United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Small Islands, Genuine Partnerships

Tue 06 Jul 2021, 7.30 am




On 27 September 2019, the General Assembly held a high-level meeting to review progress, gaps, and challenges on the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway, the outcome of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) held in 2014. The review resulted in an inter-governmentally agreed political declaration, including a call for scaling-up and development of genuine and durable partnerships with all stakeholders at national, regional, and international levels that follow the SIDS Partnership SMART criteria.

The SIDS Partnership Framework is United Nations’ mechanism for monitoring progress of existing, and stimulating the launch of new, genuine, and durable partnerships for the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Guided by a member States driven Steering Committee, currently chaired by Antigua and Barbuda and Malta, the framework provides a multi-stakeholder platform for reviewing progress made by SIDS partnerships, and for sharing of good practices and lessons learned among all stakeholders, on an annual basis.

The 2030 Agenda Partnership Accelerator is an initiative by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and The Partnering Initiative, in collaboration with United Nations Office for Partnerships, UN Global Compact, and the UN Development Coordination Office. The initiative aims to accelerate effective partnerships in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by building capacities for partnership and supporting the development of partnership platforms that catalyze collaborative action.

The Partnership Accelerator focusses on in-country partnerships, built on an alignment of interests of multiple stakeholders from public, private, civil society, academia and media, combining their resources and competencies to deliver innovative or transformative impact. It is supporting partnership effectiveness in several countries, including in Samoa, Maldives, Mauritius, and Seychelles. In addition, efforts are underway to advance effective partnerships in Caribbean.

The findings and learnings from the work in SIDS has resulted in a SIDS-specific partnership training module, with the aim of benefitting other SIDS in their pursuit of effective partnering. The module, which was made possible through generous funding support from the Government of Ireland, builds on extensive consultations with SIDS and complements the SDG Partnership Guidebook and the SIDS Partnership Toolbox. The material is intended to provide a starting point for anyone seeking to understand the challenges and opportunities of partnering in SIDS.

By effectively aligning, combining, and optimizing the resources brought by all sectors of society, multi-actor partnerships can maximize the impact of available resources in SIDS.  The side event will explore the imperative of multi-stakeholder partnerships in SIDS and how their very specific contexts impact partnering, including introducing a competency framework and a new SIDS-specific partnership training module.

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Moderator: Dr. Darian Stibbe, Executive Director, The Partnering Initiative

Opening remarks

  • Mr. Sai Navoti, Chief, SIDS Unit, Division for SDGs, UN DESA
  • Ms. Tishka Francis, OHRLLS

The Partnership Imperative in SIDS

Partnerships which bring together the resources and competencies of all societal sectors are considered essential to deliver the SDGs. While there are many examples of international partnerships with SIDS, there seem to be far fewer examples of multi-stakeholder collaboration within SIDS. What do you see as special about the context for developing partnerships in SIDS? Why are partnerships so important in and for SIDS? How does the context impact the effective development of multi-stakeholder collaborations?

  • Mr. Tumasie Blair, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations
  • Ms. Diane Quarless, Chief, ECLAC Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean 

Mechanisms to catalyze partnerships

How can governments and the UN help to catalyze more, and more effective, multi-stakeholder partnerships? What are some of the challenges and what are some examples of different approaches?

  • Ms. Catherine Haswell, UN Resident Coordinator for the Republic of Maldives
  • Mr. Ola Goransson, Sustainable Development Officer, Division for SDGs, UN DESA

Building capacities for partnering

Developing multi-stakeholder partnerships is challenging and requires a particular set of skills and competencies. What are those competencies, and how can you build them?

  • Ms. Cherril Sobers, Specialist, Resource Mobilisation and Partnerships, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)
  • Mr. Dave Prescott, Creative Director, The Partnering Initiative