Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face a number of unique challenges. They are highly vulnerable to external economic and financial shocks — at least 35 per cent more than other developing countries, in part due to their remoteness and narrow resource and export base. SIDS, as a group, are especially susceptible to the effects of extreme weather and climate events, which have increased in frequency, intensity and severity as a result of climate change. They are also ill-equipped to handle major crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. In the wake of this devastating pandemic, SIDS experienced an estimated fall in GDP of 9 per cent in 2020, compared with a 3.3 per cent decline in other developing countries. The United Nations (UN) World Tourism Organisation estimates that it could take up to four years for international tourism, an essential source of jobs and livelihoods, to recover to 2019-levels. In this challenging context, the sharing of proven solutions to socio-economic challenges is crucial.
This new publication maps close to 50 examples of good practices from UN Member States and our development partners. Those solutions include everything from Mauritius’ efforts to assist low-income households to gain access to solar power, cutting reliance on fossil fuels and powering new, small businesses, for instance. Or consider the Drones for Resilience project in the Maldives — a public-private partnership between a telecommunications company and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that is creating detailed, real-time maps of four islands to bolster disaster preparedness and disaster risk management. Or look to Fiji and Vanuatu, where a unique “farm to table project” is expanding organic farming practices while creating much-needed new jobs and livelihoods for young people.
All of the solutions detailed in this publication are founded upon the critical role of South-South and triangular cooperation, which is a proven and trusted platform to share and implement solutions. This approach is perhaps now more important than ever to help SIDS to not only recover from the pandemic — but to build forward better and accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. That means helping to mobilise the human and financial resources, technology, innovation, and knowledge & expertise that SIDS now need. As ever, the entire UN system will be on hand at this pivotal moment to assist communities in SIDS as they work to shape that greener, more inclusive, and more sustainable future.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)