UN Resident Coordinator
28 June 2019
Opening Ceremony of the Small Island Future Festival
Speech by Didier Trebucq, UN Resident Coordinator at Pelican Village, Barbados
· Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning everyone,
On behalf of the UN for Barbados and the OECS, I wish to extend a warm welcome to all of you for joining us at the inauguration of the Small Island Future Festival (SiFF).
Barbados has for a long time demonstrated strong leadership on issues related to Small Island Developing States, demonstrated in part by the hosting of the first Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island States 25 years ago, which resulted in the Barbados Programme of Action. Again in 2012 during the High-Level Conference of Sustainable Development for All, the Barbados Declaration on Achieving Sustainable Energy for all SIDS was unanimously agreed to.
The priority areas such as climate change, rising sea levels and sustainable energy are even more relevant today as they were then. These interventions became the building blocks and provided direction for the development of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action, also known as the SAMOA Pathway.
It is therefore fitting that the very first SiFF should be held in Barbados and I wish to salute the commendable efforts of the Barbadian government for its commitment to achieving the sustainable development goals, specifically Goals 7, 13 and 14 which speak to Affordable and Clean Energy, Climate Action and Life Below Water respectively.
Ladies and Gentlemen, 2019 is a crucial year for SIDS.
On September 27th, on the side of the UN General Assembly, Heads of States will attend the SIDS summit in New York City to review the progress made through the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and hopefully will make decisive recommendations.
It is also my pleasure to announce that next week, the UN Secretary General António Gutteres, who is a strong advocate of climate action and a world champion of the SIDS agenda, will be visiting the Eastern Caribbean, in St. Lucia, within the context of the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting.
As any paradigm change, opportunities are accompanied by challenges and often resistance. So this achievement will not be easy. But as you can see, we are all mobilized to make this change happened.
Hence it is important that I recognize today the partnerships at play to make the SiFF a success. The Future Center Trust and the Blue Green Initiative as well as the other CSOs here today and the private sector which all have a critical role to play in ensuring that no one is left behind. Investments in eco-friendly businesses such as biotechnology and electric vehicles and other emerging opportunities within the Blue and Green economies can help foster employment and contribute to economic growth, while reducing the environmental footprint and mitigating risks.
Partnerships like what we are seeing here today, anchored in national priorities, are critical in advancing the 2030 Agenda. These are also backed by a UN development system undergoing a bold reform process that will enable a more coherent, accountable and more efficient UN System to better serve countries in achieving the SDGs. Our Resident Coordinator office is now a representation of the UN Secretary General mandated to foster collective UN responses to national needs.
Given the tremendous challenges and vulnerability of this region to climate change and the urgent need to protect and leverage the oceans for sustainable economic growth, no individual entity can do the work alone. Hence today, the UN team for Barbados and the OECS has come together as ONE in this UN village and this reflects our support and commitment to finding solutions together, with you, for sustainable development.
I want to congratulate UNDP, the GEF Small Grants Programme, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, the Ministry of the Environment and National Beautification and all partners for making the SiFF a reality.
In closing, I leave you with the words of the UN Secretary General during his recent message for World Environment Day, “There is no time to lose. This is the battle of our lives. We must win, and we can.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you.
UN agencies involved in this initiative
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Children's Fund
Food and Agriculture Organisation