Partnering with islands for a sustainable world

Exploring ways to build high-impact and sustainable partnerships with small island developing States will be one of the main focus points for countries gathered at United Nations Headquarters this week for the Preparatory Committee meeting ahead of the Organization’s Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in September.

“We have an opportunity to establish genuine and durable partnerships that will create innovative solutions that can bring us closer to a sustainable future,” said the Conference’s Secretary-General, Wu Hongbo, who is also UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General.

“These partnerships can serve as a model to address pressing issues that affect not just small islands developing states, but many of which are already having an impact all over the world.”

While small island nations face unique circumstances and vulnerabilities such as extreme weather conditions and isolation, they are also at the forefront of finding innovative solutions to global challenges like climate change, access to energy and environmental degradation.

“These partnerships can serve as a model to address pressing issues that affect not just small islands developing states, but many of which are already having an impact all over the world”

Wu Hongbo
Conference Secretary-General

The conference, which will be held on 1-4 September in Apia, Samoa, seeks to galvanize partnerships for action on these issues as well as oceans, sustainable economic development, sustainable tourism, disaster risk reduction, and women and youth.

Over the next five days, Member States will also seek to finish the conference’s draft outcome document, which outlines the main challenges and priorities for small island developing states. Countries will send government experts from their capitals to take part in the negotiations and ensure that the document represents the diversity of national perspectives.

The Preparatory Committee meeting is the final opportunity for Member States and other stakeholders to gather before the conference, where they will negotiate the final elements of the outcome document.

“The international conference in Samoa will be a major milestone for small island developing states, but it will also be an important part of the post-2015 development agenda,” Mr. Wu said. “I am confident that this last part of the preparatory process will lead us to a successful conference where new and concrete partnerships will be created, that will lead the way to a more sustainable future for all.”

The Conference in September will provide world leaders a first-hand opportunity to experience the climate and poverty challenges of small islands and will result in the announcement of over 200 concrete partnerships for lifting islanders out of poverty and braving challenges such as rising sea levels, overfishing, and typhoons and tsunamis.

Mr. Wu held a press briefing on the first day of negotiations with the Permanent Representative of Samoa to the United Nations, Mr. Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia. There will also be a number of side events taking place, including an event on private sector partnerships in support of small island developing states’ sustainable development, organized by the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

On 25 June, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Mauritius Ministry for Environment will hold an event on ‘Small Island Developing States for Sustainable Consumption and Production: re-thinking food and tourism,’ and the Initiative for an International Renewable Energy Agency will host an event entitled, ‘Small Island Developing States – Lighthouses for a transition to a sustainable energy future.’

On 26 June, an event looking at the three top recommendations for the post-2015 agenda from the perspective of small islands will be organized by the UN Development Programme, on behalf of the UN Development Group.

In addition, a photo exhibition will be held throughout the week on the first floor of the Secretariat building, featuring photos submitted by islanders through social media. To view all submissions visit:

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