CSD Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting Addresses SIDS Issues

28 February 2011: Addressing the opening session of the week-long Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (IPM) for the Commission on Sustainable Development's (CSD) 19th session, Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, underscored that the effects of the global energy crisis, the ongoing food crisis, freshwater scarcity and the “overwhelming impact” of climate change continue to be challenges.

László Borbély (Romania), CSD 19 Chair, warned that the recovery from the recent economic and financial crises was fragile and uneven, beset by such challenges as global climate change and food insecurity.

Nauru, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS), underscored that the negative effects of climate change and ocean acidification were seriously undermining the sustainable development of Pacific small islands. Stressing that some of the islands might no longer be inhabitable in the future, and that some might be totally submerged, she called for addressing climate change, which she said cuts across all thematic areas. She urged the international community to urgently increase its ambitions in responding to the climate crisis and make substantive progress throughout the year on the related negotiations.

After country statements, participants held a discussion on policy options facing SIDS in addressing barriers to the implementation of sustainable consumption and production patterns in the thematic issues of transport, chemicals, waste management, mining and the 10-Year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns. CSD 19 Chair Borbély underlined that the degradation of coral reefs and coastal zones caused by fishing practices had been exacerbated by climate change.

Toolseeram Ramjeawon, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Mauritius, emphasized the importance of political will for the creation of synergies with other national programmes in order to prevent the duplication of climate change policies. During the ensuing interactive discussion, delegates continued to discuss the five thematic points, noting how the capacity of SIDS effectively to advance their development objectives must be viewed against the backdrop of the ongoing effects of the recent economic crisis, and how climate change was one of the gravest threats to their territorial existence.

The Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (IPM) for the 19th session of the CSD is taking place from 28 February-4 March 2011, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. Agenda items for CSD 19 include transport, chemicals and wastes, mining and sustainable consumption and production. [UN Press Release] [IISD RS Coverage]