High-level Roundtable on Innovative Partnerships for addressing environmental challenges in implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Agenda
25 May 2016
UNHQ, Nairobi, Kenya
Small island developing states (SIDS), recognized as a special case for sustainable development, face a number of challenges in the protection, management and sustainable use of the environmental resources, on which island lives and livelihoods are built. One of the greatest of these challenges is climate change, with its numerous adverse effects including sea level rise, more intense and frequent extreme weather events, and coastal erosions. Ocean acidification is another devastating result of rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.
The SAMOA Pathway notes that for some SIDS, climate change represents “the gravest threat to their survival and viability”, and it called for urgent and ambitious action by the global community to respond to this threat. The 2030 Agenda likewise called for ambitious action on climate change, with a Sustainable Development Goal linked closely to the implementation of the then anticipated Paris agreement.
With these three documents echoing and reinforcing the urgency for action, SIDS and the global community must begin implementation. Partnerships and financing will be critical. The Agenda commits to mobilize the means required to implement the Agenda through a revitalized Global Partnership for Sustainable Development and highlights the importance of interlinkages and integrated nature of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also highlights the importance of strengthening resource mobilization from domestic and from other sources through international support. To recall, the overarching theme of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, held in Apia, Samoa 2014, was the sustainable development of SIDS through genuine and durable partnerships. Over 300 SIDS partnerships were announced at the conference, each relating to at least one of the 19 priority themes of the SAMOA Pathway. Climate Change has the highest number of registered partnerships – 138 partnerships, 33% (45 partnerships) of which are on oceans.
Ecosystems provide multiple functions and services which are essential for human well-being. However, environmental degradation due to anthropogenic activities and adverse impact of climate change pose threat to ecosystems. As environment and disasters interact with each other in many ways, integrated sound environmental management and conservation of ecosystem is critical. Eco-DRR is a way to sustainably manage and conserve ecosystems by integrating disaster risk management with the aims to strengthen natural infrastructure and human resilience against hazard impacts. This could be an innovative and useful tool to enhance resilience to natural disasters.
The main purpose of the high-level roundtable is to provide an opportunity for high-level governmental officials from SIDS and their partners to discuss emerging environmental issues in SIDS and how best those issues can be addressed and solved through partnerships. In particular, the discussion will focus on oceans related partnerships including ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR) and innovative financing, which are crucial for the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Agenda. This event will provide an interface between SIDS partnerships, policy makers, and UN entities, and will bridge the knowledge-gap amongst them.