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Samoa's population will swell by 3,000 when UN conference meets next year

APIA, Samoa — Now it’s time for the nitty gritty side of hosting an international conference that will boost Samoa’s population temporarily but suddenly by over 3000 people.Samoa hosts the United Nations (UN) third conference on Small Islands Development States (SIDS) August next year.Members of a UN planning mission arrived on Monday to work with Government on arrangements for the conference.The mission was led by His Excellency, Hongbo Wu, Under- Secretary-General of the UN for the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.Last night Government hosted a farewell cocktail for Mr. Wu.“Mr. Wu leaves today while some of the UN planning mission delegates will continue to hold meetings on the specifics and technical arrangements for the conference,” said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi in a speech at the cocktail.SNTF – the Samoa National Task Force is working with the UN delegates to arrange the conference.Tuilaepa chairs SNTF.He acknowledged the UN’s decision in giving Samoa a chance to host the “prestigious conference.”The SIDS next year will focus on issues that will help close the gaps that obstruct development in the small island nations.“To close those gaps is important to the survival of island nations,” Mr. Wu told reporters at the cocktail.Some the key issues for discussion revolve around the economy, climate change and politics.Climate change, a global threat, is already claiming small islands geographically and economically.Mr. Wu said the issue is at the top of the conference agenda.On the economic side, the UN had had two meetings since the crisis in Cyprus with Barbados hosting the first meeting and the second one in Malaysia.What concerns the UN is another economic collapse.