1 October 2012: On the sixth and final day of the High-level Debate of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), small island developing States (SIDS) called for ambitious commitments at the upcoming UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting, underscored the importance of fisheries and renewable energy for sustainable development, and called for 2014 to be designated the International Year of SIDS.

Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, underscored the need for immediate, ambitious actions to reduce emissions and support the adaptation of developing countries. She noted that 22 SIDS had made voluntary commitments for transformation to low-carbon renewable energy based development, and called on others to do so. McClean recalled that the Assembly would consider a resolution on the sustainable development of the Caribbean Sea, and called for international support for establishing a Caribbean Sea Commission.

Arvin Boolell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mauritius, welcomed the recognition of SIDS as a special case at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), and called for focal points to be established in all UN entities. Boolell underscored the potential for regional cooperation in the energy sector through pooling of resources and coordinating policies. Winston Dookeran, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, welcomed the UN Secretary-General’s Panel on the acceleration of efforts to achieve targets set by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and called for a paradigm shift in designing the post-2015 development agenda.

Dessima Williams, Grenada’s Permanent Representative to the UN, called on the Assembly to designate 2014 as the International Year of SIDS, and on developed countries to commit to an ambitious second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. Stuart Beck, Palau’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said Rio+20 and its follow up provide the opportunity to integrate healthy oceans and fisheries into the development governance framework. He underscored that “illegal fishing is tantamount to piracy,” stressing that fish stock must be maintained to ensure healthy, long term fisheries.

Vince Henderson, Dominica’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said the Rio+20 Outcome Document falls short of expectations, but provides a useful platform for further discussions. He underscored critical issue of climate change and the importance of “extending and amending” the Kyoto Protocol before it lapses. Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, stressed the need to address worsening environmental destruction, production and consumption patterns, and climate change. [Cuba Statement] [Barbados Statement] [Mauritius Statement] [Trinidad and Tobago Statement] [Grenada Statement] [Palau Statement] [Dominica Statement] [Statements from UNGA 67 High-level Debate, 1 October]