United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Ms. Padma Lal

UNDESA Workshop on National Sustainable Development Strategies
in Pacific Island States
4-5 May 2006
Statement by Ms. Padma Lal, Sustainable Development Advisor
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
Strengthening of national sustainable development strategy (NSDS) or equivalent is
regarded by the Pacific Leaders as one of the early wins under the Pacific Plan. Initiative
5.1 of the Pacific Plan, is seen as one of the high priorities by the Pacific Islands Forum
Secretariat (PIFS), as the regional coordinating agency for NSDS, particularly if we are
to assist member countries to achieve their national goals, as well as international
commitments such as the MDGs, and make effective use of their own limited national
and development partner resources.
A strengthened NSDS process, including the NSDS document (similar to development
plan) linked to sectoral strategies and priorities and budgetary process, is expected to
provide countries the necessary platform for the government to better engage with
national stakeholders, including local communities, NGOs, and the private sector. The
NSDS, particularly if developed adopting a participatory stakeholder approach, will have
the local level ownership and will help forge appropriate partnership between the
government on the one hand and the local communities and private sector on the other
hand, to address national development goals that has wide ownership.
A clear NSDS, with clear national vision statement, and clearly articulated development
goals, and time bound measurable targets, can also be useful in placing countries in the
driver’s seat when negotiating with development partners. By using the sectors priorities
linked to NSDS, countries would identify a harmonised and sequenced program of
projects needed to achieve the staged development goals/ national strategies. It will also
help government better engage with development partners, and more effectively
coordinate and harmonise development partner support for high priorities.
The PIFS strongly believes that a credible NSDS process will help development partners,
too, to meet their international commitment under the Paris Declaration, and coordinate
their ODA with other development partners, such that member countries do not become
overwhelmed by donor interest, often stretching their limited resources.
On the basis of these key principles, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is providing
advice and technical assistance to PICS on demand to help strengthen their NSDS
processes, linked to national budgetary processes and sector strategies. Amongst the
countries recently assisted are Nauru, Cook Islands and Tuvalu. PIFS is currently having
discussions with a few other countries, Niue and Vanuatu, to identify the nature of
assistance required by them. In conclusion, the PIFS is committed to providing country
focused assistance on demand under the Initiative 5.1 to help strengthen their NSDS
processes, including the country engagement with donors.