Expert Group Meeting on Moving from Vision to Implementation: Realising Sustainable Development in Small Island Developing States
The Expert Group Meeting on Moving from Vision to Implementation: Realising Sustainable Development in Small Island Developing States was held on 16 July 2016 in New York. The meeting was attended by 30 participants including SIDS delegations and regional organizations.

Photo credit: UN-DESA
Opening remarks were made by Ms. Mariyam Midhfa Naeem, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Maldives to the UN, Ms. Irena Zubcevic, Chief, SIDS, Oceans, Climate Branch, DESA, and Mr. Sandagdorj Erdenebileg, Chief, Policy Development, Coordination, Reporting Service, OHRLLS. The keynote speakers stressed that all 17 SDGs are relevant to SIDS, and 8 of them specifically mention SIDS. The speakers agreed that the year 2015 laid the groundwork for a transformative agenda, and now it is important to keep up the momentum. The key topics for SIDS discussion remain the position of SIDS in inter-governmental negotiations, opportunities for SIDS for collaboration in implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and 2030 Agenda, and the identification key advocacy opportunities.

During the session on the Implementing the 2030 Agenda and SAMOA Pathway, experts from UNDP and regional commissions made presentations on how the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have been mainstreamed into their programmes and strategies. UNDP conducted the mapping of the SAMOA Pathway to the 2030 Agenda and created a matrix that shows clear linkages between the two outcome documents. CARICOM is actively engaged in re-calibrating its existing development programmes to align them with the 2030 Agenda. Some of the achievements in the region include agreement on Common Fisheries Policy, Common Food and Nutrition Security Policy, Community Environment and Natural Resources Policy Framework, regional Declaration on Climate Change ahead of the Paris COP 21, and the recent Action Plan on Statistics for the CARICOM Region. Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat shared a number of good practices from the Pacific region. Some of the examples include their work to integrate and align the SDGs, the SAMOA Pathway, and the Framework for Pacific Regionalism into a roadmap, as well as identification of SDGs indicators which are particularly relevant for the region.

In the session on UN Systemís support for SIDS, participants highlighted the importance of connecting the global level and the national level as the work at the global level is not always being translated into the national context. Some participants noted that bringing capital-based officials together and developing effective information sharing mechanisms would help fill-in the gap between different levels. Many participants emphasised that there is a need for more regional exchanges and that the UN system should engage with other actors such as private sector.

On the way forward, participants suggested strengthening existing coordination mechanisms including Inter-agency Consultative Group on SIDS and linkage to the Steering Committee of the Partnership Framework. Participants also discussed the need for effective communication through national SIDS focal points, which could meet annually to share experiences and strengthen inter-regional cooperation. For effective implementation for SIDSí sustainable development, more structured and systematic peer-learning and inter-regional learning, as well as enhanced coordination at all levels were noted as crucial.

Copyright 2016 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs