STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR YURI GALA, CHARGĂ© D'AFFAIRES A.I. OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE FIRST SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES (New York, 22 January 2024)

Distinguished co-chairs of the preparatory committee, Excellences,

As requested by the Chair, I have the honor of deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

The case of SIDS is a clear example of the implementation gap of the main documents and action programmes on sustainable development agreed in the United Nations.

The vulnerability of islands and coastal areas was first recognized at the 44th session of the UNGA in 1989, when the GA adopted resolution 44/206 on the possible adverse effects of sea-level rise on islands and coastal areas, particularly low lying coastal areas. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in 1992 in Rio, adopted Agenda 21 and a programme of action for sustainable development. Agenda 21 included a programme area on the sustainable development of small islands.

The UN Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of SIDS, held in Barbados in 1994, adopted the Barbados Programme of Action for sustainable development of SIDS. The priority areas identified by the BPOA include: climate change, natural and environmental disasters, management of wastes, coastal and marine resources, fresh water resources, land resources, energy resources, tourism, biodiversity, transport and communication and science and technology. It also identified several cross-sectoral areas requiring attention including capacity-building, institutional development at regional, national and international levels, cooperation in the transfer of environmentally sound technology, trade and economic diversification and finance.

At the Millennium Summit held in 2000, World leaders' resolved to address the special needs of SIDS by implementing the BPOA and the outcome of the five-year review of the BPOA. The World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002, reaffirmed the special needs of SIDS, identified a set of priority actions and called for a full and comprehensive review of the BPOA in 2004.

The preparatory process for the 10-year review of the BPOA included review at the national, regional and interregional levels. Important steps were taken by many Small Island Developing States at the national and regional levels, and that more and meaningful implementation of the Programme of Action would require renewed and strong commitment of the international community to support SIDS in their efforts to meet the challenges, including through increased financial and technical support.

The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway, adopted by the Heads of State and Government of SIDS at the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, in September 2014, is a stand-alone, overarching framework that set out the sustainable development priorities of small island developing States between 2014 and 2024.

As we move towards the adoption of a new SIDS Development Programme at the Fourth International Conference, we are in much the same place as we were at the beginning of this journey.

The G77 and China reaffirm that SIDS remain a "special case" for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities, including their small size, remoteness, narrow resource and export base, external economic shocks, and exposure to global environmental challenges, including to a large range of impacts from climate change and more frequent and intense natural disasters.

Small Island Developing States continue to be greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before the pandemic, the Midterm Review of the SAMOA Pathway found that SIDS faced many difficulties in achieving the 2030 Agenda and the full implementation of the SAMOA Pathway.

Therefore, there is the need for greater support to SIDS by the UN system and, more broadly, by the international community.

The G77 and China urge a full and effective implementation of both agendas, particularly the fulfilment of the provisions of all means of implementation. In this regard, we also encourage the initiatives and programmes in support of the sustainable development priorities of SIDS. This includes the further strengthening of global partnerships for SIDS and in this regard, we appreciate the many initiatives already spearheaded by countries of the South as an expression of truthful commitment to this endeavor.

The convening of the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Antigua and Barbuda is a unique opportunity for the international community to show solidarity and support for SIDS.

The G77 and China are formally submitting to the Preparatory Committee of the Conference the draft outcome document for this event. It aims to build on the achievements of the SAMOA Pathway and present a comprehensive development program for SIDS for the next 10 years.

The G77 and China will participate constructively in the intergovernmental consultation process on the basis of solidarity with our SIDS brothers and sisters.

Thank you.