Can’t deliver, don’t commit: PM Fiame of Samoa

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa, as Chair of the Alliance of Small Islands States stated there was no use making a commitment if there was no intention of delivering.

She stressed the role of political will from the international community to drive the SIDS blueprint on the journey toward resilient prosperity across the next ten years.

Speaking from the podium at the plenary of the Fourth International Conference on Small Islands Developing States in Antigua and Barbuda, Fiame talked to the “Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS (ABAS) a Renewed Declaration for Resilient Prosperity”.  

This blueprint, a year of consultations in the making that started in 2023, will be a key outcome of the SIDS4 now underway in Antigua and Barbuda.

“Small Islands Developing States, defined by their vulnerability, but not limited by it, are the Davids among the Goliaths of the world. For three decades AOSIS has advocated for global responses that aim to make the world safer and more equitable for everyone, especially SIDS,” said Fiame.

“They do this even when the global response to safeguarding their future against the climate emergency is tepid. SIDS have routinely called for the appropriate response mechanisms that will allow them to meet their challenges head on – in finance, adaptation, and technology.  

“They strive for safe, healthy and inclusive societies, where needs are met now and into the future.   Having already three Programmes of Action and little development progress achieved, SIDS decided that for this next decade of action, a different approach is necessary, rather than the usual listing of challenges and problems. We all know what these challenges are.”

Fiame stated the ABAS is the collective representation of the development aspirations for Small Islands Developing States for the next ten years.  Aligning with the three pillars of sustainable development – economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental protection, the ABAS highlights how climate change has a devastating impact on economies, peoples, countries, and livelihoods.

As such the call for 1.5 to stay alive remains prominent across all Small Islands Developing States as does the call for urgent serious climate action.

“Our theme “charting the course towards resilient prosperity” is not a catch phrase, SIDS intend to make this a reality. We are ready to work diligently with those who want to be part of this journey with us. We aspire to move towards 100 per cent renewable energy, reducing our debt, harness science, technology and digital innovations, and building productive and secure societies,” stated Fiame.

“We are not looking for handouts or sympathy, what we want is an equal opportunity to contribute and make our mark in this global community.”

Small Islands Developing States have little access to climate finance. Despite being hit hard by climate change while only contributing to 1 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, they only had access to USD 1.5 billion out of USD 100 billion in climate finance pledged to developing countries in 2019.

Fiame called for everyone to join the SIDS through the next 10 years on their journey towards achieving the sustainable development goals not as a bystander but as an active partner.

“Like our countries, our peoples are warm, welcoming and beautiful, masking the troubles and tribulations that we are really facing. Many look at us unable to comprehend how we continue to smile, stand tall and make waves,” she said.

“This is because we are a resilient people. However, we know that we deserve better, and we will continue to fight to protect the future of our children, our environment, and our nations.

“Let us not make commitments we have no intentions of delivering on. SIDS are prepared to have genuine, sustainable and durable partnerships instead of a ton of empty commitments and promises. We thank those of you who are prepared to deliver on these.”

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