Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Permanent Representative of Maldives, Ambassador Sareer, and myself, I am honored to open this session of the Partnership Exchange that will be devoted to discussing the partnership framework for Small Island Developing States.
You may wonder why Italy and Maldives are chairing this event. The reason is simple: last February, the President of the General Assembly appointed us to be Co-chairs of the Steering Committee on SIDS Partnerships, established pursuant to Resolution 70/202 on the follow-up to the Samoa Pathway.
The Committee is part of the SIDS Partnership Framework that the Resolution has established to follow up on the partnerships announced in Samoa at the Third International Conference on SIDS, as well as to encourage new partnerships.
In addition to the establishment of the Committee, the SIDS Partnerships Framework also includes the organization of an annual Global Multi-stakeholder SIDS Partnership Dialogue, as an occasion for sharing good practices, lessons learned and challenges and solutions from SIDS Partnerships, and the development of a standardized partnership reporting template for the registration of SIDS partnerships.
The Steering Committee was formed to monitor sustainable development commitments, showcase best practices, and identify new challenges to full implementation. It is truly a global partnership, open to all UN Member States and members of the specialized agencies.
Italy is proud to be the first SIDS partner to be appointed co-chair of this historic committee. We consider it a tribute to our long relationship with SIDS and to the importance we attach to the challenges and vulnerabilities of small island developing Countries. Being a country surrounded for more than 2/3 by the sea, we know many of those challenges very well. We know that the sea is a source of life, prosperity, culture and communication but that it can also be a cause of threat, isolation, poverty, and this is of course accentuated for small states.
We are also very proud to have created, starting with Pacific SIDS and then expanding to the others, a long-lasting model of partnership almost ten years ago – well before the Samoa Conference – that is still considered a virtuous example of cooperation, based on collective decision-making, mutual trust and ownership of recipient countries. Indeed an example of the genuine, durable partnerships that the Samoa Conference has been promoting since 2014.
It has been almost two years since the international community came together at the Samoa Conference, pledging its support for the sustainable development of SIDS, and announcing a range of partnerships dedicated to the sustainable development of SIDS. Many partnerships have had a positive impact on the communities they serve, proving that genuine, durable partnerships can and do work.
Our task today is to take stock of the progress made by these partnerships since 2014. We hope that today’s event will provide an opportunity to review the progress of existing partnerships, and to share best practices, lessons learned and the challenges of implementation. We thought that the best way to proceed would be to identify some examples and inquire as to the specific successes, setbacks and best practices. But we also hope to be hearing from other partnerships in the audience. This is what my distinguished colleague Ambassador Sareer will be doing shortly.
Before giving him the floor, allow me to mention a few general figures on SIDS partnerships, based on the SIDS Action Platform (of which you should see the link on the screen).
There are currently 300 partnerships registered on the SIDS Action Platform. The SIDS Action Platform allows us to view partnerships by SAMOA Pathway priority areas, and the SDGs. We can also view partnerships by country, and by partners. This allows us to compare and contrast and analyse where more partnerships are needed.
A total of 98 partnership updates in various forms have been provided to the UN Secretariat since 2014. Since the launch of the online partnership reporting template in mid-May 2016, 32 progress reports have been submitted (through the template) to date.
If we look at the areas where partnerships have been established, among the 19 designated as priorities by the Samoa Conference, we can see that the main sectors are climate change, disaster-risk reduction, sustainable energy, and Oceans and Seas. Only a limited number of partnerships has been established in the field of promoting sustainable transport, monitoring and accountability, fighting invasive species, and fostering sustainable consumption and production. We would therefore like to encourage partnerships in these sectors and would be very happy to be able to announce them at an event that we plan to organize next September.
Let’s move now to the exam of three concrete examples of partnerships. I am happy to give the floor to Ambassador Sareer and I take this opportunity to thank him for the effective and sincere cooperation we enjoy. A genuine and durable partnership indeed!