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UN Secretary-General, UNGA President Praise Small States’ Contributions

1 October 2012: On the 20th anniversary of the Forum of Small States (FOSS) in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Vuk Jeremić, UN General Assembly (UNGA) President, recognized that small States share common interests and concerns, and highlighted unique challenges faced by small States while praising their contributions to global peace and development.

In his keynote address to the FOSS' Conference on Small States, which was organized by the Permanent Mission of Singapore to the UN, Jeremić highlighted FOSS' contributions to the UN. He expressed his intention to work with small States on sustainable development issues, noting that FOSS' active engagement will be critical in ensuring legitimacy in implementing the outcomes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) and coordinating the post-2015 agenda. Jeremić said, “The historical record shows that it does not have to be your size, but your ideas, initiatives and dynamism that can determine your relevance in the international system. As a great world leader said...“the heroic deeds that thrill humanity through generations were the deeds of little nations fighting for [a cause greater than their own].”

Ban highlighted how collective efforts of small States magnify important issues that affect both big and small nations, noting that small nations make up more than half of the UN's membership. He said small States “serve as ‘bridge-builders' and mediators...Being small does not mean an absence of big ideas.”

Ban described similar challenges faced by landlocked developing countries and small island developing States (SIDS), including education, electricity, health and transport. He noted the adverse effects of climate change and sea-level rise on SIDS. Ban also emphasized the high priority the UN accords to small and vulnerable countries. He said the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Acceleration Framework (MAF) is being implemented in 23 FOSS States and described the MAF's assistance in strengthening capacity, coping with vulnerabilities and meeting the challenges and opportunities of globalization.

Ban praised FOSS for its work at Rio+20, noting its contribution to a successful outcome and asking for continued leadership in preparations for the Third Conference on SIDS in 2014. Ban also welcomed the engagement of small States in the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda.

The FOSS, established in 1992, is designed as a platform to allow small States to discuss and foster common positions on issues of mutual concern to give them a larger voice at the UN. [Keynote Address by Vuk Jeremić, UNGA 67 President] [Statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon] [UN Press Release] [Webcast of Event, Part I] [Webcast of Event, Part II]