Summary report, 1–4 September 2014
3rd International Conference on SIDS
The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) took place from 1-4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa, on the theme of ‘The Sustainable Development of SIDS Through Genuine and Durable Partnerships.’ In parallel with plenary discussions, six multi-stakeholder Partnership Dialogues took place on the themes of: sustainable economic development; climate change and disaster risk management (DRM); social development, health and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), youth and women; sustainable energy; oceans, seas and biodiversity; and water and sanitation, food security and waste management. Many countries and organizations announced new pledges and partnerships. Forums organized by youth, Major Groups and other Stakeholders, the renewable energy sector and the private sector took place prior to the conference.
Twenty-one heads of state and government and 3,500 delegates attended the conference, including representatives from government, the private sector and civil society. Alongside the formal proceedings, many side events took place on issues of importance to SIDS, such as graduation from least developed country (LDC) status, concessional financing, scientific monitoring and assessment, and resilience building. The conference was also an occasion to highlight the cultural traditions of the host country, Samoa, and other island nations, with daily displays of traditional dance, textiles, woodcarving and other crafts in the ‘SIDS Village’ located at the conference venue.
The Third International Conference on SIDS produced an outcome document, titled ‘SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway.’ The document was negotiated during the preparatory process at UN Headquarters in New York and was adopted without further discussion during the closing plenary on Thursday, 4 September 2014.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SIDS CONFERENCES
The vulnerability of islands and coastal areas was recognized by the 44th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 1989, when it passed resolution 44/206 on the possible adverse effects of sea-level rise on islands and coastal areas, particularly low-lying coastal areas. The 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, brought the special case of small islands and coastal areas to international attention when it adopted Agenda 21, a programme of action for sustainable development. Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, on the protection of oceans, all kinds of seas and coastal areas, included a programme area on the sustainable development of small islands. Agenda 21 also called for a global conference on the sustainable development of SIDS.
GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF SIDS: Established by UNGA resolution 47/189, the UN Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of SIDS was held in Bridgetown, Barbados, from 25 April - 6 May 1994. The Conference adopted the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS (BPOA), a 14-point programme that identifies priority areas and specific actions necessary for addressing the special challenges faced by SIDS. The priority areas are climate change and sea-level rise, natural and environmental disasters, management of wastes, coastal and marine resources, freshwater resources, land resources, energy resources, tourism resources, biodiversity resources, national institutions and administrative capacity, regional institutions and technical cooperation, transport and communication, science and technology, and human resource development. The BPOA further identified the following cross-sectoral areas requiring attention: capacity building; institutional development at the national, regional and international levels; cooperation in the transfer of environmentally-sound technologies; trade and economic diversification; and finance. The Conference also adopted the Barbados Declaration, a statement of political will underpinning the commitments contained in the BPOA. The UN Commission on Sustainable Development was given the responsibility to follow up on the implementation of the BPOA.
UNGASS-22: In September 1999, the 22nd Special Session of the UNGA (UNGASS-22) undertook a comprehensive review and appraisal of the implementation of the BPOA. The Special Session adopted the ‘State of Progress and Initiatives for the Future Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS,’ which identified six areas in need of urgent attention: climate change, natural and environmental disasters and climate variability, freshwater resources, coastal and marine resources, energy, and tourism. In addition, the Special Session highlighted the need to focus on means of implementation. UNGASS-22 also adopted a declaration in which Member States, inter alia, reaffirmed the principles of, and their commitment to, sustainable development as embodied in Agenda 21, the Barbados Declaration and the BPOA.
MILLENNIUM SUMMIT: In September 2000, at the UN Millennium Summit in New York, world leaders adopted the UN Millennium Declaration (UNGA Resolution 55/2) and, in doing so, resolved to address the special needs of SIDS by implementing the BPOA and the outcome of UNGASS-22 rapidly and in full.
WSSD: The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) convened from 26 August to 4 September 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The WSSD reaffirmed the special case of SIDS, dedicating a chapter of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) to the sustainable development of SIDS that identified a set of priority actions, called for a full and comprehensive review of the BPOA, and requested the UNGA at its 57th session to consider convening a second international meeting on the sustainable development of SIDS.
INTERNATIONAL MEETING TO REVIEW THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BPOA: The International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS convened from 10-14 January 2005, in Port Louis, Mauritius. Plenary panels convened on the themes of: environmental vulnerabilities of SIDS; special challenges of SIDS in trade and economic development; the role of culture in the sustainable development of SIDS; addressing emerging trends and social challenges regarding the sustainable development of SIDS; and building resilience in SIDS. At the conclusion of the meeting, delegates adopted the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action on the Sustainable Development of SIDS (MSI), which sets forth actions and strategies in 19 priority areas, including graduation from LDC status, sustainable consumption and production (SCP), health and knowledge management.
MSI+5: The High-level Review Meeting on the Implementation of the MSI (MSI+5) was held from 24-25 September 2010 at UN Headquarters in New York. Delegates participated in two multi-stakeholder roundtables, which focused on reducing vulnerabilities, strengthening resilience, and enhancing international support for SIDS, as well as an interactive dialogue on cross-regional perspectives on common issues and priorities for the way forward. The major outcome of the meeting was a political declaration that elaborated new and renewed commitments to implement the BPOA and MSI.
RIO+20: The third and final meeting of the Preparatory Committee, Pre-Conference Informal Consultations facilitated by the host country, and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) convened back-to-back in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 13-22 June 2012. The conference outcome document, titled The Future We Want, reaffirms in paragraphs 178-180 that SIDS are a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities, including their small size, remoteness, narrow resource and export base, and exposure to global environmental challenges and external economic shocks, including climate change and natural disasters. The Future We Want also called for convening, in 2014, a third international conference on SIDS, building on the BPOA and MSI.
UNGA-67: Resolution 67/207, Follow-up to and Implementation of the MSI, set up the modalities for the 2014 International Conference on SIDS, and welcomed the offer of the Government of Samoa to host the conference. The resolution called for the conference to: assess progress to date and remaining gaps in the implementation of the BPOA and the MSI; seek a renewed political commitment by all countries to effectively address the special needs and vulnerabilities of SIDS by focusing on practical and pragmatic actions; identify new and emerging challenges and opportunities for the sustainable development of SIDS; and identify priorities for consideration, as appropriate, in the elaboration of the post-2015 UN development agenda.
CARIBBEAN REGIONAL PREPARATORY MEETING: This meeting, held from 2-4 July 2013 in Kingston, Jamaica, issued a 44-paragraph document (the ‘Kingston Outcome’) reaffirming earlier commitments, including the BPOA, MSI and JPOI. The Kingston Outcome identified constraints to achieving the sustainable development of SIDS, including, inter alia: a lack of political will on the part of most developed countries to fulfill their commitments; SIDS’ vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters, and impacts on the tourism industry; and the classification of many Caribbean SIDS as middle- to high-income countries, excluding them from some sources of development aid. It called for new, additional and predictable financial resources for sustainable development, including relevant regional financing mechanisms. It also highlighted: the role of women and youth; the challenges and opportunities of migration; and the potential of international climate-related mechanisms. Other issues addressed included, inter alia: community empowerment; regional and national disaster risk reduction (DRR); a people-centered approach to poverty eradication; strengthening of health systems; and debt relief for small, indebted middle-income countries.
PACIFIC REGIONAL PREPARATORY MEETING: This meeting, held from 10-12 July 2013 in Nadi, Fiji, adopted a draft outcome document, titled ‘Accelerating Integrated Approach to Sustainable Development,’ which contains recommendations on, inter alia: climate change; health, especially NCDs; social development; governance; infrastructure; sustainable energy; oceans; sustainable resource management and protection; UN institutional support to SIDS; national priorities and plans; inclusive and sustainable economic management; and means of implementation and partnerships.
AIMS REGIONAL PREPARATORY MEETING: The Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Seas (AIMS) Regional Preparatory Meeting took place in Baie Lazare, Seychelles, from 17-19 July 2013. The outcome document calls for a paradigm shift in the approach to SIDS’ sustainable development, recognizing that each country requires its own unique tools, and emphasizing the concept of SIDS solidarity as a necessary prerequisite to implementation of the BPOA and MSI. Priority areas include: the blue economy; financing mechanisms and trade instruments; regional collaboration and institutional arrangements; and partnerships. The outcome document identifies a number of new and emerging challenges and opportunities, including: ocean governance, disaster risk reduction, international organized crime, population growth and urbanization, chemical and hazardous waste management, transboundary pollution, and food security and nutrition.
INTER-REGIONAL PREPARATORY MEETING: The Inter-regional Preparatory Meeting (IPM) for the Third International Conference on SIDS took place in Bridgetown, Barbados, from 26-28 August 2013. Discussions over the course of the three days addressed, inter alia: the outcomes of the three regional preparatory meetings; gaps and constraints in implementing the BPOA and MSI; the blue economy; debt management strategies; and the first International Year of SIDS in 2014. Extensive negotiations took place on the draft outcome document for the SIDS conference. Delegates provisionally adopted the Needham’s Point Bridgetown Declaration; however, the final outcome document was not agreed, and delegates suspended the IPM. The IPM reconvened on 16 September in New York, where the outcome document was adopted.
PREPARATORY COMMITTEE: The Preparatory Committee for the conference met at UN Headquarters in New York in February, April and June 2014 to discuss the objectives and substantive theme of the conference as well as organizational and procedural matters, and to finalize the outcome document. On 11 July 2014, the Preparatory Committee approved the draft outcome document of the Third International Conference on SIDS, titled ‘SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway.’
REPORT OF THE CONFERENCE
The Third International Conference on SIDS opened on Monday morning, 1 September 2014. Delegates elected Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa, as President of the conference. They also adopted the agenda (A/CONF.223/1) and rules of procedure (A/CONF.223/2). The following country representatives were elected as conference Vice-Presidents: Benin, Mauritius and Tanzania from Africa; Japan and the Maldives from Asia-Pacific; Estonia and Romania from Eastern Europe; the Bahamas, Barbados and Mexico from Latin America and the Caribbean; and Germany, Spain and Turkey from the Western Europe and Others Group. Delegates also elected Fonotoe Nuafesili Pierre Lauofo, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, as ex officio Vice-President. Milan Jaya Meetarbhan, Permanent Representative of Mauritius to the UN, was appointed Rapporteur-General.
The conference adopted the organization of work (A/CONF.223/4) and approved the participation of the intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) listed in A/CONF.223/5: the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, the South Pacific Tourism Organization, and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. The conference approved Belgium, China, Colombia, Gabon, Guyana, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Tanzania and the US to serve on the Credentials Committee.
Conference President Tuilaepa welcomed delegates to Samoa. He said the UN Climate Summit to be held in September 2014 at UN Headquarters in New York should send a clear signal to delegates to make the twenty-first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 21) in Paris a “conference of hope,” with an ambitious climate treaty agreed in 2015. He emphasized that the designation of 2014 as the International Year of SIDS is the first time a group of countries has been accorded such recognition, and that adopting the SAMOA Pathway months before the Conference is a unique occurrence in the UN context.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the world should prioritize achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in SIDS, and reaching meaningful agreement on the post-2015 development agenda and a global climate treaty that reflects the needs of SIDS. The SAMOA Pathway, he said, is “a road that we must travel together.”
UN General Assembly President John Ashe emphasized that this conference comes at a crucial time as the world is fashioning a new international development agenda, and called on leaders “to put something on the table” at the 2014 UN Climate Summit.
Baron Divavesi Waqa, President of Nauru and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), underscored that success requires long-term commitments and partnerships. He requested more discipline from partners to fulfill long-standing commitments so that SIDS can effectively plan their future. Waqa encouraged establishing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure actions do not “veer off course.”
Martin Sajdik, UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President, stressed that the international community has a special responsibility to SIDS. He outlined the work of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and ECOSOC in supporting partnerships, and urged creating a space for effective civil society engagement.
Wu Hongbo, Conference Secretary-General and UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, lauded SIDS for providing innovative solutions despite their limited resources, and underscored the importance of the conference in providing a platform for the international community to engage on these issues.
On behalf of the nine Major Groups, Lemalu Nele Leilua, Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organisations, provided an overview of the pre-conference Major Groups and other Stakeholders Forum, saying that the forum called for, inter alia: affirming a sustainable development goal on gender equality; mainstreaming the rights of indigenous peoples into the SAMOA Pathway; emphasizing the importance of youth; and taking urgent and ambitious action on adaptation, mitigation, and loss and damage.
The general debate began on Monday following the opening plenary and continued through Thursday, consisting of 21 statements by heads of state and government, approximately 80 statements from representatives of SIDS and other UN Member States, and 41 statements from representatives from the UN and other international organizations, and Major Groups.
On Monday, many speakers highlighted the development challenges facing SIDS, particularly climate change, and outlined domestic sustainable development initiatives. Calls were made to strengthen partnerships to meet key challenges, including through improving their management capacity and effectiveness. Delegates also called for the needs of SIDS to be better reflected in international partnerships. Many pointed to the Coral Triangle Initiative on coral reefs, fisheries and food security as a possible partnership model. A partnership between the Comoros, New Zealand and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the development of renewable energy was also announced.
Bolivia, for the Group of 77 and China, noted the need for integrating sustainability across all policies and programmes, and emphasized the importance of political will and durable partnerships for implementation of the BPOA, MSI and SAMOA Pathway.
The European Union (EU) highlighted key areas for potential regional SIDS partnerships in energy, healthy oceans, biodiversity, food and nutrition security, and the post-2015 development agenda.
On Tuesday, the general debate addressed: debt restructuring, improving SIDS’ resilience, waste management, climate change, sea-level rise, and recovery from extreme weather events, fisheries, sustainable economic development, issues related to graduation from LDC status, gender equality, decent jobs, and financing and operationalization of the Green Climate Fund.
Speakers mentioned: the SIDS DOCK sustainable energy mechanism as a success; the Caribbean Biological Corridor as a model of regional cooperation; the Caribbean Challenge Initiative for the conservation and sustainable financing of marine and coastal environments; the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) ‘SIDS Lighthouses’ initiative for scaling up renewable energy; and public-private partnerships on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, ocean acidification, and marine protected areas.
Malaysia pointed to its US$1 million commitment to assist in SIDS capacity building; Singapore described a three-year technical cooperation programme to provide assistance for SIDS priority areas; Japan noted its provision of assistance for training programmes across a number of sectors; and Venezuela referenced the PetroCaribe Development Fund’s energy provision to Caribbean SIDS, which has a loan portfolio of US$206 billion.
On Wednesday, country statements highlighted the importance of: promoting inter- and intra-regional connectivity among SIDS; reconsidering the use of gross domestic product (GDP) as the sole measure of wealth; achieving progress on the MDGs; addressing water scarcity; and promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Several countries announced SIDS-specific partnerships and financing. Others mentioned promoting foreign direct investment, triangular cooperation, and South-South cooperation, among SIDS, as well as with other partners. Barbados called for a SIDS-specific financing mechanism to be established within the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and offered to serve as a hub for new intergovernmental collaboration between SIDS. Sri Lanka called for a vulnerability and resilience framework for small states including SIDS, to help determine access to and allocation of financial resources. Suriname called on the UN to lead in revisiting the criteria for graduation to middle-income status, and to act as a SIDS advocate to international financial institutions.
Many partnerships were highlighted, including a cooperation programme between Mexico and Caribbean countries to address a range of sustainable development issues, and a partnership between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Nordic Council for the sustainable utilization of ocean resources. The SAMOA Pathway was lauded for providing new thinking on models of future cooperation and on the role of private sector investment in catalyzing balanced, inclusive and sustainable growth. It was suggested that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) offered a possible window of opportunity for cooperation with SIDS.
On Thursday, many delegates addressed oceans issues. The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency highlighted a cooperative management scheme for albacore tuna in an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and called for recognizing the rights of coastal states to control fishing and develop fishing opportunities. The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat emphasized the central role of the ocean for SIDS, highlighted the launch of the Pacific Ocean Alliance, called for a stand-alone sustainable development goal on oceans, urged reviewing graduation criteria to better reflect the vulnerability of SIDS, and supported better access to climate financing.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community highlighted the SAMOA Pathway’s call for special attention to data collection and statistics.
The Indian Ocean Commission presented a proposed list of SIDS to be approved and recognized as a single entity within the UN system, in order to benefit from specific resources.
The International Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO-IOC) said that “science holds the key to the future of SIDS” in relation to climate change, ocean acidification and related issues. She highlighted the organization’s investment in early warning, and called for oceans and coastal areas to become priorities for action, including the promotion of underwater cultural heritage.
The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction pledged to bring the message of the SAMOA Pathway to the Third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, in March 2015, noting that many SIDS have already implemented the Hyogo Framework for Action on Disaster Preparedness.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) called on all SIDS to ratify the Nagoya Protocol, and to take advantage of the Global Island Partnership and the Sustainable Ocean Initiative.
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification called on SIDS to “move land degradation to the front burner” for consideration, as small islands cannot afford to degrade their land.
Many other UN agencies and international organizations highlighted examples of their work in support of SIDS. The World Bank Group announced enhanced financial support to meet SIDS’ needs, including access to new funds, and technical support. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) noted the unique features of SIDS economies, including higher public spending needs, economic volatility, and the need for social safety nets. He encouraged SIDS’ ownership of reforms, their stewardship of financial and economic policies, and partnership with the international community.
The GEF announced a commitment of US$256 million for SIDS for the period 2014-2018, a 9% increase from the previous four-year period.
UN Women called for ensuring women’s access to ownership and control of land, and for ending the information deficit that hinders progress on equality. The South Centre called for accelerating means of implementation and finance for the development of SIDS.
The Local Authorities Major Group invited delegates to sign on to the Islands Declaration on Climate Change that will be presented at UNFCCC COP 21 in Paris, France, in 2015. Other Major Groups called for: working with farmers’ organizations to create rural employment; allowing farmers a fair return for their work; and applying transformative participatory approaches.
Links to the full statements made during the general debate can be found at: http://www.sids2014.org/index.php?menu=1590.
SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, chaired this session on Monday afternoon. Henry Puna, Prime Minister, Cook Islands, called for protecting shared fisheries and abundant minerals through sustainable ocean development. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, said sustainable economic development is now synonymous with job and wealth creation, saying that there are value-for-money partnerships available in SIDS.
Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs, New Zealand, underscored the importance of having strong partnerships and choosing sustainable initiatives. ECOSOC President Sadjik called for ensuring that partnership mechanisms are a part of the post-2015 development agenda. Rolph Payet, Minister of Environment and Energy, Seychelles, provided an overview of his country’s ‘debt-for-nature’ initiative. Zhu Min, IMF, emphasized, inter alia, the IMF’s technical assistance for developing monetary and fiscal policies, provision of concessional loans for low-income countries, and work with states that have graduated beyond LDC status.
In the discussion, moderated by Cletus Springer, Organization of American States, many countries highlighted the importance of regional integration as well as partnership opportunities with the larger international community. Discussions also addressed the importance of partnerships for: capacity building; job creation; infrastructure development; technology; and SCP. Other topics addressed included public management systems and sustainable tourism.
A summary of this discussion is available at http://enb.iisd.org/vol08/enb0854e.html.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT: This event took place on Tuesday morning and was co-chaired by José Manuel García-Margallo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Spain, and Takao Makino, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan, who discussed construction of the new Pacific Climate Change Centre.
Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, highlighted the creation of the Coalition of Atoll Nations on Climate Change. Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development, called for integrating climate change in sectors such as sustainable energy and agriculture. Mary Robinson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, said that at least 125 heads of state and government were expected to attend the UN Climate Summit in September. Rachel Kyte, Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change, World Bank Group, said every US$1 invested in early warning saves US$30 in relief and reconstruction.
During the discussion, moderated by Margareta Wahlström, UN Special Representative for DRR, calls were made for better integration of climate change, DRR and disaster preparedness. Participants also announced partnerships and related initiatives to respond to climate change and promote resilience through, inter alia: early warning systems; weather services; risk assessment and management for adaptation in agriculture, fisheries, forestry and tourism; developing renewable energy sources; building local government capacity; and South-South cooperation on risk reduction and loss and damage. Participants also discussed the development of a regional strategy on climate-induced migration and coping mechanisms, and an initiative that addresses migration as a result of natural hazards and the impacts of climate change.
A summary of this session is available at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol08/enb0857e.html.
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, HEALTH AND NCDS, YOUTH AND WOMEN: This dialogue chaired by Winston Dookeran, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trinidad and Tobago, took place on Tuesday afternoon. Yanerit Morgan, Mexico, moderated the session.
In a keynote address, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark noted: challenges posed by NCDs due to diabetes and obesity in SIDS; high youth unemployment rates; migration due to lack of opportunities; and gender inequality issues related to low participation rates of women in decision making, limited access to decent work, and family violence.
On social development, Ewen McDonald, Australia, observed that his country’s new aid policy focuses on: trade and infrastructure; women’s empowerment; fisheries, water and agriculture; governance; DRR; social protection; and community engagement.
Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO, underscored inclusiveness for achieving social development and highlighted education as the strongest ally to foster social inclusion and equal opportunities.
Fuimaono Falefa Lima, National University of Samoa, highlighted training for private and public sector employees, and women entrepreneurs, and for generating employment opportunities for youth.
The ensuing discussion highlighted the Grenada Sustainable Farmers’ Night Market Network, which includes among its aims helping women start businesses, develop products, and connect to markets. A partnership with the Caribbean Policy Development Center, which aims to, inter alia, enhance interregional collaboration, establish knowledge hubs for best practices, and monitor and evaluate progress made in implementing the SAMOA Pathway was also mentioned.
On health and NCDs, Leao Talalelei Tuitama, Minister of Health, Samoa, mentioned the Apia Challenge partnership, which highlights opportunities whereby SIDS can jointly strengthen NCD policies.
Toomas Palu, World Bank, highlighted a roadmap to tackle NCDs in the Pacific, and efforts for joint pharmaceuticals procurement. Colin Tukuitonga, Director-General, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, lamented the lack of impact on the ground, and called for a multilateral and multi-sectoral, rather than a silo, approach to addressing NCDs.
In the ensuing discussion, Palau, for the Pacific Island Forum, officially launched the Pacific NCD Partnership for a Multi-sector Approach to Prevent and Control NCDs (Pacific NCD Partnership). Tonga highlighted the UN Pacific Interagency Task Force on NCD Prevention and Control, which addresses, inter alia, leadership, governance, multi-sectoral action and accountability.
On women, Roberta Clarke, UN Women, presented the organization’s ‘Markets for Change’ project, a component of its Pacific Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme, which is working to ensure decent working conditions for women vendors in marketplaces in the region.
Noelene Nabulivou, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), outlined the scale of environmental degradation and lamented the high rate of sexual and gender-based violence in the region. She stressed that gender-just approaches and women-led input are necessary for social development.
On youth, Karuna Rana, SIDS Youth AIMS Hub, presented the pre-conference Youth Forum outcomes, and highlighted a forthcoming Caribbean partnership to be launched on International Girl Child Day to address violence against girls.
In the ensuing discussion, Samoa announced the High-Tech Youth Network, which aims to promote digital entrepreneurship, saying that this builds on outcomes of the SIDS Youth Forum and on the SAMOA Pathway.
Other countries and organizations presented partnerships to: strengthen women’s participation and leadership in public decision making; build awareness among parliamentarians regarding the International Conference on Population and Development; improve the quality of education for girls; and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in high-risk groups.
A summary of this session is available at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol08/enb0857e.html.
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY: Simona-Mirela Miculescu, Romania, chaired this dialogue on Wednesday morning. Andrew Jacobs, EU, highlighted the EU-New Zealand Energy Access Partnership, which is assisting the Pacific region to reduce fossil fuel dependence, and suggested extending this cooperation to other regions.
Naoko Ishii, CEO, GEF, said the international community must consider putting a price on carbon and reducing fossil fuel subsidies. Adnan Amin, Director-General, IRENA, announced the organization’s SIDS Lighthouses initiative to support the development of renewables in SIDS.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, said that the small size and remoteness of SIDS encourages the incubation of renewable energy technologies, and enables price competitiveness with fossil fuels. Zaheer Allam, Australian Urban Design Research Center, called for: a diverse energy mix; reducing the cost of renewable energy; and decentralizing the renewable energy sector.
In the ensuing discussion, moderated by Elizabeth Thompson, UN Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4ALL), the Marshall Islands said his country powers 95% of outer island communities with solar energy, and the Bahamas noted his country aims to achieve 30% renewable energy use by 2030. Sustainable energy initiatives were mentioned for phasing out incandescent light bulbs, installing solar-powered streetlights, using sustainable biomass, promoting liquid petroleum gas in cooking, encouraging the use of bicycles, and abating greenhouse gas emissions.
Participants also announced partnerships related to: bringing biogas to Samoa; strengthening grid stability; supporting knowledge management; building capacity and scaling up markets for renewable energy; and promoting low-carbon industrial development through micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises. The importance of small-scale solutions, such as mini-grids and solar home systems, and transport efficiency was also stressed.
A summary of the discussion can be found at http://enb.iisd.org/vol08/enb0856e.html
OCEANS, SEAS AND BIODIVERSITY: Milan Jaya Meetarbhan, Mauritius, chaired and moderated the multi-stakeholder partnership dialogue on oceans, seas and biodiversity on Wednesday afternoon.
In opening remarks, Arvin Boolell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mauritius, emphasized the need to develop ocean economies sustainably. Tommy Remengesau, President, Palau, called for looking beyond the EEZ approach and adopting a holistic global approach to oceans. Amb. Angus Friday, Grenada, proposed establishing a platform that goes beyond sharing best practices, by collating project information and matching projects to donors. Miguel de Serpa Soares, UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, introduced UN-Oceans as an interagency coordination mechanism.
Biliana Cicin-Sain, President, Global Ocean Forum, called for mobilizing financing accompanied by enhanced capacity. Kate Brown, Global Island Partnership, proposed focusing on a collective impact approach, inclusivity and mobilizing high-level political leadership.
In the ensuing discussion, delegates discussed: the need for partnerships on resource management; establishing environmental policing units; and regulating the deep sea mining industry.
Delegates also announced a number of partnerships, including on ocean acidification, marine pollution, illegal fishing and seafood transparency, ocean observation systems, capacity building, and blue carbon.
Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD Secretariat highlighted its Sustainable Ocean Initiative. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) announced its five-year collaborative project titled Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean SIDS. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) presented an initiative to implement a Global Framework for Climate Services for SIDS. SIDS DOCK called attention to the Blue Carbon Initiative led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which aims to ensure the management of marine resources such that their carbon sequestration and storage functions are maintained.
A summary of the discussion can be found at http://enb.iisd.org/vol08/enb0856e.html.
WATER AND SANITATION, FOOD SECURITY AND WASTE MANAGEMENT: Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador for Climate Change and SIDS Issues, Seychelles, moderated this dialogue on Thursday morning. In opening remarks, Rolph Payet, Minister of the Environment, Seychelles, underscored that SIDS face many challenges when addressing food security, water, sanitation and waste management, including salinity intrusion due to sea-level rise, the high cost of desalination plants, and unfeasibility of rainwater collection in some mountainous areas.
Federico Ramos de Armas, Secretary of State for the Environment, Spain, said that Spain has entered into partnerships in the Caribbean region to provide assistance with ensuring adequate water provision.
Karen Tan, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the US, said that her country’s experience in ensuring adequate access to freshwater and sanitation took place over a number of years and required careful planning, even though Singapore’s land size is comparatively small. Tan said stakeholder involvement, particularly of the private sector, was critical.
Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the WMO, highlighted the UN-Water partnership, which includes public and private stakeholders. He stressed the need for water and data analysis, as well as strengthening national metrological institutions.
Alemneh Dejene, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), highlighted partnerships with key stakeholders, including civil society, to promote healthy diets and sustainable food production and consumption. He highlighted the potential for implementing the Zero Hunger Challenge partnership in SIDS.
In the ensuing discussion, several countries mentioned regional and other partnerships on solid waste management, integrated water resource management, and natural resource management in association with the cultivation of cash crops and staples,
The EU highlighted the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility. Chile spoke on its support for the Strengthening the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency. Tuvalu welcomed the Pacific Partnership for Action on Safe Water and Sanitation within the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. New Caledonia spoke on the outcomes of the 2nd Oceania 21 Conference held in Nouméa, New Caledonia, in July 2014. UNESCO highlighted the establishment of Centre for the Sustainable Management of Water Resources in the Caribbean Island States in 2010. The Pacific Community Secretariat highlighted partnerships on: Integrated Water Resources Management Network; and the Pacific Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Coalition and the Pacific Partnership for Atoll Water Security. UNICEF highlighted several water, sanitation and hygiene partnerships in Kiribati, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
REPORTS FROM THE PARTNERSHIP DIALOGUES: On Thursday afternoon, conference President Tuilaepa reconvened the plenary and invited delegates to consider reports from the multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues.
On sustainable economic development, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Barbados, said the dialogue noted the potential for SIDS to pursue sustainable economic development but that in doing so, they need to adopt integrated planning activities and enhance capacity building in information technology and financial services. He said that discussions noted that many SIDS have large EEZs with economic potential in fisheries, tourism and seabed exploration, and that the dialogue highlighted climate change as the backdrop against which discussions must take place.
He noted opportunities for innovative solutions to challenges, including debt-for-nature swaps, and highlighted the need for domestic resource mobilization in SIDS. He stated that participants discussed the need to involve communities to ensure local buy-in and scalable and replicable partnerships and considered, inter alia, small business promotion, sustainable tourism, economic empowerment of women, vocational youth training, renewable and clean energy, and organic agriculture.
On social development, health and NCDs, youth and women, Dennis Francis, Trinidad and Tobago, said the dialogue noted that many SIDS have young populations and if youth are given appropriate opportunities, SIDS societies could reap demographic dividends. He added that social inclusion is key, along with empowering women and girls, fighting disease, safeguarding reproductive health and addressing children’s health and nutrition.
The need for job creators and entrepreneurs was noted, as well as mentoring schemes and expanding peer-to-peer training. The dialogue also addressed the high incidence of NCDs, especially in the Pacific region, emphasizing that partnerships for NCDs require the engagement of society as a whole. Participants discussed the need for awareness raising, healthy food choices, and returning to more traditional diets.
On climate change and DRM, José Manuel García-Margallo, Spain, said that SIDS can be models. He emphasized the need to integrate climate change and DRM into development policies to ensure holistic and coordinated action, and said transitioning to a low-carbon society and involving all stakeholders was critical for building resilience. He mentioned partnerships in, inter alia, fisheries, tourism, monitoring and evaluation.
On sustainable energy, Simona-Mirela Miculescu, Romania, noted the importance of: developing an enabling environment to ensure renewable energy in SIDS; technology transfer; capacity development; and private sector and community involvement. She said SIDS could represent success stories for the world on achieving sustainable development and renewable energy use, and mentioned IRENA’s SIDS Lighthouses initiative, and partnerships on energy access and strengthening energy grid stability.
On oceans, seas and biodiversity, Milan Jaya Meetarbhan, Mauritius, said that participants had discussed how oceans have an intrinsic role in the life of SIDS, as they are a large part of SIDS economic activity. He said that participants urged for implementing integrated, holistic and global policies. He noted the wide range of projects, saying that in order for them to be successful they should have clear objectives, set achievable goals, and have access to relevant and accurate data.
On water and sanitation, food security and waste management, Amb. Ronald Jumeau, Seychelles, stated that water scarcity, lack of sanitation, food security and waste management are closely connected issues that have been exacerbated by climate change. He said that the discussions had called for multi-stakeholder partnerships to address these issues, and placed an emphasis on using public-private partnerships as a model of cooperation. Jumeau also underscored the need to raise public awareness.
ADOPTION OF OUTCOME DOCUMENT: Conference President Tuilaepa introduced decision A/CONF.223/L.1, which called on the Conference to adopt the outcome document titled the SAMOA Pathway, as agreed at the final Preparatory Committee meeting held in June 2014, at UN Headquarters in New York, and recommended that the UNGA endorse the SAMOA Pathway during its 69th session. The decision was adopted by acclamation. The US said they would be providing the Secretariat with a statement for inclusion in the report of the conference.
CLOSING REMARKS: The Rapporteur-General then introduced the draft report of the conference (A/CONF.223/L.3), summaries of the plenary meetings (A/CONF.223/CRP.1), and summaries of the multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues (A/CONF.223/CRP.2). The report was adopted with the understanding that details will be filled in later. He said the outcome of the conference would be submitted to the 69th session of the UNGA.
Bolivia, for the Group of 77 and China, introduced a draft resolution expressing thanks to the people and Government of Samoa (A/CONF.223/L.2), which was adopted.
In his closing remarks, Conference Secretary-General Wu Hongbo, highlighted a monitoring and accountability mechanism to review progress in implementation, and an integrated intergovernmental process through the UNGA, ECOSOC and the High-Level Political Forum. He said the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs has been entrusted to monitor commitments, pledges and partnerships made in Samoa, and will prepare a report to UNGA on progress made. He said the UN family will redouble its efforts to provide coordinated support to SIDS, and offered assurances that SIDS concerns would feed into the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2015.
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa said the Third International Conference on SIDS is not the final destination for SIDS development challenges, and said the upcoming UN Climate Summit was an essential stop on the road to a new climate treaty in Paris in 2015. He hoped that the DRR Conference in Sendai, Japan, in 2015, and the post-2015 development agenda discussions do not become missed opportunities for SIDS. He said the time for speeches is over and that we must now set sail with determination that “the course of action charted here will be delivered to achieve our priorities with genuine and durable partnerships.” He then gaveled the meeting to a close at 4:43 pm.
SIDS ACCELERATED MODALITIES OF ACTION: SAMOA PATHWAY
The SAMOA Pathway (A/CONF.223/3) reaffirms that SIDS remain a special case for sustainable development, recognizing SIDS’s ownership and leadership in overcoming these challenges. The preamble acknowledges that the further implementation of the BPOA and MSI and the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway requires consideration in the post-2015 development agenda, and recognizes that SIDS progress in attaining internationally agreed development goals has been uneven and some SIDS have regressed economically.
SUSTAINED AND SUSTAINABLE, INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH WITH DECENT WORK FOR ALL: On development models in SIDS for the implementation of sustainable development and poverty eradication, the SAMOA Pathway recognizes the impacts of the global economic crisis on SIDS, and calls on the UN system to strengthen its coordination and support for SIDS wanting to pursue green economy policies. The document calls for support for SIDS to, inter alia: develop and increase the capacity and development impact of the financial services industry in SIDS; create local decent jobs through private and public projects and encourage entrepreneurs to start up environmentally-sound businesses; promote and enhance the use of information and communication technologies; and set national regulatory and policy frameworks that enable business and industry to advance sustainable development initiatives. It supports considering traditional and innovative approaches to promoting debt sustainability; and acknowledges its importance to ensure the smooth transition for those SIDS that have graduated from LDC status.
On sustainable tourism, the SAMOA Pathway calls for support for SIDS in: developing and implementing policies promoting responsive, responsible, resilient and sustainable tourism; diversifying sustainable tourism through products and services; promoting policies that allow local communities to gain optimum benefits from tourism; and designing and implementing participatory measures to enhance employment opportunities, in particular for women, youth and persons with disabilities.
CLIMATE CHANGE: The SAMOA Pathway emphasizes that adaptation to climate change represents an immediate and urgent global priority, and that the UNFCCC COP is the primary international intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.
The Pathway notes with grave concern the significant gap between the aggregate effect of mitigation pledges by parties in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with maintaining the increase in global average temperature below 2°C, or 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
The Pathway urges developed country parties to increase technology, finance and capacity-building support to enable increased mitigation ambition and adaptation actions on the part of developing country parties. It calls for support for the efforts of SIDS to, inter alia: build resilience to the impacts of climate change and improve their adaptive capacity; improve the baseline monitoring of island systems and the downscaling of climate model projections; address the remaining gaps in capacity for gaining access to and managing climate finance; and support the gradual phasing down of the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons.
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY: The SAMOA Pathway recognizes that dependence on imported fossil fuels has been a major source of economic vulnerability and a key challenge for SIDS and that sustainable energy, including enhanced accessibility to modern energy services, energy efficiency and the use of economically viable and environmentally sound technology, plays a critical role in enabling the sustainable development of SIDS.
The Pathway strongly supports actions to: develop a strategy and targeted measures to promote energy efficiency and foster sustainable energy systems based on all energy sources, in particular renewable energy sources, in SIDS; facilitate access to existing financing mechanisms to increase capital flows for implementing sustainable energy projects in SIDS; and support investment in initiatives by and for SIDS, in particular SIDS DOCK, as well as capacity-building and human resources development and public education and awareness. The Pathway also calls for an integrated approach to establishing and strengthening innovative energy road maps in SIDS, including access to energy for the poor and people in remote areas.
DRR: The Pathway recognizes that: SIDS are disproportionately affected by disasters, and that there is a critical need to build resilience, strengthen monitoring and prevention, reduce vulnerability, raise awareness and increase preparedness to respond to and recover from disasters.
The Pathway commits to supporting SIDS in their efforts to: gain access to technical assistance and financing for early warning systems, DRR and post-disaster response and recovery, including activities under the Global Framework for Climate Services, and DRM. It supports the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action and efforts toward an ambitious renewed international framework for post-2015 DRR. It calls for: harmonizing national and regional reporting systems, where applicable, to increase synergies and coherence; and establishing and strengthening risk insurance facilities at the national and regional levels.
OCEANS AND SEAS: The SAMOA Pathway reaffirms the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources.
It strongly supports national, subregional and regional efforts on research and the implementation of strategies on coastal zone management and ecosystem-based management, and enhancing national legal and institutional frameworks. It commits to addressing marine pollution, including through the UNEP Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities.
The Pathway also calls for urgent action to protect coral reefs and other vulnerable marine ecosystems, including through measures such as those identified in the Framework for Action 2013 of the International Coral Reef Initiative.
It supports actions to: develop the technological capacity of SIDS in marine science; monitor fishing vessels so as to eliminate IUU fishing; promote the sustainable development of small-scale fisheries; strengthen disciplines on subsidies in the fisheries section, including the prohibition of subsidies that contribute to over-capacity and overfishing; and promote the conservation, sustainable use and management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks.
It calls for enhanced cooperation to address the causes of ocean acidification and minimize its impacts, and to conserve, by 2020, at least 10% of coastal and marine areas in SIDS.
The Pathway also supports action to address concerns about the long-term effects of munitions dumped at sea.
FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION: The SAMOA Pathway recognizes that SIDS are exceptionally vulnerable to the fluctuating availability and excessive price volatility of food imports and stresses the crucial role of healthy marine ecosystems, and sustainable agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture for enhancing food security and livelihoods of people living in SIDS. The Pathway recognizes the danger caused by an unhealthy diet and the need to promote healthy food production and consumption.
The Pathway commits to support the efforts of SIDS to: promote the further use of sustainable practices relating to agriculture and aquaculture to improve food and nutrition security while ensuring the sustainable management of the required water resources; promote open and efficient international and domestic markets; enhance international cooperation to maintain access to global food markets, particularly during periods of higher volatility in commodity markets; increase rural income and jobs, with a focus on the empowerment of smallholders and small-scale food producers, especially women; and enhance the resilience of agriculture and fisheries to the adverse impacts of climate change, ocean acidification and natural disasters.
WATER AND SANITATION: The SAMOA Pathway calls for supporting SIDS in, inter alia: developing capacity for integrated management of water resources and related ecosystems; providing safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene and waste management systems; expanding wastewater treatment and recycling programmes; improving water-use efficiency; and mitigating the effects of saltwater intrusion.
SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT: The SAMOA Pathway recognizes that transportation and mobility are central to the sustainable development of SIDS and can enhance economic growth, promote trade opportunities and improve accessibility. It also recognizes the importance of the efficient movement of people and goods to fully engage in local, regional and global markets, and the potential of sustainable transport to improve social equity, health, resilience of cities, urban-rural linkages and productivity of rural areas of SIDS.
The SAMOA Pathway commits to continuing and enhancing support for SIDS efforts to: access environmentally sound, safe, affordable and well-maintained transportation; advance the safety of land, sea and air transportation; develop viable national, regional and international transportation arrangements, including improved air, land and sea transport policies that take a life-cycle approach on the development and management of transport infrastructure; and increase energy efficiency in the transport sector.
SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION: The SAMOA Pathways recognizes that all countries should promote SCP patterns, with developed countries taking the lead, in accordance with national objectives, needs and priorities, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries. It further calls for support for SIDS efforts to develop and implement programmes under the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on SCP.
HEALTH AND NCDS: Diseases, both communicable and non-communicable, are identified as one of the major challenges for SIDS globally, and the SAMOA Pathway supports urgent measures to establish 2025 targets and associated plans to stem the rise of NCDs, including monitoring and accountability mechanisms. The Pathway recommits support for developing national programmes and policies across SIDS ministries and sectors to achieve universal health coverage and distribute medical and drug supplies. Health ministers and other SIDS leaders are encouraged to deepen their cooperation through existing biennial meetings at the international and regional levels.
GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT: Gender equality and rights are recognized in the SAMOA Pathway as transformative drivers of sustainable development. To empower women as agents of change, the document supports eliminating gender discrimination and violence, integrating gender perspectives into sustainable development, and enabling equal access to education, health and work opportunities. The Pathway also promotes continued measures and targets to ensure women’s participation in leadership decision-making at all levels, and in both the public and private spheres. Finally, the Pathway supports the human rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights of all women in SIDS, in accordance with existing international agreements.
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: The SAMOA Pathway calls for strengthened inclusion and social protection to promote wellbeing, especially for the most vulnerable. It also reinforces a people-centered approach to poverty eradication that ensures access to basic and productive services, including education, health, water, credit, land and information. The Pathway also emphasizes participatory decision-making on social development for citizens and communities.
On culture and sport, the Pathway affirms ongoing efforts to promote cultural diversity and develop the cultural and creative industries.
On promoting peaceful societies and safe communities, the Pathway supports efforts to combat transnational organized crime and international piracy, and to eliminate gender-based violence.
On education, it strongly supports increasing investment in education, training and skills development, including through the use of distance teaching and other SIDS-appropriate training approaches.
BIODIVERSITY: The document recognizes the extraordinary marine and terrestrial biodiversity of SIDS, and supports: fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the utilization of genetic resources; export of organic, natural, sustainably produced and locally-grown products; and access to financial and technical resources for biodiversity conservation and management. It invites parties to the CBD to consider ratifying and implementing the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization.
On desertification, land degradation and drought, the Pathway supports SIDS’ efforts on preparedness and resilience policies, and acknowledges efforts under the UN Convention to Combat Desertification to establish a science-based definition of land degradation neutrality in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas.
On forests, the Pathway supports the implementation of the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests, and supports participation in the review of the International Arrangement on Forests under the UN Forum on Forests.
INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES: The Pathway calls for strengthening of capacity for invasive alien species eradication and control, noting the threat they pose to sustainable development, biodiversity protection and livelihoods.
MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION, INCLUDING PARTNERSHIPS: On partnerships, the SAMOA Pathway calls for: enhanced international cooperation, including North-South, South-South, SIDS-SIDS and triangular cooperation; and strengthened partnerships to ensure engagement of all stakeholders. It also requests the UN Secretary-General to present recommendations for a partnership framework to monitor and ensure implementation of pledges and commitments, for consideration by UNGA 69.
On financing, the document addresses, inter alia: strengthening the use of domestic policies and financing; accessing international arrangements and modalities for development financing; and reducing transfer costs related to remittances.
On trade, the document calls for: strengthening SIDS capacity to effectively participate in the multilateral trading system; and mitigating the impacts of non-tariff barriers to market access.
On capacity building, the Pathway addresses, inter alia: coordinated and coherent UN system-wide capacity-building programmes for SIDS; a dedicated intensive training programme in the University Consortium of Small Island States; and ensuring that women benefit from capacity development.
On technology, the document calls for access to appropriate, reliable, affordable, modern and environmentally sound technologies and know-how.
On data and statistics, the Pathway calls on the UN and others to, inter alia; support a sustainable development statistics and information programme for SIDS; and elaborate appropriate indices for assessing progress made in the sustainable development of SIDS, which better reflect their vulnerability.
On institutional support for SIDS, the Pathway calls on the UN system to: enhance participation of SIDS in decision-making processes of international financial institutions; improve interregional and intraregional cooperation; and ensure that SIDS issues are adequately addressed by the UNGA, ECOSOC and the HLPF. The Pathway also requests that: the UN Secretary-General conduct a comprehensive review of UN system support for SIDS; and the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and SIDS ensure mainstreaming of the SAMOA Pathway into the UN’s work.
SIDS PRIORITIES FOR THE POST-2015 AGENDA: The SAMOA Pathway recognizes the need to consider SIDS priorities in elaborating the post-2015 development agenda.
MONITORING AND ACCOUNTABILITY: The Pathway includes a request to: the UN Secretary-General to report to the UNGA and to ECOSOC on progress achieved in implementing the priorities, commitments and partnerships of SIDS; and DESA to continue maintaining a SIDS partnerships platform and to regularly convene the inter-agency consultative group to report on implementation of the BPOA, MSI and SAMOA Pathway.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SIDS
’Ua fetaui lelei fola o le ’alia.
- When the Planks of the Voyaging Canoe Fit Together Well, Great Feats Are Possible.
At the Third UN Conference on Small Island Developing States, diverse actors from SIDS, the developed and the developing world, civil society and the private sector came together, realizing that only in partnership could they hope to guide the world clear of threats and bring it closer to solutions and fulfilled commitments. Hosted by Samoa, the conference allowed SIDS to steer their partners out of a sea of inaction, by focusing on new partnerships to fulfill commitments made to them over the past twenty years.
In the middle a hectic calendar and flurry of UN activities, delegates met in the South Pacific at the largest global meeting ever held in this part of the world. Delegates flew long hours across the Pacific Ocean to reach Samoa, and found themselves simultaneously journeying the distance to a greater understanding of island communities. As participants remarked time and time again, the Samoan people and government put on an impressive and impeccable show; every colorful detail was carried out with care. Samoa and its island neighbors showcased their unique cultures, histories and abilities, from the hopeful melody of the conference theme song and artistic talents of Samoan youth on display, to the arrival of the traditional Hōkūle’a and Hikianalia Polynesian voyaging canoes that sailed all the way from Hawai’i. But alongside their unique cultures, SIDS were also determined that their opinions and calls to action should be heard and experienced.
This brief analysis explores how SIDS seized the opportunities of the Samoa conference to forge new partnerships, and the challenges they face in attempting to navigate their way on the global journey ahead.
Taliu a e popoʻe.
- One Who Is Afraid at Sea Bails Out the Canoe
Twenty years ago in Barbados, and eleven years later in Mauritius, SIDS captured attention when the international community recognized that a holistic vision of sustainable development was needed to counter threats to SIDS’ very existence and wellbeing. At both of these conferences, Member States realized that courage and cooperation was needed to build up, rather than bail out, the SIDS canoe of prosperity.
However, SIDS came to Samoa focused on their vital, though different, needs for sustainable development. With dire health issues, especially non-communicable diseases, depleting fish stocks and deteriorating ocean conditions, lack of access to assistance due to graduation from LDC status, and high levels of unemployment and national debt, SIDS face numerous social, environmental and economic roadblocks, in addition to climate change, hindering their efforts to develop.
But many of the calls for immediate action have gone largely unanswered, and SIDS must now tackle the realities that a changing climate poses to their development. Given recent catastrophic weather events, disaster risk reduction and preparedness was, appropriately, a central topic of discussion in Samoa, although some felt the controversial topic of climate-induced migration deserved more attention. While many of these issues have been on the agenda for at least twenty years, the time remaining for islands to prepare or adapt is running out. One group of countries, specifically low-lying atoll nations, is already feeling the devastating impacts of climate change, and cannot afford to wait for the world to take action. As President Anote Tong of Kiribati implored to his fellow delegates, “How many more COPs will it take to see global action on climate change? For us on the front line, it is already too late.”
ʻO le fogavaʻa e tasi.
– We are One Family.
Looking for the urgent implementation of past commitments, rather than sweeping new political agreements, SIDS made the decision to focus the Third International Conference on SIDS on building partnerships. Attempting to put “meat on the bones” of the two previous international conferences and on the SAMOA Pathway itself, the emphasis in Samoa was to incentivize governments and stakeholders to bring new initiatives to the table instead of new text. In fact, with no textual negotiations to steal the attention, the multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues became the central focus of the conference, and 297 partnerships were recorded by its close. Wu Hongbo, Secretary-General of the Conference, remarked that never before had this call for concrete actions been so well integrated into a UN conference, stating that “it is the template of the future.”
Although some feared that a lack of high-stake negotiations in Samoa would detract from the importance of or attention given to the conference, island nations seized upon the relaxed atmosphere to present a more positive narrative for their development. Showcasing themselves as models for renewable energy development and energy efficiency, information and communication technologies, and biodiversity conservation, they were able to engage partners on these issues by touting high returns on investment. The need for partnerships between SIDS was highlighted extensively, with work of the Global Island Partnership and SIDS-DOCK driving these efforts forward, as well as initiatives at the local level, such as a new partnership to promote the use of traditional knowledge in resource management in the Pacific islands. The strong presence of civil society, the private sector and the international community across the conference and its multi-sectoral forums illustrated the recognition that partnerships with all stakeholders and actors, including at the local and community levels, is required.
While the announcement of so many commitments and pledges was energizing, whether or not they will be successfully and promptly implemented in the future remains to be seen. As one delegate put it, the process from project gestation to implementation is “tortuously long and laborious.” As the traditional body for following-up on the SIDS conferences, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, held its final meeting in 2013 and the new review process for the SIDS process is yet to be agreed, the accountability of these pledged partnerships and initiatives is murky. However, the SAMOA Pathway document does offer a few options in an UN-housed online platform, a mandated report of the Secretary-General to the 69th Session of the General Assembly on a potential partnership framework, and a call for the High Level Political Forum to devote adequate time to SIDS. But, concrete follow-up on the US$1.9 billion in pledges made in Samoa is still a distant goal given the uncertainty over details of the specific review mechanism.
When asked about prioritizing partnerships as the central theme of the conference, Permanent Representative Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia of Samoa had a simple answer: “Partnership is not a blame game, but a way to correct mistakes and share in success together,” he said, “We will always say thank you to our partners first.”
E tuai tuai, ta te maʻona ai.
- It Is a Very Long Time Coming, but it Will Be Satisfying.
The Third International SIDS Conference came at an important time for SIDS to assert their needs and priorities on the world stage, and to finally inspire new actions on long-term challenges. In Samoa, SIDS strongly reaffirmed their categorization as a special group in need of special attention, but also showcased new leadership in presenting island partnership opportunities as exciting, valuable opportunities for the global community.
This is important, especially as the world coalesces around multiple processes and negotiations in 2015 that will have dramatic consequences for small islands— the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, the Third Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda in New York, US, and the UNFCCC climate change negotiations set to adopt a new agreement in Paris, France. In their statements throughout the week, many island countries expressed hope that they can “seize the moment” to build on the outcome and momentum from Samoa to fight for their priorities on the world stage. If not, some SIDS worried that the outcome of the 2014 Conference risks becoming overshadowed by the multitude of high-profile meetings to come.
The first test will be at the next big gathering of Heads of State and Government, the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit later this month, which will take the Samoan model a step further by focusing solely on the launch of new climate initiatives, partnerships, and national commitments ahead of COP 21 in Paris. SIDS called on their global partners to show up in full force at the Summit, and pledge actions building on the momentum started in Samoa. Some countries have responded to the link between commitments to SIDS and strong climate efforts, because, as the US remarked in plenary, “the best thing that we can do for our island partners is reduce our emissions at home.” Nevertheless, the difficult climate negotiations in the year and a half ahead threaten to drown out any pledges made in Samoa.
The negotiation of the post-2015 development agenda also offers a unique opportunity for SIDS to carry forward the weight of commitments made in Samoa to a larger scale and lay the groundwork for the means of implementation of new development goals, with innovative new partnerships driving forward progress. Or, will the lack of a coherent review mechanism for SIDS partnerships also plague the international development negotiations? There is much to be worked out in the year ahead.
If one thing is certain, it is that the people and the Government of Samoa were able to bring the international community to its shores in a historic fashion. “Only by making the trip over can you appreciate our reality,” said one SIDS delegate. And that reality, while it is one of trepidation and unease for the storms to come, is also one of colorful promise in island communities. The voices of the SIDS rose up in Samoa, making it clear that they would not be underestimated by their “small” or “developing” status. These islands, now connected to the world like never before, may also be its leader in the years to come. As their ships explored the world in ancient times with the stars and waves as guides, so now do the SIDS hope to lead their people and partners in a new direction.
UNGA Stock-Taking Exercise on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: The President of the UN General Assembly, John Ashe, will convene this stock-taking exercise to pull together events on the post-2015 development agenda. dates: 10-11 September 2014 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: Office of the President of the UNGA www: http://www.un.org/en/ga/info/meetings/68schedule.shtml
69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly: The 69th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 69) will convene at UN Headquarters on Tuesday, 16 September 2014. The General Debate will open on Wednesday, 24 September 2014. dates: 16 September – December 2014 location: UN Headquarters, New York www: http://www.un.org/en/ga/
World Conference on Indigenous Peoples: The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples 2014 will be organized as a high-level plenary meeting of the 69th session of the UNGA and supported by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples and to pursue the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. dates: 22-23 September 2014 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: Office of the President of the General Assembly phone: +1 212-963-8379 email: http://www.un.org/en/ga/69/meetings/indigenous/contact.asp www: http://wcip2014.org/
Special Session of the General Assembly on the follow-up to the Programme of Action of the ICPD: An eight-hour Special Session to Follow Up on the Programme of Action from the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) is being organized to coincide with the high-level segment of the general debate at the UNGA. date: 22 September 2014 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: Mandy Kibel, UNFPA phone: +1-212-297-5293 email: k[email protected] www: http://icpdbeyond2014.org/
UN Climate Summit: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will convene the Summit with the aim of mobilizing political will for a universal and legally-binding comprehensive climate agreement in 2015. date: 23 September 2014 location: UN Headquarters, New York www: http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit2014/
Sustainable Ocean Initiative Global Partnership Meeting: The Sustainable Ocean Initiative is a global partnership to enhance capacity to achieve the marine and coastal biodiversity-related Aichi Targets. The Global Partnership Meeting will take place in October 2014. dates: 3-4 October 2014 location: Seoul, Republic of Korea contact: CBD Secretariat phone: +1-514-288-2220 fax: +1-514-288- 6588 email: [email protected] www: http://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=SOIOM-2014-01
2014 Annual Meetings of World Bank and IMF: The 2014 Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness. dates: 10-12 October 2014 location: World Bank Headquarters, Washington, D.C. phone: +1-202-623-0648 fax: +1-202-623-4100 email: [email protected] www: http://www.imf.org/external/am/2014/index.htm
World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development: The 2014 Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) World Conference will address, inter alia, how ESD can help move sustainable development policy and action forward to meet different global, regional, national, and local needs. dates: 10-12 November 2014 location: Nagoya, Japan contact: Secretariat of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, UNESCO phone: +33-1-45-68-15-89 fax: +33-1-45-68-56-26 email: [email protected] www: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco-world-conference-on-esd-2014/
UNFCCC COP 20 and CMP 10: The 20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 20) to the UNFCCC, the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (CMP 10) to the Kyoto Protocol and subsidiary bodies will take place in Lima, Peru. dates: 1-12 December 2014 location: Lima, Peru contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-1000 fax: +49-228-815-1999 email: [email protected] www: http://unfccc.int
Third UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction: The WCDR will be hosted by the Government of Japan and organized by the UNISDR, and is expected to agree on a post-2015 framework for DRR. dates: 14-18 March 2015 location: Sendai, Japan contact: Elena Dokhlik, UNISDR phone: +41-2291-78861 fax: +41-2291-39531 email: [email protected] www: http://www.wcdrr.org/
Third International Conference on Financing for Development: The Third International Conference on Financing for Development will be held in July 2015. dates: 13-16 July 2015 location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia contact: UN Financing for Development Office phone:+1-212-963-8379 fax: +1-212-963-0443 email: [email protected] www: www.un.org/esa/ffd
UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 Development Agenda: The United Nations Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda was mandated by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2013 (Resolution 68/6). dates: 21-23 September 2015 (tentative) location: UN Headquarters, New York www: http://bit.ly/1lplEtr
For additional meetings, see http://post2015.iisd.org/