Let cooperation govern the last round of deliberations in shaping the development of the agenda of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) for the next decade.

That was the advice of Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, to over 200 delegates this morning at the start of a three-day SIDS Inter-Regional Preparatory Meeting at the Hilton Barbados.

???We have many issues to discuss, many challenges to overcome, and many potential solutions to debate. However, I urge that we approach the task at hand in a spirit of genuine cooperation and with the willingness to be open minded while we try to forge consensus,??? he told the delegates.

Dr. Lowe said a number of priorities were identified at the national level and varied from country to country. As a result, he said, there was a need to proceed with a measure of flexibility and compromise that would enable those in attendance to produce an Outcome Document that would be acceptable to all Member States.

???I, therefore, encourage you to be frank and forthright in your deliberations, while being cognisant of the fact that we have to achieve a level of synergy and coherence with our brothers and sisters in the G77 and China,??? he noted, while reminding delegates that this was the last opportunity to do so.

He explained that after this week???s meetings, which will conclude on Wednesday, the Outcome Document would enter a round of negotiations going first to the G77 and China, and then it would be further negotiated by SIDS countries and the entire UN Member State community.

The Minister further noted that the presence of the agencies and partners at the conference was an indication of the level of commitment, interest and support from which SIDS could benefit.

He also reaffirmed Government???s commitment to the process, noting that Barbados regarded SIDS as an extended family, and would ensure that the deliberations would result in an outcome of which citizens could be proud.

???The Government of Barbados has been very committed to ensuring the success of the Third International Meeting on the Sustainable Development of SIDS scheduled for Samoa in 2014,??? he stated.

He noted that the Barbados Government applied the principles of inclusiveness, transparency and collaboration in its approach to the ongoing meeting. Dr. Lowe explained that at the national level, Barbados engaged its stakeholders in preparing the national assessment report and in building groundswell support for the hosting of the meeting.

He further stressed that a similar approach would be employed for the preparations for Samoa next year and in the celebrations to commemorate 2014 as the International Year of SIDS.


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