High-Level Political Forum session on Making the 2030 Agenda deliver for SIDS, building on the SAMOA Pathway
The High-Level Political Forum session on Making the 2030 Agenda deliver for SIDS, building on the SAMOA Pathway was held on 14 July 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York. The session was moderated by Ms. H. Elizabeth Thompson, Former UN Assistant Secretary General and Executive Coordinator for Rio+20, and former Minister for Energy and Environment of Barbados, with discussions focused on the linkages and synergies between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SAMOA Pathway to strengthening the resilience of SIDS and to achieve their sustainable development..
For SIDS, climate change is possibly the most important and pivotal to anything that we could ever achieve. If we cannot deal with climate change, the rest of the SDGs would be meaningless.

Mr. Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati

If you focus on energy, you can touch on several different things at the same time – you can increase energy efficiency, you can reduce the cost of energy to drive your economy.

Dr. David Smith, Coordinator, the University of Consortium for Small Island States, and the Institute for Sustainable Development, the University of the West Indies

SDGs has an opportunity for all to do better.

Ms. Justina Langidrik, Chief Secretary, the Republic of the Marshall Islands

To foster implementation, we need commitment and political leadership at the highest levels in islands.

Ms. Kate Brown, Executive Director, Global Island Partnership

Mr. Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati, emphasised that SIDS are at the frontline of adverse impact of climate change, which continues to threat survival of SIDS. Mr. Tong stressed that if we as a global community were to ignore the reality of what climate change will do to SIDS, all of our global efforts to progress towards the other 16 of the SDG’s would have been wasted. He called for behavioural transformation of mind-sets and a paradigm shift in how we look at sustainable development.

Dr. David Smith, Coordinator, the University of Consortium for Small Island States, and the Institute for Sustainable Development, the University of the West Indies explained the interlinkages between the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Agenda. He emphasised that green economy and sustainable energy could be effective areas to drive economy and have multiple benefits. Goal 14 is also important particularly because of rapid coral reef bleaching. Dr. Smith stressed the need of engaging private sector and civil society, building human capital through education and training, and mainstreaming science and technology into policy.

Ms. Justina Langidrik, Chief Secretary, the Republic of the Marshall Islands highlighted that the SAMOA Pathway is an overview of SIDS sustainable development priorities, but it lacks the structure and indicators that the 2030 Agenda has. Ms. Langidrik stressed the need to harmonize all and to make sure that the SDGs and the SAMOA Pathway are concrete tools for sustainable development. The Chief Secretary emphasised the importance of national approaches to be tailored to the diverse setting of each country and the need to encourage private investment.

Ms. Kate Brown, Executive Director, Global Island Partnership emphasised the importance of robust partnerships and the commitment and political leadership at high-level are essential. Ms. Brown noted that lack of resources remains challenging, thus, need to look at innovative financing including from private sector and domestic resources.

In the open discussion, most delegations noted the importance of implementing the SDGs in tandem with the SAMOA Pathway and mobilising necessary resources. Many of the priorities of SIDS are reflected in the 2030 Agenda, including poverty eradication, economic growth, social development, climate change, food security and nutrition, and oceans and seas. Many delegations highlighted that access to financing remains a challenge in SIDS, and the adverse impact of climate change including natural disasters impede SIDS’ effort for sustainable development. Strengthening partnerships and capacity building on data and statistics were noted as critical drivers for successful implementation of the outcome documents.

Ms. H. Elizabeth Thompson, Former UN Assistant Secretary General and Executive Coordinator for Rio+20, and former Minister for Energy and Environment of Barbados, moderates the session.

Full video of the session can be found at UN Web TV

Copyright 2016 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs