13 Jan 2005

UN urges small island states to act on sustainable development

10:19 am on 13 January 2005

The UN secretary general has urged leaders of small island developing states to find ways to tackle shared problems.

Kofi Annan has addressed a summit in Mauritius on small island developing states, with representatives from most Pacific islands there.

Mr Annan says representatives will have to deepen partnerships with developed countries, civil society and regional groups.

"The list of challenges is long. It includes familiar questions, such as risk of natural disasters, isolation from global markets, and high cost of energy and transport. More recently, other issues have come to the fore, such as the impact of climate change, and the potential of information and communication technology, and of course, the spread of HIV/Aids."

Ten years ago the newly-formed UN group of small island states met in Barbados to set out specific measures to support their common social and economic development.

Amongst contributors to today's debate are the Marshall Islands president, the prime minister of Tuvalu, and the foreign ministers of Papua New Guinea and Fiji, along with delegations from most Pacific Island states and territories.