September 3, 2014 by admin
L - R President H.E Anote Tong of the Republic of Kiribati, Mr. David Sheppard Director-General SPREP
2 September 2014, Apia, Samoa - How can our economies grow without destroying our surrounding environment and the natural resources we rely upon? How can long-term sustainable development be balanced against the needs of immediate poverty eradication?
H.E. Anote Tong, President of Republic of Kiribati, said of the global community: "We have to find alternative pathways to develop".
"It is not an easy topic, for it calls for what we believe are sacrifices. But time and time again, whilst they may seem like sacrifices today, they are in fact they are the most rational moves to be made for our future"said the President.
For a country that has more sea area than land, the President highlighted "our contribution to transitioning to green growth: we thought that designating a large area of ocean as a protected area would send a strong message to the international community. So we listed the Phoenix Islands Protected Area as a World Heritage site".
The President's comments opened a High Level Panel considering 'SIDS's Pathways to Inclusive Green Economy and Poverty Reduction'.
Onboard to discuss the issue were Ms. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP, Ms. Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary, UNESCAPH.E, Devanand Virahsawmy, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Republic of Mauritius, H.E. Denis S. Lowe, Minister of Environment Barbados and H.E. Rimeta Beniamina, Minister for Communication, Transport & Tourism Development, Republic of Kiribati.
Moderator David Sheppard, Director-General of SPREP said "the green economy is good for jobs, sustainable development and the environment. It is a win-win situation".
Examples of the initiatives from Barbados, Mauritius and Kiribati already underway included renewable energy infrastructure, waste to energy projects, coastal zone management of key tourism areas, large scale marine protected areas, increased recycling, green buildings and energy efficiency programmes.
The countries also saw the role of development partners in providing capacity building, financial support and technology transfer as being necessary for these initiatives to continue and to have even greater impact.
"We have tremendous examples here today from Barbados, Kiribati and Mauritius. SIDS can work together to share experiences and move forward"said Mr. Sheppard.
The event included the Launch of the GEO SIDS report that shows that 'SIDS have bountiful supplies of renewable resources and an island culture that is iconic of paradise. However, the challenges ahead are daunting. Isolation and remoteness coupled with climate change, natural disasters and out-migration means that even island life itself is being threatened'.