2 April 2019
SIDS Partnerships Steering Committee Previews “Headline Year” for SIDS
Photo Credit: Lynn Wagner
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The Steering Committee of the SIDS Partnership Framework discussed pressing issues ahead of the high-level meeting for the midterm review of the outcome of the SAMOA Pathway, which will take place on 27 September 2019.

DESA presented preliminary findings from a global in-depth review of SIDS partnerships, which shows that current partnerships address SIDS' priority areas unevenly, with inequality, sustainable transportation, water and sanitation, gender, and integrated ecosystems management among the under-represented areas.

1 April 2019: The Steering Committee of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Partnership Framework held its second meeting of 2019, with participants discussing pressing issues for SIDS ahead of the high-level meeting for the midterm review of the outcome of the 2014 Third International SIDS Conference, also known as the SAMOA Pathway. The review meeting will take place during the UN’s high-level week in September 2019.

The SIDS Partnership Framework was established by the SAMOA Pathway to monitor progress of existing partnerships, and stimulate the launch of new, “genuine and durable” partnerships for the sustainable development of SIDS. The Framework provides a multi-stakeholder platform for reviewing progress made by SIDS partnerships and sharing good practices and lessons learned. The SIDS Partnership Framework is guided by a Member States-driven Steering Committee.

Opening the Steering Committee meeting on 1 April 2019, in New York, US, co-chair Geraldine Patricia Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland, said a high-level, global, multi-stakeholder SIDS partnership dialogue will take place on 10 July 2019. Preceding the dialogue event, a series of virtual meetings/webinars will foster discussion with the private sector and SIDS focal points to address: the broader horizon for SIDS’ development; and issues that are insufficiently addressed by SIDS partnerships currently.

Byrne Nason called for mobilizing youth in addressing SIDS issues, and for ensuring youth involvement in preparations for the UN Climate Action Summit, which will take place earlier in the week of the SAMOA pathway midterm review. Finally, she said Ireland will host the Our Ocean Wealth Summit in Cork, from 9-10 June 2019.

Steering Committee co-chair Janine Coye-Felson, Permanent Mission of Belize, said “2019 is a headline year for SIDS, sustainable development, and climate change,” and the Steering Committee aims to ensure that SIDS’ voices are heard in all relevant processes. She noted that much work remains to be done for the SAMOA Pathway’s implementation, including on building partnerships.

Heidi Schroderus-Fox, UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), said the UN is reviewing the functioning of multi-country offices (MCOs) for SIDS in the context of the reform of the UN development system, in order to improve their work. She also noted that a first meeting with the SIDS focal points took place in Samoa, and another regional meeting will be organized in advance of the September review meeting.

Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), reported that over 500 partnerships have been announced since the SAMOA Pathway’s adoption in 2014. Another DESA representative said DESA conducted a global in-depth review of SIDS partnerships in May 2018, some results of which were presented in November 2018, during the interregional preparatory meeting for the midterm review, in Samoa. The review of partnerships is being finalized with additional information received, and it will be published in both book format and online, the representative said.

According to its preliminary findings:

  • The largest number of partnerships registered are in the Pacific region, almost four times as many as the partnerships registered in the Caribbean region and seven times more than in the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and South China Sea (AIMS) region;
  • The main entities leading partnerships are governments, regional organizations and UN organizations, and the participation of the private sector and academia is generally lower than that of civil society;
  • Almost 160 partnerships have been completed, out of the approximately 700 partnerships registered on the SIDS Action Platform;
  • The analyzed partnerships address all priority areas of the SAMOA Pathway, but unevenly: well represented areas include oceans and seas, climate change, sustainable economic growth, renewable energy, and disaster risk reduction (DRR), but issues such as inequality, the multiple dimensions of poverty, sustainable transportation, water and sanitation, health, gender, and integrated ecosystems management are under-represented.

In the ensuing discussion, Cabo Verde highlighted challenges faced by SIDS in accessing concessional and innovative finance. He underscored the need for capacity building and information on partnerships for SIDS, and welcomed the role of the SIDS focal points to that end.

Japan mentioned a special event on water and disasters on 24 June 2019, at UN Headquarters in New York. Fiji observed decreases in the revenue from tourism across SIDS over the past 30 years. He said SIDS can lose the equivalent of eight years of SDG progress in one night of natural disaster, due to their vulnerability, and highlighted the need for partnerships that “lock in” gains. Indonesia expressed hope that the MCOs review in the context of the UN development system will improve the MCOs’ configuration and resources.

The high-level meeting to review progress made on the SAMOA Pathway will take place on 27 September 2019, in New York, US. [SDG Knowledge Hub sources][SIDS Action Platform] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on Steering Committee’s February 2019 meeting]

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