SIDS Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Focuses on Partnerships
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The 2018 annual Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue considered ways partnerships can support SIDS in their transition towards more sustainable and resilient cities and communities.

The Dialogue is one component of the SIDS Partnership Framework and provides a global platform for SIDS and partners to review progress on existing partnerships and launch new collaborations.

The Dialogue was organized by DESA and OHRLLS, in close consultation with the Steering Committee on Partnerships for SIDS, co-chaired by Belize and Ireland.

12 July 2018: During the 2018 annual Global Multi-Stakeholder Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Partnership Dialogue, participants discussed how partnerships can support SIDS in their transition towards more sustainable and resilient cities and communities. Several countries and organizations outlined examples of SIDS partnerships and initiatives they launched. Many also called for: predictability and continuity of SIDS support; ensuring monitoring and accountability of partnerships at the global and national levels; and strengthening capacity building, including on resource mobilization.

The annual Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue is one component of the SIDS Partnership Framework established by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) following the Third International Conference on SIDS, held in Samoa in 2014. The Dialogue provides a global platform for SIDS and partners to review progress of existing partnerships for SIDS, launch new partnerships, and allow stakeholders to exchange lessons learned and identify good practices. The 2018 Dialogue took place at the UN Headquarters in New York, US, in parallel with the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

Addressing the meeting on 12 July 2018, Peter Thomson, Ambassador and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, noted that the UN Ocean Conference in June 2017 resulted in over 1,400 voluntary commitments to advance implementation of SDG 14 (Life below water), and a large number of these commitments were announced by SIDS countries. He remarked that the financial sector is “getting on board” and many governments are being more active than before on the oceans Goal He added that multilateralism is more needed than ever, and genuine and durable partnerships are “the best way forward.”

François Martel, Secretary-General, Pacific Islands Development Forum, said partnerships need to focus more on community resilience, and remarked that most of the best partnerships come from islands and are replicable. Simona Marinescu, UN Resident Coordinator and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Samoa, stressed the importance of internal partnerships within the SIDS, and noted the need for relevance, respect for sovereignty, commonality and additionality, and political consensus for meaningful partnerships.

Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, High Representative for the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and SIDS, remarked that recurrent natural disasters in SIDS countries make it difficult to attract financing, and indicated that the 2018 SIDS Global Business Network Forum in Mauritius, convened by the UN Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS) together with the government of Mauritius, was the third in a series of SIDS private sector partnership fora launched by UN-OHRLLS and its partners. She noted that the one-day high-level review of progress on the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway scheduled for September 2019 will be an opportunity to assess progress and consider priorities for action in the coming years.

Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, Chief Economist, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) noted that preparations for the 2019 high-level review are already underway. He noted that DESA, with the funding support provided by Italy, is undertaking a project to increase stakeholder capacity to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Samoa Pathway in line with the high-level review preparatory process.

Among other initiatives, Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia, Permanent Representative of Samoa, noted that the Pacific Resilience Fund seeks to provide resources to South Pacific communities to invest in their resilience to climate change. Saud Al Shamsi, Deputy Permanent Representative of United Arab Emirates (UAE), outlined the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund (UAE-PPF), and the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund (UAE-CREF), two funds of US$50 million each, for renewable energy projects in Pacific Island nations and Caribbean countries. He called on SIDS to consider forecast-based financing, an innovative mechanism where early preparedness and community-level actions are pre-planned based on credible forecasts, and are funded and implemented before disasters strike.

Ahmed’ Abdel-Latif, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) noted that sustainable energy is a key area for SIDS partnerships, and underlined the success of the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative, that seeks to bring together SIDS and partners to promote the accelerated deployment of renewables on islands. He also reported that 20 SIDS adopted national energy roadmaps to support their transition to renewable energy. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) provided several examples of partnerships it carried out with the SIDS, and said it is planning to revive the University Consortium of Small Island States (UCSIS) together with DESA and other partners.

Canada told the SIDS “your challenges are our challenges,” adding her country would invest $162 million to support the goals outlined in the ‘Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Communities’ issued during the Group of 7 (G7) Summit in Charlevoix, Canada, in June 2018. She also noted that as part of the G7 Presidency, Canada will host a meeting of G7 Environment, Energy and Oceans Ministers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from 19-21 September 2018. The meeting will consider the theme ‘Working Together on Climate Change, Oceans and Clean Energy’ and discuss global climate action, clean growth and sustainable finance, resilient coasts and fisheries, plastic pollution, energy security and clean energy.

Norway said: it organized a week-long capacity building workshop for SIDS to prepare for the marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) negotiations; it supports a World Health Organization (WHO) initiative to address the health effects of climate change, particularly on SIDS; and has worked to establish a multi-donor trust fund on marine litter and pollution in the World Bank.

New Zealand reported that it is supporting the trust fund established for the SAMOA Pathway high-level review, and that out of seven SIDS partnerships registered on the SIDS Action Platform, three are now completed. He said New Zealand announced an increase in its development cooperation financing, with most of it allocated to SIDS. Australia remarked that it will allocate $1.3 billion to the Pacific region next year. The Russian Federation said it provided humanitarian assistance, financing and other types of support to Vanuatu and other countries that were impacted by hurricanes Irma and Maria, and is working to strengthen capacity to manage natural disasters.

Seychelles noted that it launched Blue Bonds, and asked for support on setting up the enabling environment, the architecture and the mechanisms to establish the partnerships needed to address SIDS challenges. Belize announced it will phase out single-use plastic products by April 2019, and has revised its legislation to better protect its mangroves.

The Dialogue was organized by DESA and OHRLLS, in close consultation with the Steering Committee on Partnerships for SIDS, co-chaired by Belize and Ireland. [Dialogue Webpage] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on DESA Report on Review of Partnerships for SIDS] [IISD RS coverage of HLPF 2018]


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