ACP launches forum for Small Island Developing states
A new forum for Small Island Developing States within the ACP group of nations will enhance their economies and improve their resilience after natural disasters.
A forum for Small Island Developing States, or SIDS, has been established within the group of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific nations whose 8th summit has just concluded in Papua New Guinea.
Benjamin Robinson-Drawbridge spoke with the Assistant Secretary-General of the ACP, Viwanou Gnassounou, who says the forum's creation has emphasised the vulnerability of SIDS to natural disasters.
VIWANOU GNASSOUNOU: 37 or 38 out of about 50 countries recognised as SIDS are ACP countries. So the ACP is actually a natural home for the SIDS. And without any scrutiny or any furor we wanted to take the lead and ensure that the ACP countries, being the majority of the SIDS, we can promote what should be the appropriate attention given to the SIDS issue. That was the basis for establishing the SIDS forum. Linked to the fact that we are also linked to one of the, if not the major development donor which is the EU. And our aim is to ensure that all of the instruments that the EU is promoting or developing to support development, the SIDS are clearly taken care of. Now the forum has been established and the first co-ordinator has been appointed in the person of the current Samoa ambassador to the EU in Brussels, Fatumanava Luteru. So we have started working and we actually organised a meeting where the AOSIS which is the Alliance of Small Island States co-ordinator came and associated itself to what we are doing. So we are not only creating a separate group from the established one but we are just trying to mainstream what should be done with all the established groups taking care of the SIDS issue.
BENJAMIN ROBINSON-DRAWBRIDGE: What are some of the issues which the small island member nations are facing? Are there any common issues that were identified at the summit?
VG: Most have specific vulnerabilities. They don't have access to some, I would say, soft money. The conditions to receive international aid are more stringent than what can be given to the ACP. So the common idea is the vulnerability of those countries. If they are subject to any shock, their resilience is much lower than the larger states. So our first aim is to recognise that they need to be given specific instruments to be able to recover as quick as possible whenever they have been hit by natural disasters. Can be also food security issues, but the first thing is to agree among ACP countries that those countries are vulnerably countries and they have to be given special attention. We can also talk about exposure to natural disasters, cyclone or tropical storm. We also hope that especially for the countries here in the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, who we think are very supportive to them, but we think they can make available to them their satellite systems which can play a bigger role in terms of prevention or suspicion of the natural disaster. So we are working with those countries in the vicinity of our SIDS which have tools that can be used much better for the benefit of our countries.
BRD: What about economic development, were there any commonalities there between Small Island Developing States?
VG: Yes of course, for example agriculture. What we are seeing in most of those countries is that we have to work more deeply in terms of research and innovation to ensure that not only they can have a higher yield compared to what we can do in larger countries in Africa. But most of those countries are also dependent on tourism. Economically they all have in common this dependency on tourism or agriculture policies which nee to be designed.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: