The Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum chaired the Small States Ministerial Roundtable on 13 April 2019 in the margins of World Bank Group (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings in Washington DC.
The Small States Forum (Forum) is a group of 50 member countries of the WB comprising of both island and land-locked states that share unique geographical, economic, and cultural specifics. Fiji assumed the role of the chair of the Forum in October last year during the WB/IMF Annual Meetings and will remain in the chair’s capacity for the next two years.
Over 120 delegates including Ministers and Governors of the WB attended the Forum.
Under the purview of the Small States Roadmap, key discussions at the Forum centered on blue economy and marine pollution, climate change adaptation and resilience including economic and financial sustainability
In addressing the Forum, the AG said “we must be reminded of the vulnerability of the small states and the financial limitations plaguing our ability to achieve our development aspirations”.
Highlighting the importance of ocean and blue economy, the AG said we are at a tipping point and we need to take urgent action to save our ocean. Recognizing that some of the small states including Fiji have already declared a complete ban on single-use plastics that are choking our seas and oceans, the A-G highlighted the need to bolster such initiatives.
The high-level dialogue saw several Ministerial interventions on the three thematic areas of the Spring session of the Forum. A key outcome of the Forum was the agreement to convene a working group of the Forum comprising of five Ministers to provide the high-level advisory support and champion the issues for small states with the objective of achieving tangible outcomes over the next two years.
The Forum will have its next meeting during the Annual Meetings of the WB/IMF in October in Washington DC.