DESA Reviews Status, Priorities and Challenges of SIDS Partnerships
Photo by IISD/Lynn Wagner
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The UN Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) in DESA has issued the ‘Review of Partnerships for Small Island Developing States’.

The report finds that knowledge transfer is the dominant priority partnership, followed by sustainable energy, disaster risk reduction, and coastal and marine related partnerships.

The UNGA agreed to hold, in September 2019, a high-level review of progress made in addressing SIDS’ priorities through the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway, and regional and interregional preparatory meetings are taking place in 2018.

16 May 2018: The Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) issued an advance copy of a report that reviews the status of partnerships for the small island developing States (SIDS). The report finds that of the 315 partnerships registered since the Third International Conference on SIDS in 2014, 40% have been completed, and approximately 50% are “on track in their implementation.” The remaining nine percent have not provided any update on their status.

The 2014 conference in Samoa resulted with an intergovernmentally agreed outcome document titled, the ‘Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (Samoa Pathway),’ as well as the announcement of multi-stakeholder partnerships devoted to SIDS’ sustainable development. Following the Conference, governments established the SIDS Partnership Framework, both to review and monitor existing partnerships, and to stimulate the launch of new “genuine and durable” partnerships on SIDS’ sustainable development.

The DSDG report issued in May 2018 indicates that approximately one third of partnerships are “generally aligned” with SDG 14 (life below water). According to the report, knowledge transfer is the dominant priority partnership (25.7%), followed by sustainable energy (13.7%), disaster risk reduction (13.3%), and coastal and marine related partnerships (8.6%). The report also finds: a strong emphasis on the environmental dimension of sustainable development, while issues related to sustainable economic development feature less prominently; a lack of attention to fisheries or improvements in water quality; and limited focus on poverty eradication, education, land management and forests.

On regional comparisons, the report states that the Pacific region has the highest number of partnerships (44%), while the Africa, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea (AIMS) region has the least (six percent). It notes that global and inter-regional partnerships involving multiple SIDS beneficiary countries amount to 113 partnerships (36%).

The paper recommends a stronger focus on energy security, and calculating the environmental losses from tourism.

On challenges, the report highlights: the absence of private sector involvement in many partnerships; inadequate financial viability of projects; contradicting policy decisions that can negatively affect projects; the increasing impacts of climate change resulting in severe environmental problems and financial debt burdens on SIDS; the lack of youth involvement in knowledge transfer projects; and the need for reliable data baselines, monitoring and documentation, particularly with respect to knowledge transfer projects. The authors recommend strengthening community involvement in decision-making processes and youth involvement in knowledge transfer, enhancing the focus of sustainable energy projects on energy security over mitigation objectives, and calculating the environmental losses from tourism against the economic benefits.

In September 2019 the UN General Assembly will hold a high-level review of progress in addressing SIDS’ priorities through the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway. Regional and interregional preparatory meetings are taking place between May and October 2018 to review progress at national and regional levels. [Publication: Review of Partnerships for Small Island Developing States: Advance Copy] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on preparations for SAMOA Pathway review] [SAMOA Pathway High-Level Review webpage] [SIDS Partnership Framework website]


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