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Mr. Wu’s Blog on Genuine and Durable Partnerships
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  • By UN-DESA on 1 Sep 2014
1 Sep 2014 - As preparations advance for the SIDS Conference in Samoa, there is growing interest in partnership initiatives. Some 300 have been registered so far on the Conference website, covering the following priority areas: (i) Sustainable Economic Development; (ii) Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management; (iii) Social Development in SIDS, Health and NCDs, Youth and Women; (iv) Sustainable Energy; (v) Oceans, Seas, and Biodiversity; and (vi) Water and Sanitation, Food Security, and Waste Management.

These priority areas are very much in line with those emphasized in the draft outcome document “SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action [S.A.M.O.A.] Pathway”, which the Preparatory Committee has decided to recommend to the SIDS Conference in Samoa for adoption next month.

Clearly, partnerships have figured prominently in the preparatory processes for the SIDS Conference and will be a major highlight of the Conference. Indeed, as decided by the UN General Assembly, the overarching theme of the Conference is "The sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships". In this context, the General Assembly decided to organize six Multi-stakeholder Partnership Dialogues during the SIDS Conference, in parallel with the plenary meetings. The Dialogues will provide an opportunity for: (i) Recognising successful partnerships and initiatives in support of SIDS; (ii) Launching innovative and concrete SIDS–specific partnerships to support the advancement of the sustainable development of SIDS; and (iii) Organizing interactive and focused discussions on key priorities of SIDS.

While the United Nations has consistently emphasized the important roles partnerships play in advancing sustainable development, this is in fact the first time that partnerships are featured as the overarching theme of a major UN conference and discussed in multi-stakeholder dialogue sessions as an integral part of the official proceedings. I think this emphasis originates to a significant extent from the experiences and development trajectories followed by the SIDS in recent decades.

While the United Nations has consistently emphasized the important roles partnerships play in advancing sustainable development, this is in fact the first time that partnerships are featured as the overarching theme of a major UN conference and discussed in multi-stakeholder dialogue sessions as an integral part of the official proceedings.

Wu Hongbo
UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General & Secretary-General for the Third International Conference on SIDS

As I have pointed out on several occasions, where SIDS have made progress in achieving MDGs and advancing sustainable development, they have done so in close partnership with the international community, through North-South, South-South and SIDS-SIDS cooperation. Likewise, where SIDS remain confronted by a range of challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, ocean degradation, increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters, among others, SIDS will continue to rely on international support. On their own, SIDS will not be able to tackle these cross-boundary global challenges, some of which are not of their making.

That is why at Rio+20, Member States noted with concern that SIDS had made less progress in sustainable development than most other groupings. If we are to achieve the vision of a sustainable future – a future we all want – we will need to work together in partnership.

The SIDS Conference offers a timely opportunity. Let us seize this opportunity and launch genuine, concrete, and durable partnership initiatives in Apia, Samoa, following the SMART criteria (SIDS-SPECIFIC; MEASURABLE & MONITORABLE; ACHIEVABLE & ACCOUNTABLE; RESOURCE-BASED & RESULTS FOCUSED, with TIMELINES for Implementation & TRANSPARENCY by ALL PARTIES).

In supporting the sustainable development of SIDS, we are striving for a global sustainable future for all.