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Source: Small Island Developing States

10 July 2019: On the second day of the 2019 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), officials from small island developing States (SIDS) and others discussed SIDS’ needs, challenges and SDG-related initiatives. The discussion took place in advance of the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) High-level Midterm Review of the SAMOA Pathway, on 27 September 2019.

The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway is the outcome of the Third International Conference on SIDS, which took place in September 2014, in Apia, Samoa. The document covers the period 2015-2025, and promotes international assistance to address challenges faced by small islands.

During the HLPF thematic review session on ‘Perspectives of SIDS including main findings from mid-term review of the SAMOA Pathway,’ some participants remarked that climate change and resilience building continue to remain a priority for SIDS, and access to concessional financing and connectivity feature among key challenges. They also outlined the need for: financial resources to break the cycle of poverty and inequality and to adapt to climate change; facilitating SIDS’ access to loans and private finance; enhancing national statistical capacity and improving monitoring and evaluation systems; and ensuring coherent support from the UN.

Jamaica highlighted its roadmap for fast, sustained progress across multiple SDGs in the context of limited fiscal space.

Many stressed the importance of effective partnerships, both within the SIDS and with the international community. Norway reaffirmed its commitment to partner with the SIDS, and called for using the ocean sustainably.

Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Samoa, called for: “strong systems” and financing to achieve results; coherent policies and requirements tailored to the limited capacity of SIDS; balancing and integrating the global fight for climate justice; accelerating efforts for innovative interventions; and ratcheting up partnerships to replicate SIDS-relevant solutions through peer-to-peer learning. Palau suggested translating the VNRs into local national action, and called for UN support to help countries localize the SDGs. Rakesh Bhuckory, Minister Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mauritius, observed that many problems among SIDS are similar, and called for strengthening exchanges and learning among them.

On SDG-related initiatives, Mataafa noted that a peer review of Vanuatu’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) was carried out, and in Samoa, measures were taken to ensure that 10% of parliamentary seats are reserved for women.

Pat Breen, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Ireland, noted the establishment of the Ireland Trust Fund for Building Climate Change and Disaster Resilience in SIDS, which commits EU 12 million from 2019 to 2024. Yvonne Hyde, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum, Belize, said her country developed its first Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy (GSDS), which is linked to the SDGs.

Douglas Slater, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, said Caribbean islands are “vulnerable but not powerless, constrained but not uncommitted.” He noted the establishment of the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), and the appointment of a CARICOM Special Rapporteur on Disability.

Jamaica said it has set up a national planning framework for the SDGs. It also developed a roadmap for SDG implementation to trigger fast and sustained progress across multiple Goals in the context of limited fiscal space.

The HLPF is taking place under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) from 9-18 July 2019, in New York, US, under the theme ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.’ [HLPF 2019 Website] [Background Note] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]

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