LIVE UPDATES: Small island nations meeting in Antigua and Barbuda chart new course towards sustainable prosperity

11:05 am

‘Hear us’

The opening session ended with an appeal from young Lutrell John, one of the delegates attending the SIDS Global Children and Youth Action Summit at the weekend.

The fresh-faced Antigua and Barbuda resident told delegates that his generation wants a better, safer future.

He recalls the “life-changing devastation” of Hurricane Irma in 2017 and has become increasingly aware of the worsening climate crisis.

“I love my country, it’s beautiful, it’s my homeland but I fear for my future“, he say.

If we truly want sustainable development, children’s voices must be at the heart of the dialogue. “You need to listen to us and respect our ideas and solutions,” he said.

10:40 am

General Assembly President Dennis Francis – who hails from the nearby Caribbean State of Trinidad and Tobago – said the long-awaited SIDS4 conference “provides a decade of strong platform” for action, under the ABAS action programme.

“If we do not make substantive reforms to the international financial framework and multilateral structures – as well as their governance – developing countries including SIDS, cannot fully exploit its potential to mobilize the necessary resources to achieve its goals Agenda 2030 and that is the SDGs”, he told the conference.

10:30 am

Small island states ‘a test case for climate justice and fiscal equity’

The world cannot afford to lose a single country or culture to global warming or the continuation of one “two-speed financial world” where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, says UN Secretary General António Guterres in his opening speech.

Mr. Guterres said that along with their exceptional beauty – whether the clear blue waters of the Caribbean, the South Pacific or the Indian Ocean – SIDS are also particularly vulnerable.

“Your Unique geographical location exposes you to climatic chaos, rising sea levels and land degradation. Climate change is an existential crisis for the entire human family, but SIDS are on the front lines.”

Reliant on imports and complex supply chains, global shocks of record extreme weather, the COVID pandemic that devastated tourism, and regional wars, many SIDS have been left reeling in the waters. dynamic.

A life raft is required

“Antigua and Barbuda’s new agenda for SIDS outlines steps to achieve resilient prosperity in partnership with the international community”, said the head of the United Nations.

“The United Nations stands with you” in the fight against the climate crisis; building a resilient economy; safe and healthy society, biodiversity conservation; “and to protect and sustainably use the ocean and its resources.”

He called on SIDS to make bold and sustainable investments on their own – but they cannot succeed alone.

“The international community has a duty to support you – led by the countries with the greatest responsibility and capacity to address the challenges you face,” he declared.

Core justice

SIDS is a test case for climate justice and fiscal justice,” he said, and with the 1.5-degree temperature limit fast approaching, “we cannot accept the disappearance of any country or culture under the rising tide.”

“The idea that it’s an entire island nation could become collateral damage for the fossil fuel industry’s profiteering or the rivalry between major economies is simply obscene.”

SIDS has been leading the way for decades, serving as the world’s conscience on the climate crisis – making a difference in Paris in 2015.

“Today, we need your fierce voice more than ever,” said the Secretary General.

‘Costs are sky high’

SIDS also need financial justice, he explained, calling on leaders in Antigua to ask developed countries to fulfill their commitments to double adaptation financing to enable the construction of adequate defense systems. to save island nations from destruction.

“You also have every right to call for new and substantial contributions to the Loss and Damages Fund. Some of your countries have suffered damage worth more than half of their GDP overnight due to cyclones,” Mr. Guterres said.

But we are in a two-speed financial world. For the rich – take cheap loans and make easy money. But the global majority – countries that need to finance development – ​​are paying exorbitant costs to borrow money.”

The debt mill is sinking SIDS economies as oceans erode coasts: “This is creating a vicious cycle of stress and vulnerability, and limiting your ability to invest in the SDGs” .

He emphasized the need for SDG Stimulus and far-reaching reforms to “outdated, dysfunctional and unjust global financial architecture”puts the needs of developing countries first.

‘Almighty noise’

He said the temptation to turn inward and lower expectations must be avoided.

“That’s not the SIDS way. Cooperation and mutual support will help SIDS weather both geopolitical and physical storms.”

And When you talk together, SIDS can make extremely loud noises. I urge you to do so at this critical time for our planet and our future.”

10:12 am

It is imperative to ‘act now’ and limit global warming

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has just been elected to chair SIDS4.

He said SIDS vulnerabilities put them at a major disadvantage and large-scale polluters must compensate countries for their exploitation.

The unrelenting climate crisis has severely undermined efforts to meet the SDGs, making finding solutions all the more important, he said.

He added that this year is the hottest on record everywhere, underscoring the urgency of our predicament.

To ignore this is to gamble with our collective future. Continuing business as usual is not only negligent but also a proactive choice that leads to disaster. Such indifference will have a disastrous effect on every country, every community and every individual across the planet.”

He said putting profits above sustainability must end and called for a global carbon tax on oil companies with huge profits. “Inaction will determine the fate of SIDS…It is imperative that we act now, not tomorrow but today, with unyielding conviction and determination.”

10:05 am

‘Your future is our future’: King Charles

The SIDS4 conference is NEARLY officially underway. and there was a special message from King Charles, head of state of Antigua and Barbuda.

In a video, the monarch said that over decades he had witnessed firsthand the significant challenges facing SIDS and how they could multiply to terrifying levels.

He said he also admires the leadership of SIDS leaders, which is vital in fighting climate change. He said their example paved the way at crucial times.

“However, I hardly need to tell you that people have much more to do“, to build new partnerships, he said. King Charles congratulated Antigua and Barbuda and all the States gathered for SIDS4.

“The issues before you could hardly be more important. Your future is our future…ultimately we all need bold and determined action.”

09:45 am

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne was the final speaker in the cultural sector, in a video clip from the United Nations General Assembly, calling for greater support for SIDS amid corrosive climate change.

09:35 am

Now it’s a display of pure joy, showcasing some of the wonderful attractions of this gem of the Caribbean. “Show me how much you love Antigua and Barbuda!”, was the cry on stage. It was a noisy and celebratory welcome for islanders from all over the world.

09:25 am

It’s truly a performance: dancing, singing, dramatic videos about the beauty and human suffering of climate change – and the specter of natural disaster in the form of the storms that Antigua and Barbuda knows all too well, they have had to go through it. Irma and Maria in 2017.

Dawn breaks over Jolly Beach, Antigua and Barbuda, as countries convene the Fourth International Conference of Small Island Developing States (SIDS4).

Dawn breaks over Jolly Beach, Antigua and Barbuda, as countries convene the Fourth International Conference of Small Island Developing States (SIDS4).

09:14 am

We recently enjoyed a performance by the Antigua and Barbuda Symphony Orchestra. Now a theatrical performance focusing on the dangers of climate change for vulnerable countries gathered in the hall. We have trees, tropical sounds and warnings that the ecosystem is out of balance… “We must give opportunities to the youth of these countries”, Mother Nature is saying:

“What affects small island nations, affects all of us. Respect all nature or everything you know will soon disappear!”

Buses are ready to take delegates to the conference venue.

Buses are ready to take delegates to the conference venue.

08:45 am – It will all happen in a matter of minutes with the cultural opening event. Fortunately, the sun is shining this morning, which compared to yesterday’s rainstorms has reminded everyone here that the unpredictability of increasingly severe weather will be one of the main discussion points this week. This.

You can find complete information about the entire week and special features leading up to the conference, on our landing page here.

‘Resilient Prosperity’

More than 20 world leaders, along with representatives from the private sector, civil society, academia and youth – nearly 4,000 participants – gathered at the verdant conference site in American University of Antigua near the capital St John’s, to address the critical issues affecting the future of SIDS.

Themed Chart a path toward resilient prosperityThe four-day conference (May 27-30) will showcase new innovations and develop practical solutions to address the critical challenges specific to SIDS due to the climate emergency, debt heavy debt and health crisis.

For more about the conference, check out curtain-raiser story here. UN News attended one of the high profile events over the weekend hosted by over 80 young change makers from around the world and you can check out their event The need for action is here.

The conference will approve it Antigua and Barbuda Agenda on SIDS (ABAS) – Innovative Declaration for Sustainable Prosperitywhich sets out the aspirations for sustainable development of small islands over the next decade and the support needed from the international community to achieve them.

SIDS across the Pacific, Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans, Indian Ocean and South China Sea are home to about 65 million people. They manage 19.1% of the world’s Exclusive Economic Zones and the resources they hold.

Accounting for Covering 14% of the world’s coastline, SIDS boast high levels of biodiversity. SIDS has pioneered renewable energy solutions, advocated for sustainable tourism, while leading conservation efforts and making great strides in developing an ocean-based economy.

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