29 September 2012: On the fifth day of the High-level Debate of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Tuvalu and Papua New Guinea addressed the Assembly. Both Pacific small island developing States (SIDS) underscored the urgent need to address climate change.

In his address, Apisai Ielemia, Tuvalu’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, stressed that most of the UN’s work on SIDS over the past two decades has focused on stating and continually reiterating the challenges problems faced by SIDS. He said none of this work has generated international support specifically reserved for SIDS, and challenged States to agree a special category for SIDS. Ielemia underscored the importance of addressing climate change, said Tuvalu aimed to have a 100% renewable energy sector by 2020, and called on the UN to expedite technology transfer.

Rimbink Pato, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Papua New Guinea, outlined his country’s challenge of ensuring the sustainable development of natural resources and that this results in improved livelihoods. He said his country was committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to developing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as to addressing climate change, and achieving the goals of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).

Regarding the outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa, and Lord Tu’ivakano, Prime Minister of Tonga, welcomed the document’s reaffirmation that SIDS represent a special case for sustainable development. Malielegaoi cautioned that such recognition, however, without corresponding resources, can result in “a hollow victory.” Tu’ivakano drew attention to the “blue economy” and sustainable fisheries.

Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Malielegaoi and Tu’ivakano welcomed the Conference’s decision to convene the Third UN Conference on Sustainable Development for SIDS in 2014. Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Fiji, said preparations for the Conference should support achieving specific goals. [Tuvalu Statement] [Papua New Guinea Statement] [Statements from UNGA 67 High-level Debate, 29 September]