The Steering Committee on Partnerships for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) held its second meeting, providing UN Member States with updates on the standardized partnership reporting template, a stocktaking event on SIDS partnerships to be held during the 2016 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), and the first Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnerships Dialogue, which will convene in September 2016.
20 June 2016: The Steering Committee on Partnerships for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) held its second meeting, providing UN Member States with updates on the standardized partnership reporting template, a stocktaking event on SIDS partnerships to be held during the 2016 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), and the first Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnerships Dialogue, which will convene in September 2016.The Committee’s second meeting took place on 20 June 2016, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The Steering Committee is part of the SIDS Partnership Framework, which aims to support the follow-up of existing partnerships for SIDS’ sustainable development, and to promote and advocate the launching of new ones. In addition to the Steering Committee, the SIDS Partnership Framework includes an annual Global Multi-stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue, and a standardized partnership reporting template.
Opening the meeting on 20 June, Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, updated participants on the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ (DESA) work to strengthen the SIDS Steering Committee. He said that since the Committee’s first meeting, on 25 February 2016, all stakeholders have worked to finalize the reporting template. He noted that the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway will be reviewed both in the HLPF’s official sessions and its side events, including during the Partnership Exchange event on 18 July. SIDS partnerships also will be addressed, he said, during the high-level UN Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 – ‘Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development’ – convening on 5-9 June 2017, in Fiji.
Gyan Chandra Acharya, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and SIDS, said his Office has worked with several foundations on issues related to ocean conservation, with the EU and US on biodiversity, and is at the “project stage” with several international financial institutions (IFIs). He welcomed SIDS’ place “at the helm” of the 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA), as Peter Thomson, Permanent Representative of Fiji, has been elected UNGA president.
Ola Goransson, DESA, said the standardized partnership reporting template is available in the SIDS Action Platform as a short online form for existing partnerships. He noted that, for each partnership, it includes: the reporting year; the status of the partnership; the partnership’s achievement at a glance; challenges in implementing it; next steps; information on the beneficiaries and their benefits; the status of the deliverables; new deliverables; and other relevant documents. Goransson explained that the partnerships reports: are submitted once a year until the partnership ends; will inform the Steering Committee on progress and status of the partnerships; will be used by the UN Secretariat to prepare the annual report of the UN Secretary-General on SIDS; and the reports are regularly featured in the ‘SIDS Times’ newsletter. He announced that 298 SIDS partnerships have been registered to date, and 54 reports have been received since 2014.
Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of Maldives and Steering Committee Co-Chair, proposed that the SIDS partnership event during the HLPF review existing partnerships under the SAMOA Pathway and share best practices and lessons learned. He also suggested that the first Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnerships Dialogue, in September 2016, should encourage the launch of new partnerships and of a publication on existing partnerships for SIDS.
In the ensuing discussion, UN Member States welcomed the two proposed events. On the standardized partnership reporting template, Australia thanked DESA for having simplified it. Samoa explained that, in many SIDS, internet access is very expensive and usually people cannot afford more than checking their emails; thus they will not be able to engage with the online platform. He stressed the need to channel information “at the ground level” and proposed identifying national focal points for this task, while also bringing information from the ground up.
On the HLPF SIDS event, Australia stressed that the theme should be coherent with the overarching theme of the 2016 HLPF, “Ensuring that no one is left behind.” On the Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnerships Dialogue, Australia suggested: to be strategic and focused; identify areas that need increased focus over the following 12 months; and take into account the outcome of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Japan and the EU recommended setting a date as soon as possible to ensure high-level participation, noting that September will be busy because of the UNGA High-Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants (19 September) and the US-Hosted Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis (20 September).
The Steering Committee is supported by DESA and the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and SIDS (UN-OHRLLS). [IISD RS Story on First Meeting of SIDS Steering Committee] [IISD RS Story on Updates to SIDS Partnership Framework] [HLPF Partnerships Exchange Meeting] [UN Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14] [SIDS Action Platform] [IISD RS Sources] [DESA Meeting Summary]