Sports and the Private sector inaugural inclusion in SIDS agenda

SIDS Conference Secretary General Mr. Wu Hongbo and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi in a joint press conference

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA: TUEDAY 26 AUGUST 2014: Sports and the involvement of the private sector in the 3rd Small Islands Developments States (SIDS) conference agenda will be the first since the establishment of SIDS.

In a joint press conference, the Conference Secretary General Mr. Wu Hongbo and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi spoke on the development and employment opportunities sports can provide for the youth and the role of the private sector.

“This is the first time the private sector is in involved in the conference,” said Mr Wu.

He believes the private sector plays a big role not only in the development but sustainability of development projects.

He took time out to converse with the organisers of the private sector business stalls set up at the conference venues during his tour of the facility this afternoon.

On Thursday 28 August, the UN will host the Youth Summit leading up to the main conference next week.

One of the major issues raised by youth in their preliminary conference was unemployment.

“Before, sports was just a leisurely event but now it is becoming a profession,” said Tuilaepa. He used Samoa as an example of rugby players being contracted to overseas teams and in return helped with the country’s economy.

Tuilaepa said for Samoa, there is no such thing as “unemployment” only “under employment”.

He made reference to youth being choosy and not taking on opportunities.

He said Government offers opportunities in agriculture, but young people do not want to take them up.

Other issues discussed in the press conference include the outcome document and the number of people attending.

Tuilaepa said there is no truth in the rumors that the original number of 3,000 official leaders delegations has been reduced.

“The number has exceeded,” said Tuilaepa.

Tuilaepa said people have the habit of doing things in the last minute but the number has surpassed the original number.

“If some leaders could not make it, then it is due to their commitments to their countries in times of elections or natural disasters,” he said.

Not just a talk fest
The last SIDS conference has brought out some successful stories and Mr. Wu hopes to hear more successful stories from this conference.

“The conference is being asked to seek a renewed political commitment from SIDS and their partners to ensure that the necessary means of implementation are available to address SIDS priorities,” said Mr. Wu

This will include new and emerging challenges and opportunities for their sustainable development.

“The timing of the SIDS Conference is opportune as it allows for their sustainable development needs to be considered in the elaboration of the post-2015 UN development agenda.”

Samoa has remained actively involved in all preparations activities at the United Nations, serving as ex-officio member of the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee, in the negotiations of the SAMOA pathway outcome document and the organisation of the multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues.

When the SAMOA pathway was agreed of the SIDS Conference, a significant achievement in itself, the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee became redundant and had since been morphed into a “Friends of SIDS” group to continue the organisation of the multi-stakeholder Partnership dialogues explained Mr.Wu.

“The Partnership theme of the conference has already stimulated the robust engagement of the international community,” said Tuilaepa.

“Members states, the private sector, international organisations and civil societies all need to pursue and implement genuine SIDS-owned and SIDS-focused partnership,” said Mr. Wu.