ECONOMIC development, climate change, oceans and sustainable development in Small Island Developing States are the focus of an international conference which kicks off today.
Heads of state and international delegates have gathered in Samoa for the third UN Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference.
With an overarching theme of sustainable development through genuine and durable partnerships, SIDS aims to focus international attention on a group of countries that remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities.
Hosted by Samoa, the SIDS conference provides an opportunity for delegates to see first-hand the impacts that natural disasters and climate change have on SIDS, as well as to visit projects that enhance climate resilience.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato and National Planning Minister Charles Abel are among the delegates who will attend the conference.
O’Neill said the focus of his attendance at the SIDS Conference was to hear the views of leaders and people from island nations and contribute to finding real solutions to complex problems.
“The courage of the men, women and children of the Pacific’s smaller island states is an inspiration for the world,” he said.
“On a daily basis people in small island nations deal with fallout from a range of global issues such as climate change and un-balanced international market pressures including the cost of energy.”
“In this International Year of the Small Island Developing States, partner countries such as Papua New Guinea must work with our brothers and sisters to deliver better standards of living.”
The prime minister said an important part of this engagement was the consideration of options for expanding Papua New Guinea’s overseas development assistance in the region.
“Papua New Guinea has been strengthening regional partnerships through a growing aid program that focuses on budgetary support and development assistance covering education, judicial support, infrastructure development,” he added.
“As our own economy expands and standards of living improve, it is important to extend a helping hand particularly in areas where Papua New Guinea has experience.”
World Bank Group vice-president and special envoy for climate change Rachel Kyte is among the delegates who will be attending the SIDS conference to drive discussions on climate change, economic growth and the strengthening of regional partnerships.
Kyte will also hold a press conference today to launch a report that quantifies the economic impact of cruise tourism in a Pacific country.
She will also announce an initiative co-financed by the World Bank Group, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Carnival Cruises which is designed to build on the existing SIDS program and help access funding for resilience and climate change.