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The multi-regional preparation meeting for the SAMOA Pathway mid-term review has ended, with an outcomes document to be presented to the review late next year.
Travis Sinckler, delegate for Barbados said the week was momentous.
“The small island States agenda is critical for the survival and sustainability of small island states,” Sinckler said.
“The support for the international community here was certainly welcome and what we are calling for is recognition of that support but also calling for action to ensure that in five years we can see the Samoan Pathway was a success.”
Sinckler said the new national focal point mechanism and partnership frameworks will help small island developing states get the support they need.
“At the end of the day the sustainable development of our countries depends on what we do,”he added.
Delegate to the Dominican Republic, Luz Patria Bonilla, said having the meeting of the nations in collaboration with the United Nations agencies made the decision making more impactful.
“[This meeting was] different in a sense that we can agree on solutions to common issues, in front of international organizations, providing a stronger force to find solutions,” she said.
Armindo Gonaga Fernandez represents Sao Tome and Principe, an African island nation off the west coast. He said the evaluation of progress has shown good results, overall.
“Although still, there is progress to be made,” he said.
He said as a dynamic process which included regional talks before the multi-regional meeting this week, his small nation has had its voice heard.
“We leave with the sentiment of good progress,”Fernandez said.
Four of the delegates representing Sint Maarten, Aruba and Curacao, three islands in the Kingdom of the Netherlands said as non-independent nations, their voice often gets lost in international discussions like these, but not this time.
Patrice Gumbs, from Sint Maarten, said it’s been important to connect with partners who can financially support his country’s transformation to resilience.
“We’re a non-independent country but at the same time we have the same sort of economic restraints when it comes to renewable energies,” he said.
“Coming here has opened up potential partners towards finding people who can help us open up in that sense.”
The inclusivity in the meeting has a positive experience, said Ghislaine Nicholaas from Aruba.
“There are a lot of different types of islands out there.
“Being here as an associate member state, seeing the similarities with fellow islands and connecting with them on the same issues and being exposed to the same opportunities to the same challenges we face… it really anchored this on a global level,” Nicholaas said.
Danae Daal from Curacao said the multi-regional meeting could have incorporate more interactive meetings with other countries.
“I guess it did serve the purpose of what we were intending to do here, actually, though there is always a need for more, right,” she said.
“All in all, it’s been great,” added Angelique Gumbs, also from Sint Maarten.
Meanwhile, four days of non-stop discussions, sharing and review came to an end as the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the SAMOA Pathway accepted the final documents, which would summarise their work.
The mood was rife with anticipation as Samoa’s ambassador to the United Nations and United States, Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia, read out the outcomes document to the room, before member States would vote to accept it.
Aliioaiga said discussions held in regional meetings for the Pacific, Caribbean and AIMS (Africa, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and South China Seas) between May and June this year set the groundwork for this week to run smoothly.
“A lot of the groundwork was done in New York, collating all the regional discussion documents and getting input for review,” he said.
"It all went according to my expectations.”
The discussions this week were largely chaired by Samoa’s CEO for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peseta Noumea Simi.
On the acceptance of the outcomes document, Peseta said she found the document to be “concise, focused, and action oriented”.
Secretary to the meeting, Heidi Schroderus-Fox (UNOHLLRS) said the review process is a critical component of getting development happening across SIDS, and fast.
Meetings were held in panel style, with a variety of delegates sharing presentations on various topics pertaining to the progress of implementing Pathway commitments, the challenges they face and the priorities for SIDS ahead of the review.
In between sessions, side events were held to more deeply explore issues affecting SIDS, such as waste and the waste sector, reproductive health, incorporating sustainable development goals into education, data gathering and many more.
SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS
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