The Second Meeting of the Steering Committee on Partnerships for Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
The second meeting of the Steering Committee on Partnerships for SIDS was held on 20 June 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York. The meeting was facilitated by the Co-Chairs of the Steering Committee, Permanent Representative of Maldives, Ambassador Sareer, and Permanent Representative of Italy, Ambassador Cardi. The Under-Secretary-General of UN-DESA, Mr. Wu Hongbo, and the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for UN-OHRLLS, Mr. Gyan Acharya, were also present and made remarks at the opening session.
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(L-R) The Under-Secretary-General of UN-DESA, Mr. Wu Hongbo, and the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for UN-OHRLLS, Mr. Gyan Acharya, and Permanent Representative of Maldives, Ambassador Sareer greet before the session starts

Photo credit: UN-DESA
The Steering Committee discussed the organization of a stocktaking event on SIDS Partnerships during the High-Level Political Forum 2016 and the first Global Multi-Stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue in September this year. UN-DESA presented the Online Partnerships Platform and the reporting template, and updated the status of registration of partnerships.

In the opening, Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) noted that he is inspired and encouraged to see the progress made under the leadership of the Co-Chairs. He stated that this joint effort is a testimonial to the spirit of the Samoa Conference itself: working together in genuine partnerships. The USG highlighted that the SIDS Action Platform has been updated and that it is important for all stakeholders to stay engaged with this work, to report on partnerships, and to register new partnerships for the sustainable development of SIDS.

Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing State (UN-OHRLLS) emphasized the importance of participation of stakeholders including private sector for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA Pathway. UN-OHRLLS will continue promoting the SIDS Global Business Network as a platform through which both global and SIDS private sector can enter into partnerships that promote sustainable development in SIDS.

Mr. Ola Göransson, Division for Sustainable Development, UN-DESA, made a presentation on the overview of the SIDS Action Platform including the reporting template and the status of registration of partnerships. The Platform includes search and filter functions for finding partnerships, as well as reporting template that requires each partnership to fill-in and submit once a year. Currently, 298 SIDS partnerships are registered on the Platform. Total of 54 partnerships have reported since 2014, out of which 15 partnerships have submitted reports through the template.

Ambassador Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations, said that the global multi-stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue is intended to provide opportunities for reviewing progress made by existing partnerships, including where applicable, inputs from regional and national partnership dialogues, and for the sharing of good practices, lessons learned and challenges and solutions from the SIDS Partnerships. Ambassador Sareer also announced that the first publication on Partnerships for SIDS will be launched. This publication will look at existing partnerships for SIDS, and how they are making an impact on the ground and helping to achieve the SAMOA Pathway.

Most delegations were in favour of organizing the two events coming up this year – the Stocktaking session at the Partnership Exchange during the HLPF, and the Global Multi-stakeholder SIDS partnership Dialogue in September. Most participants noted that both events should celebrate the importance of the partnerships for the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and showcase the successful stories and share experiences and lessons learnt. Many delegations supported the idea of the interactive panel discussion that provides an opportunity for partnerships to share progress made and lessons learnt.

On the Global Multi-stakeholder SIDS partnership Dialogue, some delegations said that the date and time of the Dialogue should be considered carefully and announced well in advance to ensure the participation of senior officials from the capitals. Some participants noted that the global dialogue should recognize new partnerships. One delegation said that the dialogue should be more strategic discussions for the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway. Another speaker proposed the possible theme - "leave no one behind". Views from other delegations include the importance of the linkages to the Humanitarian Summit and Sendai Framework, and the crucial role that high-level political sub-regional fora can play in the raising awareness of SIDS partnership dialogue and for sharing experiences amongst SIDS. One participant highlighted the need for bringing various sources of information together and for ensuring coherence amongst activities conducted by UN agencies.

Many delegations expressed their appreciation for the establishment of the online reporting template while the view was also expressed that such online tools can have their limitations as well, particularly for some SIDS. One delegation noted that the reporting process should include perspectives from beneficiaries and suggested the need to identify national SIDS focal points, similar to the Least Developed Country (LDC) focal points that could assist with follow up and review of the partnerships and also SAMOA pathway in general.
Copyright 2016 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs