Mr. Eliott Harris Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist

Opening Statement
at the
2018 Global Multi-Stakeholder Small Island Developing States Partnership Dialogue

Your Excellency, Ms. Young
Permanent Representative of Belize to the United Nations,
Your Excellency Mrs. Byrne Nason
Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations,
Your Excellency, Mr. Thomson
Special Envoy for the Ocean,
Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu
High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked
Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to address you at this third annual Global Multi-stakeholder Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Partnership Dialogue.

Today’s event is a wonderful opportunity to showcase efforts to strengthen multi-stakeholder partnerships in support of the SAMOA Pathway.

I thank the co-chairs of the Steering Committee on SIDS Partnerships – Belize and Ireland, for their leadership.

I also extend my appreciation to the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS) for their advocacy role and active collaboration with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), in organizing this important event.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The SIDS Partnership Framework, of which this meeting is an integral part, is a key outcome of the SAMOA Pathway, the blueprint for achieving sustainable development in SIDS. The Framework, and the Steering Committee, were formed to follow-up on sustainable development commitments, including through partnerships, best practices, and identifying challenges to full implementation.

The Steering Committee itself represents a truly global partnership. It is open to all Member States and members of the specialized agencies, as well as the United Nations System and other stakeholders.

Such an arrangement can serve as an inspiring model for maintaining momentum and accountability for partnerships and voluntary commitments that have been forged in other United Nations processes as well.


As we all know, next year will be five years since member States came together and adopted the SAMOA Pathway.

A robust process for preparing for the 2019 mid-term high-level review of the SAMOA Pathway, with strong support from the DESA and OHRLLS, is already underway.

Member States have called upon the Secretariat to continue to enhance the necessary analytical and advocacy support for the work of the Steering Committee on SIDS Partnerships, and to ensure that the annual Global Multi-stakeholder Small Island Developing States Partnership Dialogue is action-oriented and results-focused.

In response to this call, with generous funding from the Government of Italy and under the overall guidance of the Steering Committee on SIDS Partnerships, DESA is undertaking a capacity development project to support the work of the SIDS Partnership Framework and the preparatory process related to the SAMOA Pathway mid-term review.

The overarching goal of the project is to increase the capacity of all stakeholders in forging new, genuine and durable multi-stakeholder partnerships to help drive implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA Pathway, and strengthen the monitoring and review of partnerships in SIDS.

The project features a broad consultative process with relevant stakeholders in SIDS. It includes a series of partnership dialogues organized in the margins of the regional SAMOA pathway mid-term review preparatory meetings.

The project is expected to result in an in-depth analysis of existing SIDS partnerships, a strengthened process for monitoring of SIDS partnerships at the national, regional and global levels, and an increased capacity of stakeholders to develop durable multi-stakeholder partnerships for SIDS.

As part of this project, the Secretariat has prepared an advance study of the status of partnerships that were launched at the SIDS Conference. It was presented to all member States during the May meeting of the Steering Committee, and now available online.

The next regional partnership dialogue will be held in Belize next month, on 6 August, as part of the Caribbean Regional Preparatory Meeting.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The 2030 Agenda calls for special attention be given to SIDS, as they face unique vulnerabilities in their pursuit of sustainable development.

Member States have agreed that partnerships are critical to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The ambition and breadth of the Sustainable Development Goals make them simply unattainable without robust and durable partnerships.

DESA stands ready to continue its support of the SIDS Partnership Framework, and places great importance on the role of partnerships in driving implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in SIDS, and indeed in all countries.

I wish you all an inspiring exchange.

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