Statement by the Holy See at the 2023 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
“Small Island Developing States: From recovery to resilience in the face of multiple shocks”
Tuesday, 11 July 2023
Small Island Developing States are “a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities.” Since the adoption of the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway in 2014, noteworthy progress has been made across several of its priority areas. At the same time, crucial gaps remain in achieving its vision and goals. Now that the SAMOA Pathway is in its final year of implementation and the international community prepares for the Fourth International Conference on SIDS in 2024, it is crucial that targeted strategies are adopted to fill the remaining gaps and better respond to the old and new challenges that constrain SIDS’ ability to achieve sustainable development.
In this regard, natural disasters and climate change continue to pose the most significant threats to SIDS development and even their existence, while continuing to impose profound economic and social costs on SIDS. Therefore, climate action, capacity building for disaster risk reduction, and environmental protection must be at the center of development programs designed to support SIDS. As Pope Francis says: “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.”
It is against the backdrop of these and many other challenges affecting SIDS, that the upcoming Fourth International Conference (SIDS4) in 2024 is of critical significance. It could provide a crucial opportunity for the international community to develop new strategies to better support SIDS in their pursuit of sustainable development. In this regard, one of the highest priorities to respond effectively to the multidimensional needs of SIDS is to address the lack of a dedicated monitoring framework that captures the full range of vulnerabilities that SIDS experience in each of the three dimensions of sustainable development. In this regard, the Holy See welcomes the ongoing work towards the development of a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI). This should be based on the principle that “development has a moral character. It presumes full respect for the human person, but it must also be concerned for the world around us and take into account the nature of each being and of its mutual connection in an ordered system.”
In conclusion, the Holy See considers that the key for SIDS to achieve sustainable development is the adoption by the international community of appropriate measures that look beyond statistics and figures about macroeconomic performance and promote the integral human development of every man, woman, and child. This requires a holistic model of development rooted in the respect of the inherent dignity of every human person and the promotion of the common good of all.
Thank you, Madam President.
 SAMOA Pathway, paragraph 5.
 Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, 13
 Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, 5