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Statement at High-Level meeting to review progress in addressing the priorities of Small Island Developing States

Statement by His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin

Secretary of State of the Holy See

Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the

Seventy-Fourth Session of the UN General Assembly

High-Level meeting to review progress in addressing the priorities of SIDS through the implementation of the Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway

Multi-stakeholder Roundtable 1 – Progress, gaps and challenges

United Nations, New York, 27 September 2019




The Holy See is pleased to participate in this High Level Meeting on progress, gaps and challenges, in the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway.

The greatest resource of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) is their people, who are “the source, the center and the purpose of ail economic and social life.”[1] The key for SIDS to achieve sustainable development is a broad alliance of governments, civil society, and the private sector all working together to invest in people, inspired by solidarity and by the ethical imperative that no one should be left behind. This people-centered approach must go beyond economic measures alone. Since people are more than economic agents, a greater sense of responsibility for justice and the common good is needed.

The Holy See is very pleased to note signs of progress in several priority areas of the SAMOA Pathway. They include the improvement of waste management and sanitation facilities, the success of a number of pilot projects on disaster waste management, the promotion of the Global Action Programme on food security and nutrition. We also note the encouraging and tangible steps in providing educational and entrepreneurial opportunities to youth and the most vulnerable, enhancing youth participation in policy dialogue and policy development process, as well as increasing access for women to finance and the workforce.

Despite the progress, however, the latest report on “Partnership for SIDS”, issued by the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), clearly shows that many development priority areas still require greater attention, like the fight against the multiple dimensions of poverty, the need for a more equitable and inclusive economic growth, and the creation of more solid and reliable social protections. These areas interconnected and are central to the correct implementation of an integral human development that is truly capable of leaving no one behind.

We must strengthen our efforts to work on these areas, taking into account that gaps and challenges in SIDS also include inadequate water and sanitation services, lack of sustainable transportation, inadequate development finance, as well as inequalities between men and women, including income inequality and unequal participation in the workforce and in public life.

From this perspective, we cannot forget that some of the most significant threats to SIDS are related to climate change. When we talk about rising sea-levels and climate unpredictability, we are not just referring to environmental or development issues: we are dealing with an existential threat, especially considering the tiny and low-lying lands and the geographical remoteness of SIDS.

In order to face such challenges and continue to build upon the progress already achieved, it is vital to tackle the lack of available data to employ the best available solutions to the challenges and measure results, as well as to identify existing gaps in partnerships.

In conclusion, the Holy See firmly believes that the Mid-Term Review of the SAMOA Pathway is an important opportunity for the international community to renew its attention to the special needs and circumstances of SIDS, as well as to reaffirm our responsible and common support and solidarity to SIDS. The Holy See therefore welcomes the adoption of the High Level Political Declaration on the mid-term review of the SAMOA Pathway, which sets out concrete actions to advance further the sustainable development priorities of SIDS.

Thank you, Mr./Madame Moderator.


[1] Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modem World Gaudium et Spes, 63.