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International Community Must Redouble Support to Small Island Developing States on Frontlines of Climate Crisis, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Action Platform

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message to the Wadadli Action Platform, in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda, today:

Small island developing States have shouldered the burden of climate impacts for too long.  You continue to be on the front lines, yet you are among the least responsible for the emissions that are heating the planet.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has confirmed that small island States are a vulnerability hotspot, with 15 times the mortality from droughts, floods, and storms.  On top of climate disruption, the COVID-19 pandemic and, now, the war in Ukraine, have hit the economies of small islands hard.  You are having to contend with higher commodity prices and transport costs, and disruptions to international supply chains.  Small island States that are net importers of energy will be further hurt.

I join you at the Wadadli Action Platform to say the international community must redouble its efforts and support.  We must ensure developed countries deliver on their commitment to double climate adaptation finance by 2025.  That entails a clear roadmap with timelines and concrete actions.  And we must address the issue of loss and damage in the climate negotiation process.  As the Secretary-General recently warned, it is eroding the trust that we need to tackle the climate emergency together.

It is also critical that Multilateral Development Banks deliver on expanding renewable energy, building resilience and adapting to climate change.  Easing access to finance must be a priority.  This includes solving access to development financing.  High debt service costs are putting your Governments in the impossible position of prioritizing debt over development needs.

The Multidimensional Vulnerability Index, currently being developed, will hopefully move us one step forward in the direction of better understanding and measurements for sustainable development, in line with the Secretary-General's call to move beyond gross domestic product (GDP).

Together, we must build consensus for its use.  On these, and so many other issues, Antigua and Barbuda has shown true leadership, as chair of the Alliance of Small Island States.  I look forward to the outcomes of this important gathering, a critical step on the road to the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States in 2024.  I wish you a successful and productive meeting.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.