Expert voices Vol 22, No. 11 - November 2018

Building strong and lasting partnerships, key to achieve the SAMOA Pathway

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a distinct group of countries that face specific vulnerabilities and particular challenges. The SAMOA Pathway is their 10-year plan for improving sustainable development, and partnerships play a key role. The Samoa Partnership Dialogue, held on 29 October 2018 ahead of the Inter-regional Preparatory Meeting for the Mid-term Review of the SAMOA Pathway, allowed SIDS and other stakeholders to forge new partnerships. UN DESA Voice spoke to Ola Goransson, who led the Samoa Partnership Dialogues for UN DESA, about how genuine and durable partnerships are a crucial component for achieving the SAMOA Pathway.

Partnerships play a key role in the SAMOA Pathway. Four years since its adoption, what are some new and innovative partnerships you’ve seen from SIDS countries?

“There have been many exciting new partnerships since the adoption of the SAMOA Pathway, which encompass all of the priority areas SIDS countries put forward. Some new directions include national transitions towards green and blue economies and projects that amplify women’s voices. There are also youth-related partnerships in each of the regions, addressing issues specific to their challenges. We’re also seeing some interesting private sector collaborations on renewable energy, transport and re-purposing plastic waste collected from beaches, such as athletic shoes.”

How are SIDS partnerships different from other partnerships?

“SIDS incorporate large swaths of ocean and relatively small land areas. They are also very vulnerable to climate change, particularly given the small land area that may limit options for adaptation. At the same time, SIDS are resilient, and also have many home-grown approaches to coping with extreme weather and managing their natural resources. There is strong collaboration between the SIDS regions on many issues, and this provides an opportunity for regions to learn from each other.”

What resources do SIDS need to build strong, long-lasting partnerships?

“Building genuine and durable partnerships is a learning process. There are a many challenges to working with a broad set of stakeholders in different communities, and often on different islands. Partnerships need to agree on common goals, build trust between partners, and maintain communications between all partners, stakeholders and beneficiaries. There also needs to be a good review and monitoring process.”

What’s next for SIDS partnerships?

“There will likely be new efforts to address some of the SAMOA Pathway priority areas that have thus far been under-represented, like poverty, inequality, trade, and sustainable transportation. Sustainable transportation both within and between countries is a challenge, particularly for those living on remote islands.

Sourcing innovative development finance for SIDS is both a priority, and an area that has not seen previous partnerships. So this may be another area of further focus.

In support of the the mid-term review of the SAMOA Pathway, the co-chairs of the Steering Committee on Partnerships SIDS, Belize and Ireland, have just developed a set of SIDS Partnership Criteria and Norms, which will help countries build lasting partnerships. Also, UN DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development Goals is collecting best practices from SIDS partnerships, and developing online learning materials on how to build effective, genuine and durable partnerships in SIDS.”

Photo: Asian Development Bank

For more information:

Strengthening the capacity in developing, monitoring and reviewing durable Partnerships for Small Island Developing States

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