A&B’s Foreign Affairs Minister calls for collective support for the SIDS agenda

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By Robert Andre Emmanuel

[email protected]

Foreign Affairs Minister EP Chet Greene has stressed the importance of multi-sectoral buy-in for the SIDS agenda as the small islands seek to ensure practical and actionable commitments at the conference.

Alongside Secretary General of the Conference, Li Junhua, and Special Adviser for the Conference, Rabab Fatima, Foreign Affairs Minister Greene spoke during the event’s first press conference, emphasising the importance of the Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS or the ‘ABAS.’

“It is imperative to confront [the] sobering reality and that is that traditional approaches to resolving our grave challenges have proven ineffective.

“The need for immediate action cannot be emphasized enough- some of our cherished islands may cease to exist in just a few years as rising sea levels consume them.

“If we are to secure the future of our islands, we need a transformative shift in our approach, we need to fully embrace the new 10-year framework for international cooperation and support that’s represented in Antigua Barbuda Agenda for SIDS,” the Foreign Affairs Minister expressed.

The 28-page document highlights what SIDS require from the international community including strengthening health systems across SIDS, achieving gender equality and enhancing food security, nutrition and ensuring environmental and planetary sustainability.

The ABAS also lists out a 10-point programme of action to assist SIDS build a sustainable future.

“Over the next few days, we, here in Antigua and Barbuda, have the opportunity to support the groundbreaking initiatives like the SIDS Center of Excellence and the SIDS Debt Support Service Initiative.

“These programs are not bureaucratic solutions, they are lifelines; by supporting these initiatives, we are helping SIDS and setting a precedent for how the global community can come together for global reset,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister, responding to questions from reporters on whether SIDS can realistically expect concrete action arising from this conference, called on all parties to support the initiative and to hold developed nations and businesses to account.

“If we were to all live on past experiences, I guess we would all throw our hands in the air and then walk away from this process.

“The presence here in Antigua and Barbuda today at this conference of global leaders is indicative of the level of commitment that has been provided or given to this process.

“The ABAS mentioned before has been reviewed by stakeholders and it is considered to be practical, actionable and transformative.

“The change that we so much crave for so much, can’t be done simply by governments or the United Nations.

“The stakeholders, who pledge and keep their pledges must also be held accountable by responsible reporting,” he replied.

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