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2000 55th GA SIDS
20 October 2000 / 02:49

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STATEMENT


By


The Second Committee Delegate of the
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
to the United Nations
on

Agenda Item: 95(d) - Environment and Sustainable Development:
Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the
Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States


Second Committee
United Nations General Assembly
Fifty-fifth Session

New York
October 20, 2000



Mr. Chairman,


Permit me to congratulate you on your election to chair the work of this Committee and to assure you of my delegation’s full cooperation as you discharge your duties. I also wish to congratulate the other members of the bureau on their election and to express our deepest appreciation to your predecessor for the excellent stewardship during the last session.

I would like to focus attention on Item 95(d) which relates to the further implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA). Trinidad and Tobago fully supports the Statements made by the Representatives of Nigeria and Samoa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and the Alliance of Small Island States respectively on this agenda item. At the outset my delegation wishes to express its appreciation to the Secretariat for the comprehensive report (Doc. A/55/185), under consideration of this Committee. We find the overview of programmes undertaken by the various agencies within the United Nations system useful and encouraging. It is clear however that there is still much more work to be done by the various actors for a rapid implementation of the initiatives agreed at the 22nd Special Session in consonance with the recent Declaration of the Millennium Summit.

The completion of the work of a vulnerability index as called for in General Assembly resolution 54/224, by the SIDS Special Session, the South Summit and more recently the Millennium Summit, is an issue which needs priority attention by the international community. It is an important step in assisting multilateral institutions in assessing effectively the needs of SIDS, and the consequent provision of technical and financial assistance, the grant of trade preferences and overall development assistance needed to guarantee their economic sustainability.

The report of the Secretary-General has noted that research done by regional bodies such as the Caribbean Development Bank has not so far been included in the work of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) or the Commonwealth Secretariat. Inputs from regional organs must also be considered by the CDP. We wish to acknowledge however the continuing research being done by the various institutions such as the United Nations University, SOPAC, UNCTAD, UNEP and others in this area of activity and we look forward to a coordinated and coherent approach in finalizing the work of the vulnerability index.

My delegation is also concerned about the lack of progress on funding for the 300 plus projects submitted by SIDS to the SIDS/Donor Meeting in February 1999. We note with appreciation the initial efforts by USAID on selected Climate Change projects, as well as funding mechanisms provided by the Governments of Norway, Italy, Germany and Japan. It is necessary however to revisit our approach to financing and funding of these projects in a more holistic manner which SIDS have identified as a priority in meeting some of their sustainable development needs.

Trinidad and Tobago is of the view that a comprehensive and integrated approach to sustainable development is central to our efforts at the national, regional and international level. In this regard, we appreciate the assistance given by UNDESA, in collaboration with AOSIS, UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in hosting the workshop on climate change negotiations, management and strategy, recently held in Apia, Samoa, on which a report (Doc. A.C.2/55/3) has been circulated for the information of this Committee. This workshop provided a useful forum for the meeting of minds from all regions of SIDS in preparation for COP 6, and to address key issues for SIDS such as national communications, the capacity development initiative, adaption to climate change and strengthening of the SIDS Unit. We also look forward to the workshop to be held on energy in Cyprus early next year, to fine tune SIDS preparations on the elements identified in the Apia workshop for integration in the expert meeting on energy in February 2001 and CSD IX in April 2001 which will address the question of energy and sustainable development.

Mr. Chairman,
Trinidad and Tobago is fully committed to meeting its responsibilities identified in the SIDS Programme of Action and the further initiatives identified by the 1999 Special Session. We are accelerating efforts to integrate environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainable development in national programmes and projects.

In its pursuit of sustained economic growth, specific attention is given to the sustainable management of its renewable and non-renewable resources. This has underpinned the Policy Framework adopted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago which includes efforts to increase the quality and opportunities for education; increasing stability in the economy through diversification of the industrial base; promotion of gender equality; poverty alleviation and increased environmental management activities.

Emphasis is also placed on increasing the involvement of the private sector including Non-Governmental Organizations and Community-Based Organizations in programmes and projects pertaining to the sustainable development of the environment. This is reflected in the inclusion in the National Budget 2001, in which a Green Fund was established to encourage communities and organizations to undertake remediation, reforestation and beautification projects. This fund requires contributions from every company in Trinidad and Tobago, with the objective of focusing on the need to maintain a healthy balance between human needs and sustainable natural systems.

Further efforts toward sustainable development include the allocation of financial resources to environmental Non-Governmental Organizations, Community-Based Organizations and other elements of Civil Society with a view to fostering a culture of sustainable development. Workshops and seminars to sensitize Private Sector Officials and other major stake holders about the need for proactive actions directed at addressing major environmental issues such as Climate Change, Depletion of the Ozone Layer, and Biodiversity Conservation are conducted regularly.

We will continue to do our part and we look forward to further and more intense collaboration with the international community.

I thank you.