Islands of Inspiration Side Event Highlights SDG 14 Action for SIDS
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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On the sidelines of the UN Ocean Conference, delegates attending the event titled, 'Islands of Inspiration: From Talk to Action on #SDG14,' discussed SDG 14 (Life below Water) initiatives for small island developing States (SIDS).

The event was organized by The Netherlands, in collaboration with the Aruba Centre of Excellence for SIDS, the Smithsonian Institution, the Permanent Mission of Samoa, and the Permanent Mission of the Marshall Islands.

5 June 2017: On the sidelines of the UN Ocean Conference, delegates attending the event titled, ‘Islands of Inspiration: From Talk to Action on #SDG14,’ discussed SDG 14 (Life below Water) initiatives for small island developing States (SIDS). Participants outlined the importance of partnerships, holistic and cross-sectoral policies, stakeholder engagement, capacity building, and technical cooperation and financing for SIDS.

Karel van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, noted that part of his country is below sea level and has experienced challenges similar to those faced by SIDS, including on adapting to climate change. He added that the Netherlands has developed technologies to face some of these challenges, and has made them available to other countries.

Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia, Permanent Representative of Samoa, remarked that half of the Pacific Ocean is increasingly compromised by fishing, climate change, habitat loss, and pollution, among other factors. He highlighted the importance of women’s leadership, and said his country has implemented the Samoa Community-Base Fisheries Management Program (CBFMP). The CBFMP is a community-based approach to fisheries management meant to rehabilitate and protect mangrove ecosystems, livelihoods and biodiversity.

Cees van de Guchte, Deltares, introduced SimpleCoast, a project carried out in collaboration with the World Bank to provide tools, knowledge, and capacity building for SIDS, including on assessing coastal problems and designing adaptation and disaster risk management solutions.

Arno Boersma, Aruba Centre of Excellence for SIDS, said the Centre will help seven SIDS (including Belize, Jamaica, Seychelles and Vanuatu) “fill the gaps” related to their sustainable development roadmaps, and will share lessons learned. Aruba is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Carole Baldwin, Smithsonian Institute, highlighted the need to study deep reefs, since they represent diverse and unique ecosystems and potential refugia for impacted marine life. She said the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) seeks to study biodiversity and monitor changes in deep tropical reefs, and 60 new species have been discovered on Dutch Caribbean deep reefs.

Robert Bradley, World Resources Institute (WRI) introduced the NDC Partnership, an initiative seeking to help countries achieve their climate Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The Partnership contains an NDC Funding and Initiatives Navigator, and an NDC Toolbox Navigator that serve as searchable databases of financial and technical support, tools, guidance, and advisory support. Bradley noted that the Partnership includes 60 member countries and a number of implementing organizations, including UN agencies.

Antigua and Barbuda said it has recently banned plastic bags and is phasing out Styrofoam, with the hope to ban it by the end of 2017.

Antigua and Barbuda said it has recently banned plastic bags and is phasing out Styrofoam, with the hope to ban it by the end of 2017. He said it has also implemented “strong legislation” to protect fishing. Fiji highlighted the importance of bankable projects, and called on SIDS to embed financial mechanisms into their planning processes.

The event was organized by The Netherlands, in collaboration with the Aruba Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development of SIDS, the Smithsonian Institution, the Permanent Mission of Samoa, and the Permanent Mission of the Marshall Islands. It took place on 5 June 2017 in New York, US. The UN Ocean Conference is convening from 5-9 June also at the UN Headquarters in New York. [Side Event Webpage] [SDG Knowledge Platform Story on the Caribbean Sustainable Development Forum, Aruba, February 2017] [NDC Partnership Initiative] [SimpleCoast Project] [IISD RS Ocean Conference Coverage]


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