WELLINGTON, Jan. 18 (Xinhuanet) -- New Zealand played a leading role in agreeing to a new United Nations action plan on island countries, Environment Minister and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Marian Hobbs said Tuesday.
"The Mauritius Meeting on Small Island Developing States led toa renewed focus on islands countries' vulnerability to natural disasters, climate change, and other threats like HIV/AIDS, diabetes and environmental degradation," Hobbs, who attended the meeting last week, said in a statement.
"Nothing demonstrates poor countries' vulnerability more starkly than the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, which reallyfocused minds on what needs to be done to build the resilience of island countries like our neighbors in the Pacific," she said.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, development banks, the leadersof small island states and ministers from donor countries attendedthe UN sponsored meeting.
The main purpose of the meeting was to review the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for small island developing states, agreed in 1994, following up the Rio Earth Summit.
In her address at the meeting, Hobbs stressed the need for bothlocal and global solutions to the problems faced by small island developing states.
She said local rules were required to protect natural defenses.The global solutions included the funding of infrastructure that per capita was much more expensive for a small economy than for a large economy.
Hobbs said New Zealand's United Nations Ambassador Don MacKay had chaired the various negotiations on the meeting's formal outcome, the Mauritius Strategy, which sets out a framework for action to build island nations' resilience. Enditem