Vanuatu Member of Parliament, Jerome Ludvaune, has urged the United Nations to bring to fruition the long-standing plea of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) for a special and differentiated treatment of SIDS, and in particular, of those SIDS, such as Vanuatu, faced with the challenge of losing Least Developed Country (LDC) status.

He made the appeal in an address to the Comprehensive High-level Mid-term Review by the United Nations of the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries in Antalya (Turkey) on May 28, 2016.

Vanuatu, along with three other Pacific Island countries – Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu, is earmarked for graduation comes December 2020.

Ludvaune, who is Government’s Special Envoy on the question of Vanuatu’s graduation from LDC status, called his words “the Antalya Appeal“ (“l’Appel d’Antalya”), in which he echoed the “Samoa Appeal” which had been made in Samoa on 2nd September, 2015 on the same subject, by the then Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Joe Natuman, who is currently Deputy Prime Minister.

In his address, Ludvaune explained that the most pressing challenge small island LDCs of the Pacific like Vanuatu face is to reduce their extreme vulnerability to external shocks beyond domestic control, a major obstacle to the economic and social progress of these nations.

The Member of Parliament singled out resilience-building as the most important development objective of Vanuatu, and recognized at the same time that his country, like most nations in the region, could not build its resilience without external support. He cited three critical forms of external support: aid for infrastructural investment, preferential market access for Vanuatu exporters of goods to large markets, and technical assistance.

MP Ludvaune is very concerned about the impact of climate change which remains an imminent threat to the survival of small Islands States like Vanuatu and recalled the destructive impact caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam in March 2015 and urged the United Nations to establish a financial mechanism that can support LDCs and particularly Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) on their recovery phase.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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