Small Island Developing States
The Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) adopted in 1994, further complemented by the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation (MSI) of 2005 and MSI+5 outcome document, recognized that although small island developing States (SIDS) are afflicted by economic difficulties and confronted by development imperatives similar to those of developing countries generally, they have their own peculiar vulnerabilities and characteristics.
SIDS’ unique and particular vulnerabilities are highlighted in “The Future We Want”, adopted at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20) that took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012, which reaffirmed that SIDS remain 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 to a large range of impacts from climate change and potentially more frequent and intense natural disasters (para 178). SIDS continue to address those structural and external challenges to achieve their sustainable development.
The Third International Conference on SIDS, was held in Apia, Samoa, in September 2014, with the overarching theme of “The sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships”. Nearly 300 partnerships were announced at the conference and monitored through the Partnership Framework. The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action Pathway (SAMOA Pathway) adopted at the conference addresses priority areas for SIDS and calls for urgent actions and support for SIDS’ efforts to achieve their sustainable development. One of the key requests from the SAMOA Pathway was the establishment of the SIDS Partnership Framework, designed to monitor progress of existing, and stimulate the launch of new, genuine and durable partnerships for the sustainable development of SIDS. Nearly 300 multi-stakeholder partnerships, many of which include one or multiple UN entities, were announced at the conference and monitored through the Partnership Platform. Guided by a Member States driven Steering Committee, the framework is intended to ensure that SIDS partnerships remain high on the UN’s agenda.
In its resolution 68/238, paragraphs 5 and 22, the General Assembly reiterated its call for the strengthening of United Nations system support to SIDS, as well as for the Secretary-General to ensure inter-agency cooperation and effective participation and coherence within the United Nations system.
The need to review and enhance the effectiveness, coherence and coordination of the United Nations system support for SIDS has been recognized by the United Nations General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council in various resolutions.
CEB responded to such calls for SIDS related system-wide coordination in the preparation and follow-up to United Nations conferences and summits, by developing joint contributions and enhanced United Nations system-wide coherence in the implementation of agreed outcomes.
In particular, at its second regular session in November 2013, CEB decided to hold a high-level side event in support of the conference theme “the sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships”. The side event demonstrated what the United Nations system, working together, can tangibly contribute to the sustainable development of small island developing States. In 2014, leading up to the Conference, the HLCP considered how to best promote efforts to strengthen coherence among United Nations system activities in support of SIDS. Those proposals informed the Board’s discussions and shaped a CEB joint statement to the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, declaring the system’s resolve to provide coordinated programme support in those States, improve the coherence of interventions relating to those States among United Nations system entities, support resilience-building in those States and deliver genuine and durable partnership for sustainable development.
At the 2014 conference, the Board held a high-level side event on the theme, “The United Nations system partnering for the people of small island developing States”, featuring the Prime Minister of Samoa and 12 leaders from the United Nations system. It highlighted the tangible contribution of the system to the sustainable development of small island developing States and demonstrated how the agencies were working together with and for those States.
Most recently, at the 2019 SAMOA Pathway midterm review, the General Assembly called upon all entities of the United Nations system to address and integrate all small island developing states-related priorities into their respective strategic and workplans, as per resolution A/74/3.
CEB will continue encouraging inter-agency cooperation to fully implement the SAMOA Pathway through the actions of the organizations of the United Nations system, both individual and collective.