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UN Conference On Small Island Nations Opens

UN Conference On Small Island Nations Opens With Call For More Development Assistance

Calling on rich countries to increase their aid to small island developing States (SIDS), the Secretary-General of a United Nations conference to review progress in reducing island problems today also urged the tiny countries to integrate their economies so as to increase their capacity to profit from foreign investment.

"The smallness and the remoteness of the small island developing states continue to pose serious problems in providing international aid and enhancing foreign investments," UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul Chowdhury said at the opening of the five-day meeting in Port Louis, Mauritius.

"Projects and programmes in many cases are not viable when targeted for specific countries. On the other hand, when SIDS band together to integrate their economies and meet common challenges, many of the social, economic and human development projects and programmes could prove viable and yield better results. I therefore urge the small island developing countries to increase their efforts to hasten the pace of regional economic integration."

The conference is called the International Meeting for the 10-year Review of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.

It is scheduled to discuss island efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) designed to halve extreme poverty by 2015, improve trade, reduce environmental pollution and cope with climate change and natural disasters.

Organizers said they were expecting 2,000 participants, including UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 20 Heads of State and government, 35 cabinet ministers and the heads of several UN agencies.

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