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Summary: 30 July 2015, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on Peace and Security Challenges facing Small Island developing States (SIDS)

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia*and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.

I would like to thank the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his briefing. I would also like to acknowledge the important contributions presented today by the Prime Ministers of Samoa and Jamaica and the Minister of Finance of the Seychelles sharing the respective regional perspectives of the peace and security challenges faced by Small Island Developing States. We also welcome the participation and statements of the President of Kiribati, Prime Minister of Aruba, Premier of Niue and numerous Ministers.  

Mr. President,

We welcome the initiative by New Zealand to convene this meeting. The security challenges facing SIDS demonstrate the complex interlinkages between stability, security and global challenges. Our discussion should consider both independent states and those overseas territories administered by other states (including some EU member states) which face a common set of challenges.

The unique and particular vulnerabilities of SIDS have been consistently acknowledged by the international community, most recently at the 3rd international conference on SIDS held in Samoa in September 2014. It is clear that vulnerabilities arising from small size and remoteness, weak capacity and exposure to natural disasters, can have an impact on stability and in some cases can pose security challenges.

The S.A.M.O.A. Pathway agreed in Samoa last September acknowledges SIDS’ unique and particular vulnerabilities, while offering many tools to address them. In helping implement the Pathway, the international community, including the strong partnership between the EU and SIDS, will continue to deliver on the promise of sustainable development through an integrated, balanced and rights-based approach.

Many SIDS continue to be dramatically affected by natural and other disasters leading to loss of lives and livelihoods and significant economic, social and environmental costs. Most recent, Cyclone Pam showed us the dramatic impact of a natural disaster on development and human security, in particular when combined with remoteness and geographical specificities. The Sendai Framework firmly anchors risk management as a key element of sustainable development and takes into account SIDS vulnerabilities. The EU is, thus, reorienting its support to make resilience a priority in cooperation with those countries most vulnerable to natural disasters and will work with SIDS to better integrate risk management and resilience into their policies and strategies

We must continue our efforts to avoid the negative impact of climate change, which is threatening not only the survival of some SIDS, but is also challenging their access to key resources such as water or fisheries. The recent Open Arria-Formula meeting of the Security Council initiated by Spain on the role of climate change as a threat multiplier for global security acknowledged that climate change triggers humanitarian crises, as well as political and economic instability and “climate -induced” migration. Shrinking natural resources may exacerbate tensions and potentially lead to conflict and, in turn, to displacement. It is in this context that the EU and SIDS will continue to work towards the shared objective of addressing climate change at the global level. The moment to act ambitiously is now. We need to get a universal, fair, ambitious and balanced legally-binding international climate agreement in Paris later this year. An agreement that ensures that the world remains on track to keep global warming below 2°C is fundamental in order to limit the risks predicted by science, and of which SIDS would be – or I should say already are – the first victims.

We would also welcome an update of the 2009 Secretary-General report “Climate Change and Its Possible Security Implications”.

Mr. President,

As you have rightly pointed out in your concept note, SIDS are also affected by piracy and the trafficking of drugs, small arms and persons. Law enforcement agencies within SIDS often lack the capabilities and resources needed to address these challenges and the corruption that drives, enables and perpetuates criminality. Crime and security is a joint priority area for cooperation between the EU and the Caribbean region and constitutes a successful area for partnerships in the Indian Ocean. We closely cooperate with the Caribbean nations on the fight against drug trafficking and international criminal networks. In order to support the region’s efforts to increase security, governance and the rule of law, the EU adopted in July 2014 a comprehensive Citizen Security Strategy for the Caribbean and Central America. The Action Plan for this strategy, adopted on 8 June 2015, focuses on building international cooperation and a shared political agenda for citizen security, strengthening the ability of governments to deliver quality public services in the area of security through capacity building.

Security and economic development of SIDS is also impacted by the illicit exploitation of natural resources, in particular fisheries. It remains crucial to implement existing international commitments that strengthen ocean governance rules, notably in the context of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Moreover, the EU is cooperating with a number of SIDS in the fight against illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by promoting measures to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing, strengthening legal frameworks and fisheries management plans, promoting improved fisheries management and sustainable management of fishing resources. The EU concluded Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements with 7 SIDS countries and has renewed or reinforced cooperation in this area in the Pacific Ocean through the DEVFISH2 programme and in the Indian Ocean with the SMARTFISH2 programme and plans to extend these programmes to Western Africa benefiting SIDS there.

Mr. President,

All above mentioned security risks and vulnerabilities are interrelated, which constitutes in itself an additional threat to stability, and must be addressed in a comprehensive and collaborative way. They equally require the involvement of all actors and concerned stakeholders. The EU remains a strong advocate of effective multilateralism and is committed to helping SIDS overcome their vulnerabilities and challenges.

I thank you.


* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

  • Ref: EUUN15-112EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum: Security Council
  • Date: 30/7/2015

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