Island Nations Take Center Stage at UNGA

Island Nations took center stage at the 68th United Nations General Assembly this year, from Ambassador John Ashe., Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the UN serving as the body’s president to facilitating numerous SIDS hosting a number of high-level events on the meeting’s formal agenda and on the sidelines.

“This island is sinking,” Secretary Genera Ban Ki-Moon told world leaders of Kiribati at the General Assembly. “That gave me a really strong conviction that we must solve this.”

The UNSG’s dire warning underscored the need for action to protect small islands and comes ahead of a series of meetings where small islands have an unprecedented opportunity to advocate for their interests, including the International Year of SIDS; the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development; the ECOSOC reform process; the UN Secretary-General’s Leader’s Summit on Climate Change; and the SIDS Conference in Samoa.

As Nauru’s President Baron Divavesi Waqa told his peers today:

“For years now, many of us in this room have been saying that small island developing states can be a model of sustainable development for the world. Never before has there been such an opportunity to mobilize the world behind small island developing state priorities. If islands are coordinated and vocal, then we can seize this unprecedented opportunity.”