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Commonwealth and regional bodies bring voice of small states to Rio+20 Earth Conference

13 June 2012
London, 13 June 2012 – The Commonwealth Secretariat has partnered with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, the Indian Ocean Commission and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme to organise a high-level panel discussion that will highlight the sustainable development concerns of small and small island developing states (SIDS) at the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – also known as the Rio+20 Earth Conference – in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The panel discussion titled, ‘Across the Regions: SIDS Solutions for Sustainable Development,’ will take place on 20 June 2012.  A landmark and much anticipated global gathering, Rio+20 will explore what is required to achieve greener economies for sustainable development and the institutional frameworks that underpin them.

This high-level panel discussion will highlight to world leaders and other stakeholders the unique development challenges that small island developing states face, and explore ways of ensuring that the next wave of development efforts considers, supports and fully addresses them.

The Commonwealth Secretariat, in partnership with the other three co-organising institutions, will also launch a joint initiative to explore new ways to support climate resilient and low carbon economies across their memberships, through the signing of a memorandum of understanding.

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Ransford Smith said: “The global economic downturn has impeded the means to achieving the development goals of reducing poverty and accomplishing green growth in small and small island developing states. The task is made even more complex by their relatively small size, remoteness, vulnerability to external shocks and the effects of climate change.”

Mr Smith, who will lead the Commonwealth delegation to the Rio+20 Earth Conference, added: “These countries also face challenges of securing funds for building resilient green economies to halt biodiversity loss, address food and water security, and invest in new sources of energy for sustainable, competitive growth. We are delighted that together with our partners, we shall commence a new chapter of supporting these countries to achieve more resilient and inclusive green growth.”

Participants are expected to call for high ambitions to be realised at the Rio+20 Earth Conference and future UN climate change negotiations to ensure that outcomes from these processes concretely address challenges of small island developing and other small states.

Note to Editors

The panel discussion will take place from 17:00 to 18:30 in Room T-8 at the Riocentro Convention Centre in Rio de Janeiro. It is open to journalists accredited to cover the Rio+20 Earth Conference. Representatives from the four organisations will also be available for interviews.