers to be around 3000. The Conference will place SIDS issues front and center on the international stage, and Samoa will be ready to show the world first-hand the SIDS reality - both the challenges and the opportunities. At Rio+20, countries reconfirmed that small island developing States remain a special case for sustainable development because of their small size, their remoteness, small natural resource base and their vulnerability to exogenous events such as the impacts of climate change and financial crises.

The planning mission will have a week of bilateral working meetings with the Samoa National Task Force to discuss preparations and other arrangements for the Conference. 

“Small island developing States are on the frontlines of sustainable development and despite their unique vulnerabilities, they never shy away from tackling head-on the social, economic and environmental challenges facing their communities”, says Mr. Wu. “The world should take notice how these countries are dealing with a range of economic, social and environmental issues, including the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and extreme weather events. The Samoa Conference will help guide us all toward a sustainable future.”

The UN Planning Mission returns to New York on Saturday 1 February 2014.


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