Press release


December 13, 2011

In his capacity as President of the Indian Ocean Commission Council of Ministers, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, has addressed a special panel of experts convened by the Indian Ocean Commission and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to address the vulnerabilities OF Small Island Developing States (SIDS) more effectively.

In his address at the gathering held in Mauritius this week, Minister Adam noted that SIDS are among the most vulnerable of states, and yet still do not benefit from any specialised or differential treatment despite efforts that are ongoing to that effect since the first Rio Conference in 1992.

Minister Adam states that the lack of progress on specific measures to tackle SIDS development was symptomatic of problems in the wider development architecture of the world:

“SIDS are more often than not seen as development success stories. But all SIDS are faced with the challenge of- ‘where to now?’ They have hit a development cul de sac that leaves them stuck between a highly developed core of industrialised wealthy nations, and a periphery of Least Developed Countries. Islands are often graduates of the LDC status, but can they actually break through beyond classification as middle income place holders?”

The conference of experts hopes to make recommendations that can be used by the Indian Ocean Commission in its advocacy towards other organisations, and will also inform the debate of special and differential treatment of SIDS with UNCTAD and the UN system.

During the Conference, the European Union also signed a funding agreement with the SIDS Unit of the United Nations, to provide support of 10 million Euros for the Indian Ocean Commission project to better operationalise and monitor the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation for SIDS in the Africa, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Seas region (AIMS).

The Conference was also addressed by Minister Arvin Boolell, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Mauritius who did the official opening.

Minister Adam has stated, that the role of the IOC as a platform for the promotion of the welfare of SIDS will be a priority of the Seychelles’ presidency of the IOC.

Editors Note:

  • The Mauritius Strategy of Implementation emerged from the 2001 SIDS Summit in Mauritius and is about promoting real progress in the implementation of the Barbados Plan of Action. The BPOA was formulated in Barbados in 1995 with the aim of bringing about recognition for the specificities of SIDS following the first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.