17 Jan 2005

Commonwealth Secretary-General urges action on sustainable development

12:17 pm on 17 January 2005

The Commonwealth Secretary-General says leaders of small island states ought to muster greater political will to carry out development.

Don McKinnon was speaking at the recently-completed UN summit on small island developing states in Mauritius.

The meeting saw nearly 40 island countries around the world renew a commitment made more than ten years ago to sustainable development.

But Don McKinnon says the 1994 Barbados Plan of Action didn't sting countries into action.

"We must be honest and recognise the international community has not done all it pledged to do for small states a decade ago. There is a time for promises, and there is a time for action: And now is the time for more action. We know what the problems are, we know even what the solutions are, or should be. What is needed now, more than ever, is the political will to implement them."

Mr McKinnon says politicians shouldn't be afraid of losing votes by pursuing generous development policies.