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By Aabigayle McIntosh
As the date approaches for Antigua and Barbuda’s staging of the Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4), the team promoting the major event is looking to ordinary citizens to play a key role in ensuring its success.
Thousands of delegates are expected to flock to this country for the May 27 to 30 conference to be held under the theme “Charting the course towards resilient prosperity”.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Walton Webson, is appealing for volunteers.
He stated that at the national level, the progress of the work of the committee is going well, but there is still a lot of work to be done, and public support is required.
“That’s why we are doing a media blitz because we need the public to know that we are going to need volunteers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has circulated information on that, and we are going to need information from just about everybody on the island,” he said.
The UN Ambassador also revealed that many countries to which Antigua and Barbuda has diplomatic ties are supporting the conference financially.
“The government of the People’s Republic of China has assisted us with equipment which should be on the island within weeks, The UK government has been gracious as well; they have given us both equipment and personnel. The New Zealand government, the government of Canada, and Ireland have been gracious,” the ambassador added.
Meanwhile, the ambassador noted that he is pleased with the number of pledges for assistance and he is hopeful these will translate into action.
“What we will be doing in the next couple of weeks is taking commitments and making concrete stakes. I have experience with you getting a lot of pledges and then the final delivery is another matter. We are working with our local private sector as well as our partner to ensure those translate into something meaningful,” Ambassador Webson said.
The Conference is aimed at assessing the ability of SIDS to achieve sustainable development, including the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. It will result in an intergovernmental agreed, focused, forward-looking, and action-oriented political outcome document.