Thematic review: Perspectives of Small Island Developing States including main findings from mid-term review of the SAMOA Pathway

The General Assembly has asked that the HLPF devote adequate time at its future meetings to continue to address the sustainable development challenges facing small island developing States (SIDS). In 2019, the SIDS session of HLPF will examine social development in SIDS, which is losing momentum in terms of efforts to improve human and social development with gender equality.

Progress on people’s well-being and enjoyment of their human rights are fundamental drivers of sustainable development. However, many SIDS, although in general ranked as medium and above on the Human Development Index prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), still face persistent challenges linked to poverty and inequality. These countries still need to improve the quality of, and access to health and education. Those are important goals in themselves, but also vital for building resilient societies. In addition, for some SIDS, youth unemployment is among the highest in the world. This is a serious challenge and limits the full human potential of all men and women and their access to equal opportunities.

Notwithstanding decades of progress on human development, many SIDS face growing poverty and income inequality, exacerbated by weak social protection systems, and patterns of migration that affect labor markets, and which is a principal cause of social exclusion affecting vulnerable and marginalized groups and communities. Social protection is an effective instrument for protecting against shocks, reducing inequality and promoting inclusive development. A final challenge in this area is insecurity and lack of safety: several SIDS are affected by high rates of crime and violence, including gender-based violence. This is both a brake on development and antithetical to building peaceful and prosperous societies.

Building resilience in SIDS will depend on meeting all the foregoing challenges. This will require comprehensive and integrated policies implemented across the three sustainable development pillars and increased support from and collaboration with the international community. In this regard development finance, including climate finance, the strengthening of well-established relationships with traditional partners, and the nurturing of newer and emerging relationships and partnerships in the context of South-South and triangular cooperation, are important vehicles through which development support might be secured.

This session will have an interactive discussion format, features resource persons and country representatives from across the three SIDS regions, who will share their approaches in addressing the social dimension of sustainable development, and high-level lead discussants.

Background note is available here

Proposed guiding questions:

  • Responding to the social vulnerabilities of SIDS demands an integrative, holistic approach to addressing these interdependent challenges. How can SIDS best respond to these challenges, particularly in light of the ongoing changes in the global community and weakened support from bilateral and multilateral partners?
  • What types policies and programmes and are needed at national and regional levels and in which priority sectors, to address social exclusion, reducing inequality and promoting inclusive development?
  • In order to meet the technical and financial requirements for implementing a new generation of integrated regional and national and sector development strategies and frameworks, SIDS will have to strengthen traditional partnerships and develop and consolidate new ones. What role can development partners play in this regard?

Chair:

  • H. E. Ms. Mona Juul, Vice President of ECOSOC

Keynote speaker:

  • Hon. Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Samoa

Moderator:

  • Ms. Emele Duituturaga, former Executive Director, Pacific Islands Association of Non Governmental Organisations (PIANGO)

Resource persons:

  • H.E Mr. Pat Breen T.D, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Ireland
  • H.E Mr. Douglass Slater,Assistant Secretary Gneral Human and Social Development, CARICOM Secretariat
  • H.E Ms. Yvonne Hyde, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum, Belize
  • Mr. Rakesh Bhuckory, Minister Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mauritius

Lead discussants:

  • Ms. Stacy Richards-Kennedy, Director, Office of Development, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Mr. Willy Missack, Pacific Climate Change Collaboration, Influencing and Learning (PACCCIL) project manager and the Vanuatu Climate Action Network (VCAN) and Vanuatu Humanitarian Team (VHT) Coordinator at Oxfam in Vanuatu (MGoS)
Followed by Interactive discussion

Concluding remarks:

  • Ms. Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Biographies
H.E. Mr. Douglas Slater
Assistant Secretary General Human and Social Development, CARICOM Secretariat
H.E. Mr. Douglas Slater

Assistant Secretary General Human and Social Development, CARICOM Secretariat

Dr. Douglas Wilbert Slater assumed the position of Assistant Secretary-General, Directorate of Human and Social Development of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat on 1 October 2013.

A national of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and a Medical Doctor by profession, Dr. Slater was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Consumer Affairs of St. Vincent and the Grenadines from 2010-2013. In that capacity, he also served as representative of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the ACP-EU Parliamentarians Group, and as alternate for the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance on the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Authorities.

Dr. Slater served as Minister of Health and the Environment, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and was the CARICOM Minister of Health designated to negotiate the regional approach with the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) during the establishment of the GF. He also served as Chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)/Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM). Dr. Slater was also honoured by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat as one of the CARICOM’s first Champion for Change.

As Minister of Environment, Dr. Slater was actively involved in the UN Climate Change and Sustainable Development negotiations at the political and technical levels; leading discussions on renewable energy as one of the critical factors for sustainable economic development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Region as a whole during 2001-2010.

Additionally, Dr. Slater was Chair of the Executive Committee of PAHO and was involved in discussions regarding the now established Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). He has participated in numerous regional conferences on public health issues and initiated and led the successful implementation of the managed migration of registered nurses.

Prior to these assignments, Dr. Slater was an Opposition Senator and Committee Member of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Political Party; actively involved in formulating policy issues including St. Vincent’s now successful “Education Revolution”. As a result, St. Vincent has achieved universal secondary education in a very short period of time beyond the expectations of International Organisations involved in this field.

Early in his career he served as a Public Health Physician in several communities in Jamaica during the emergence of HIV as a regional and global health challenge, and contributed significantly to revamping the immunization practices that resulted in improved coverage. He went on to the posting of Public Health Physician in a UNDP/USAID/Government of Jamaica Typhoid Control Project. The project succeeded in controlling the spread of typhoid.

Subsequently, he was appointed Medical Officer of Health of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and focal point person for HIV/AIDS. He has served in other senior management positions of the government guiding national health policy issues during the emergence of the HIV/AIDS disease. He has also served as Disaster Coordinator for the Ministry of Health within the National Disaster Management System where he functioned as Co-Manager in National Stimulation Exercises.

Dr. Slater has also been a Part-time lecturer in a Drug Addiction Course offered by the UWI local campus and gave several public lectures on various topics.

H.E. Mr. Pat Breen T.D.
Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection of Ireland
H.E. Mr. Pat Breen T.D.

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection of Ireland

Pat Breen TD was appointed Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection on 20 June 2017 having previously served as Minister for Employment and Small Business since 19 May 2016. 

Pat was first elected to Dail Eireann in 2002 and was successfully reelected in 2007 and 2011. He served as Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade from 22 June 2011 to 3 February 2016.  

Prior to Pat’s election to Dail Eireann, he was a member of Clare County Council from June 1999 to 2002. 

H.E. Ms. Mona Juul
Vice President of ECOSOC
H.E. Ms. Mona Juul

Vice President of ECOSOC

The new Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations, Mona Juul, presented her credentials to UN Secretary-General António Guterres today.

Before her latest appointment, Ms. Juul was Ambassador to the United Kingdom beginning in September 2014. She was previously Director General of the Department for Security Policy and the High North in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2011 to 2014, Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York from 2005 to 2010, and Ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2004 when she was concurrently accredited to Cyprus.

A career diplomat since 1986, Ms. Juul was Executive Officer in the Cabinet of the Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1992 to 1993, and a member of the small Norwegian team that facilitated secret negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that led to the 1993 Oslo Accords. As Minister Counsellor in the Embassy of Norway in Tel Aviv from 1994 to 1997, she worked with both sides on the follow-up to the implementation of the Oslo Accords, and from 1997 to 2000, she was Special Advisor, Ambassador and Middle East Coordinator in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, chairing the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on Assistance to the Palestinians.

Ms. Juul holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Oslo.

She was born on 10 April 1959.

H.E. Ms. Yvonne Hyde
Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum, Belize
H.E. Ms. Yvonne Hyde

Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum, Belize

Ms. Hyde is the Chief Executive Officer (Economic Development) in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. She previously served in various leadership capacities, including: Ambassador of Belize to the European Union, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands; Permanent Representative to the WTO-Brussels, Belgium; Minister-Counselor, Embassy of Belize, Washington, USA; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Development; Economic Cooperation Officer, Office of Planning and Investment; Economist, Ministry of Finance; Economist, Caribbean Development Bank, Barbados; Economist, Central Planning Unit of Belize; Executive Assistant to the Minister of Budget Management, Investment and Trade; and Economic Policy Coordinator, Ministry of Economic Development.

Hon. Fiame Naomi Mataafa
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Samoa
Hon. Fiame Naomi Mataafa

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Samoa

Honourable Fiame Naomi Mata’afa made history as the first woman Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa after the 2016 elections.

She first entered politics in 1985 as a member for Lotofaga under the Human Rights Protection Party. She became a Cabinet Minister in 1991 and held the Education, Youth, Sports, Culture and Labour portfolios from 1991 to 2006. After the March 2006 General Elections, Hon. Mata’afa continued in cabinet with a new set of portfolios: Women, Community and Social Development; Public Service Commission, Salaries Tribunal; and Office of the Ombudsman. Following the 2011 General Elections her portfolios changed to Justice and Courts Administration. Hon Mata’afa currently holds the portfolio for Natural Resources and the Environment.

Internationally, Hon. Mata’afa has represented Samoa and the Pacific Islands on the Executive Board of UNESCO and the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth of Learning. She has served as the Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University of the South Pacific (USP) and also the Pacific Regional representative on the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Steering Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Hon. Mata’afa is a keen advocate for women’s development especially in the area of women in politics. She has been a longstanding member and is the current President of the Samoa National Council of Women and has previously chaired the Inailau Women’s Leadership Network. Hon. Mata’afa leads the Women in Leadership Advocacy ( WinLa) network of women parliamentarians, chief executive officers and public service commissioners in Samoa.

“Fiame” is the chiefly ranking title of the Lotofaga district. Hon. Mata’afa was conferred the title in 1977.

Mr. Rakesh Bhuckory
Minister Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade Mauritius
Mr. Rakesh Bhuckory

Minister Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade Mauritius

Rakesh Bhuckory, Minister Counsellor

  • Minister Counsellor and Head of the Multilateral Political Directorate (UN and its Specialized Agencies) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade.

  • Led the team which prepared the first Voluntary National Review Report of Mauritius to be presented to the 2019 HLPF.

  • National Focal Point for SAMOA PATHWAY.

  • 2005-2015- Served at the Mauritius High Commission in London. Responsible for all Commonwealth matters at the Mission. Was also responsible for reinforcing trade relations between Mauritius and the UK. Actively supported the High Commissioner in various initiatives to step up FDI from the UK into Mauritius which grew by 400 percent from 2006-2008.

  • Served as Second Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Mauritius to the UN from 2008-2002. Was a delegate of Mauritius in the Security Council from 2001-2002 and was in charge of the following political issues Palestine, Ethiopia-Eritrea, Sudan, Libya, and the Working Group on Troop Contributing Countries.

  • EDUCATION:

Sloan Master in Leadership and Strategy, London Business School- UK

MSc Management, Organisations and Governance, London School of Economics- UK

MA in International Relations, University of Kent- UK

MSc in Diplomatic Studies, Westminster University- UK

BSc in Life Sciences, St Xaviers College, Mumbai, India

Mr. Willy Missack
Pacific Climate Change Collaboration, Influencing and Learning (PACCCIL) project manager and the Vanuatu Climate Action Network (VCAN) and Vanuatu Humanitarian Team (VHT) Coordinator at Oxfam in Vanuatu (MGoS)
Mr. Willy Missack

Pacific Climate Change Collaboration, Influencing and Learning (PACCCIL) project manager and the Vanuatu Climate Action Network (VCAN) and Vanuatu Humanitarian Team (VHT) Coordinator at Oxfam in Vanuatu (MGoS)

Mr. Willy Missack is currently working as the Pacific Climate Change Collaboration, Influencing and Learning (PACCCIL) project manager and the Vanuatu Climate Action Network (VCAN) and Vanuatu Humanitarian Team (VHT) Coordinator at Oxfam in Vanuatu. Mr. Missack has a Masters degree in Environment Science for the University of New Caledonia and he is a Baha’i Youth serves currently as the Local Spiritual Assembly member of the Baha’i in Port Vila and serves as the Assistant Auxiliary Board member to support the youth movement in the Efate Cluster in Port Vila. In 2015 Mr. Missack had an Award from Her Majesty Elizabeth II on the work he is doing in the communities in his home Island (Tanna), to support the communities have access to clean drinking water.

Ms. Emele Duituturaga
Former Executive Director, Pacific Islands Association of Non Governmental Organisations (PIANGO)
Ms. Emele Duituturaga

Former Executive Director, Pacific Islands Association of Non Governmental Organisations (PIANGO)

Emele Duituturaga, a Fijian national, is the Executive Director of the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO), a position she has held since June 2009. In this role, she has been instrumental in PIANGO's strong positioning as a regional and global civil society development actor and has spoken at numerous high level meetings raising the profile of the Pacific’s concerns such as climate change, localization of humanitarian aid, gender equality, development effectiveness and implementation of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs.

Prior to joining PIANGO Emele was a Research Associate at Fiji’s University of the South Pacific (2017-20180 and Fiji Government’s CEO for the Ministry of Women, Social Welfare, Poverty Alleviation and Housing (2014-2017). She has worked in the development sector for over 2 decades in most Pacific Islands countries working and living in NZ, New Caledonia, PNG, Solomon Islands and Fiji. Previously, she worked as the Project Manager for UNFPA; was head of the Women’s Bureau with the SPC based in Noumea; a ADB long term adviser in PNG; a short-term gender adviser with RAMSI in the Solomon Islands. She started her career as a social worker, policy adviser, housing manager and university lecturer in NZ cenral and local government.

She has a Bachelor in Social Work, a Postgraduate Diploma in Corporate Management and a Masters in Business Administration

Ms. Maria-Francesca Spatolisano
Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Ms. Maria-Francesca Spatolisano

Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced on 20 December 2018 the appointment of Maria-Francesca Spatolisano of Italy as Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. She will succeed Thomas Gass of Switzerland, to whom the Secretary-General and the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs are grateful for his commitment and dedicated service to the Organization.

Ms. Spatolisano has 33 years of experience in public service including extensive senior leadership in multilateral affairs. She has served as the European Union Ambassador to the OECD and UNESCO, Monaco and Andorra. She was a member of the EU Delegation to the United Nations, serving as the Head of its Economic and Trade Section. She covered all issues related to trade, development and environmental policies in the Second Committee and ECOSOC and was also the EC representative to the Fifth Committee.

Since 2017, she has been responsible for International Organizations and Development Dialogue with other Donors in the Commission’s Directorate General for Development Cooperation. In this capacity, she has assured the EU presence and developed EU positions on development policy in a number of international fora including the United Nations, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, OECD, G-7 and the G-20, where she represented the EU in the G-20 Development Working Group.

Ms. Spatolisano holds a Doctorate in Law (cum laude) from Florence University and is fluent in Italian, English and French. She is married with two children.

Ms. Stacy Richards-Kennedy
Director, Office of Development, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
Ms. Stacy Richards-Kennedy

Director, Office of Development, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

Dr. Stacy Richards-Kennedy leads the regional Office of Development at The University of the West Indies (UWI). She was appointed Director following the establishment of the Office of Development in 2016. The Office focuses on strengthening linkages between the regional university and multilateral development partners and deepening the university’s engagement in national and regional processes to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 development agenda. The Office also coordinates the SDG 13 Global University Consortium on Climate Action (SDG 13) bringing together universities from across 6 geographic continents to collaborate on climate change teaching, research and advocacy.

Dr. Richards-Kennedy has over 20 years’ experience in development management and development financing. Prior to taking up her role as Director of Development, Dr. Richards-Kennedy was the Assistant Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten between 2014 and 2016. Her previous appointments include Chief Technical Advisor, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) – Washington DC, Consultant, The World Bank – Washington DC and Programme Specialist, UNESCO – Paris. Over the course of her career, Dr. Richards-Kennedy has led the design, execution and evaluation of diverse development programmes as well as managed multi-donor trust funds, working in collaboration with a range of development partners in Europe, Africa, North America and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Fluent in Spanish, French and English, Dr. Richards-Kennedy’s research focuses on the societal impact of university research, knowledge brokerage and development effectiveness.

Statements
Statements
Amasai Jeke, from Fiji, representing the Rainbow Pride Foundation, and the Women’s Major Group
Hon. Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment
Laisa Vereti From the Pacific Disability Forum
United Nations