“Our purpose is to underscore once again the importance of the outcomes of the Conference, both the SAMOA pathway and the partnerships that were launched in Apia,” said Martin Sajdik, President of ECOSOC, at the opening of the informal stock-taking meeting on the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States on 1 October 2014 at UN Headquarters in New York.
The meeting focused on lessons learned and the way forward for implementation. “The SAMOA Pathway, as a well-crafted intergovernmental agreement that has the zeal and stamp of approval of the UN membership, is the blueprint for SIDS sustainable development for now and the immediate future,” said Aliioaiga Feturi Elisia, Samoa’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Conference outcomes and their implementation
Participants who took the floor commended the excellent preparation and running of the Conference and its successful outcomes. They called for concrete implementation of the SAMOA (SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action) Pathway and partnerships on SIDS, strengthening review and coordination within the UN system, and the consideration of the special needs and challenges faced by SIDS in the post-2015 development agenda.
In the course of the meeting, sustainable and inclusive economic development was described as the bedrock on which the future of all SIDS will be built. Empowerment of women and girls, promoting SIDS heritage and culture as a force of social cohesion, and addressing the scourge of non-communicable diseases were further topics reflected on.
The global nature of climate change and disaster risk management were emphasized, as was the need to find a global response. The importance of reaching an agreement on addressing climate change in Paris 2015 was highlighted. Sustainable energy, the health of oceans and the threat to water and food in SIDS were also raised in the course of the meeting.
UN DESA’s follow-up
“The success of the Conference will also be measured by its follow-up and its future impact on the sustainable development of SIDS” said Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General at UN DESA and Secretary-General of the Conference. He outlined a number of actions already initiated by his Department to this end:
- An implementation matrix mapping out the specific roles and tasks of UN system organizations in implementing the Conference outcomes is being prepared. A comprehensive review of UN system support to SIDS is also planned.
- The SIDS partnership platform has been expanded and adapted and will serve as a key tool for monitoring and reporting on progress toward implementation.
- The relevant Offices and Divisions in DESA have been directed to further strengthen DESA’s technical and capacity building support to SIDS. DESA’s ongoing collaboration with UN system organizations and with SIDS regional organisations will be intensified.
- As the Secretariat Department responsible for the substantive support to the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the High-level Political Forum, and the ongoing process for the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda and the Financing for Development Conference, DESA will support Member States as they incorporate SIDS priorities and aspirations in intergovernmental deliberations and decisions.
- DESA will also continue to provide annual reporting to the relevant bodies on progress in the implementation of the Barbados Programme of action, the Mauritius Strategy and the SAMOA Pathway.
“My Department is ready to do its part, both through its own advisory services, its normative and analytical work, and through its coordinating role in rallying UN system-wide support,” said Mr Wu.
“Samoa will never be the same again”
“Samoa will never be the same again,” said Ambassador Elisia at the end of the meeting, “because we invited 3000 delegates, and at the end we had to say good-bye to 3000 genuine friends and partners of Samoa.”
The stock-taking meeting was chaired by ECOSOC President Martin Sajdik and attended by the Under-Secretary-Generals of DESA and OHRLLS, the Permanent Representative of Samoa, Co-Chairs of the various partnerships dialogues of the SIDS Conference, other representatives of Member States, and Major Groups.