Opening remarks Steering Committee on Partnerships for Small Island Developing States Ambassadorial Meeting

Distinguished Co-chairs,
The High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, Ms. Fekita ‘Utoikamanu,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to be with you this afternoon. This is the first in-person meeting of the Steering Committee since the advent of the COVID-19 Pandemic. I acknowledge and thank the Co-chairs for their efforts, in bringing back a sense of normalcy to our work. 

Even though the pandemic has largely been brought under control in New York, in many countries around the world – including in some SIDS – the pandemic is still raging. It is bringing unprecedented challenges and growing uncertainty to their prospects of sustainable development. 
The prolonged closure of borders, growing unemployment and reduction in revenues from tourism and remittances, are presenting, in many SIDS, a real danger that these challenges could derail their implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA Pathway.

The SAMOA Pathway provides a structure to lead us out of the present difficulties, and to fundamentally alter the trajectory of SIDS national development towards more diversified economies. A few sectors that are ripe to lead the way, include:

  • the global services sector, 
  • the creative industries, and 
  • the green and blue economies. 

These sectors are also ripe for fostering the types of genuine and durable partnerships that could be attractive to investors in SIDS economies – if backed up by the enabling business environment.


Partnerships are the key to achieving transformation. They can greatly assist in generating the magnitude of resources needed for implementing bold resilience building reforms. Wherever possible, new partnerships must be encouraged. The previous development gains must not be eroded. We must ensure that implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SAMOA Pathway are not hindered because of the pandemic.

Dear Colleagues,

    I am pleased to announce that I have set up a SIDS Task Team in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN DESA, to develop our Strategy of Support to SIDS. This will be the first time – since the adoption of the Barbados Programme of Action in 1994 – that the Department will have a SIDS Strategy to guide its support to SIDS, in a holistic and synergistic approach.


Before I conclude, I take this moment to acknowledge and thank, the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, Ms. Fekita ‘Utoikamanu for her services. I believe that this would be her final meeting with the Steering Committee, in her present role. Under her leadership, the two SIDS Units of UN DESA and OHRLLS have grown closer together, as secretariat, in their support to SIDS, within their respective mandates, including support to the SIDS Partnerships Framework.

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

I am greatly encouraged by the Committee’s proposed 2021 programme of work. It is rich in activity and demonstrates a real willingness to advance the SIDS partnerships agenda. I am encouraged by the development, by the Co-chairs, of a SIDS Partnerships Awards Programme, which shows great potential in encouraging new partnerships. 

I am also pleased with the progress of the partnership’s accelerator projects being advanced by UN DESA. 

I encourage the Committee to consider the convening of regional and national partnerships dialogues, once it is safe to do so, under the SIDS Partnership Framework, in line with the SAMOA Pathway.

I wish the Committee a very fruitful discussion this afternoon.

I thank you.

File date: 
Friday, June 25, 2021

Mr. Liu