Issue 62 | 18 August 2022
The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway was designed for the sustainable development aspirations for the SIDS decade 2015–2025, integrating earlier frameworks including the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy. A framework of indicators would establish clear benchmarks to allow the tracking of progress against regional and global benchmarks and alignment to the 232 indicators for the SDGs and other global development policy documents such as the SENDAI and Financing for Development frameworks.

Statistical capacity-building and support of SIDS’ data infrastructure are crucial, including digital tools such as geospatial platforms, applied machine learning, digital infrastructure, and support for country-level and regional open data portals. Challenges in technical capacity and availability of data in SIDS due to their demographic and geographic characteristics have limited monitoring frameworks. But, much more data does exist than is being effectively utilized. A key support needed for SIDS is in the discovery and access to existing data to allow proper identification, analysis, and integration of these data into policymaking and monitoring systems. To enable the full potential of existing data, it is essential to support the strengthening of national and regional data systems through access to the latest digital tools and technologies.

In these regards, the Wadadli Action Platform was held in Antigua and Barbuda from 8 to 9 August 2022 with the goal to transform ambition and commitments for enhancing resilience in SIDS into urgent and concrete actions. Sessions focused on the role of the MVI, access to finance, climate change adaptation and resilience, promoting gender parity and inclusion for people with disabilities, and leveraging indigenous knowledge and nature-based solutions - all within the general framing of the central role of data. In this bulletin we present innovations and perspectives linked to these issues, key to supporting SIDS in refining their development strategies for accelerating their bluer and greener recovery.

Image: UNDP SIDS Data Platform


Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Share Share
Read Later Read Later
Keywords:   Rising Up For SIDS, data science, geospatial data, MVI, machine learning, climate finance, ocean economy, indicator frameworks, ocean financing, sustainable fisheries, biodiversity, blue finance, marine protected areas, SDGs, disaster recovery, gender equality, blue economy, digital transformation, blue bonds, livelihood empowerment, innovation, renewable energy, SIDS health systems
A new innovative SIDS Data Platform
Image: UNDP SIDS Data Platform

As a new component of the UNDP SIDS Offer, Rising Up For SIDS, UNDP has developed the SIDS Data Platform to provide policymakers, research institutions, UNDP country offices, and other development agents with freely available access to updated, standardized, and comprehensive data. The SIDS Data Platform is a key instrument for supporting SIDS in following up on the SAMOA Pathway and for developing the next iteration of SIDS’ development pathway by helping them identify and quantify their priorities for the 4th SIDS Conference in 2024. 

The visualization and analytic features of the SIDS Data Platform will help SIDS in rising up to their urgent challenges. The SIDS data platform features a new database of country-level indicators compiled from 22 databases and research studies, and these indicators are presented in analytic tools, country profiles, and through a customizable version of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index. The data platform also features a GIS portal with geospatial datasets from over 80 research studies and databases, all presented custom interface and visualization and analytic tools to allow development agents to been able to discover, access, visualize, analyze, and export this data.

The SIDS Data Platform features machine learning models that impute the indicator datasets to provide an interactive interface for testing modelling approaches for filling in gaps in the database. The platform is available on desktop and with special interfaces built for mobile, so this data is available at the fingertips of policymakers and development agents. The platform is also to be released in four languages – English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese – to make it more accessible and effective in capacity-building. 

Country Corner
Image: Commons Wikimedia

Aruba has emerged as a model for sustainable development through the creation of a knowledge management ecosystem. To deal with challenges of centralizing data to a single official source to be utilized across scales and institutions, the Aruban government passed a Ministerial Decree institutionalizing the National SDG Commission and the SDG Aruba Indicator Working Group (AIWG) who released a baseline of 230+ Global Monitoring Indicators in 2021. This was based on monitoring targets through its SDG Framework and Roadmap, which help to localize the SDGs and anchor them in a national framework that can support local Aruba policymakers to deliver on local priorities. 

The Aruba Sustainable Development Goals Indicators 2021 give an overview of new baselines, available time series of existing indicators on Aruba, and the analyses of trends relating to the SDGs and SAMOA Pathway. These provide information for monitoring of progress and setting of concrete national targets. The formation of a National Statistical System (NSS) and a National Strategy for Development of Statistics (NSDS) are key for SIDS in advancing their data infrastructure. A robust follow-up and review mechanism for the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway through a solid framework of indicators and statistics is essential to inform policy and ensure accountability of all stakeholders. 

Aruba is a leader for SIDS to establish monitoring systems, in answer to the call from the SAMOA Pathway (112-115) as it reaffirms “the role that data and statistics play in development planning of SIDS and the need for the United Nations system to collect statistics from SIDS and calling on the UN and its specialized agencies and relevant intergovernmental organizations … to support a SIDS Sustainable Development Statistics and Information Programme”. The new SIDS Data Platform will help SIDS to advance towards these goals and implement further data-driven initiatives to help advance a global SIDS data ecosystem.  

Image: Andrew Moore
To face their unique economic, environmental and social challenges on their own to build resilience and enhance sustainable development, SIDS have taken leadership in navigating innovative financing mechanisms to secure more financing for climate mitigation and adaptation. Antigua and Barbuda, as chair of the Alliance of Small Island States and holder of the SIDS seat on the Green Climate Fund Board, has been a long-time leader on climate action and has been innovating in climate finance to help address the challenges and vulnerabilities in SIDS. The Wadadli Action Platform held in Antigua and Barbuda provided a valuable forum for SIDS stakeholders to coalesce on clear action paths that address their immediate needs in addressing climate change, debt sustainability, and overcoming the digital divide. 

Antigua and Barbuda has adopted a multifaceted and holistic approach through the development of robust climate finance pipeline in order to achieve its national development priorities and NDC targets. Debt-for-climate swaps are an important mechanism in this approach, to allow creditors to discount national debt and allocate the debt payment to further climate action. Antigua and Barbuda has continued to enhance the capacity and required policy, institutional, and regularity frameworks to improve access to climate finance. A resource mobilisation strategy that incorporates different climate finance sources, including multilateral, bilateral, private sector, and philanthropic sources has helped to leverage technical assistance and provide a flexible financial system. Access to innovative finance includes blended instruments, financing for conservation and thematic bonds, catalysing private sector investment and leveraging domestic resources. SIDS are advancing these partnerships for accelerating progress towards the SAMOA Pathway Priorities and in their bluer and greener recovery. 

Image: WHO/Yoshi Shimizu

Kiribati is among the most remote of SIDS in the Pacific, and includes a significant marine area dispersed across 3.5 million square kilometers of ocean. Among the challenges of remoteness is the equitable access to and delivery of medical services and supplies to its population. Due to the unique characteristics and nature of SIDS, many face potential impact of disease outbreaks among their populations. In SIDS, the COVID-19, along with other health effects of climate change, Noncommunicable Diseases, and malnutrition have further deteriorated sustainable development goals.  However, COVID-19 has also been an important trigger for accelerating the digitalization for health response systems, which have been quickly adapted in SIDS due to the nimble size and lack of outdated legacy systems. 

To face their challenges in public health Kiribati has developed new digital modalities for quick response and live monitoring to improve its health supply chain management. For the first time, Kiribati has created a comprehensive database of the national essential medical supplies, including equipment, medicines, and consumables, to build the capacity of Kiribati’s health system. Kiribati is also working on improving the infrastructure and equipment of its hospitals and clinics, as well as providing training to health workers in order to build their capacities while enhancing the country’s health information systems. Kiribati is integrating these advancements with digital systems to monitor the infrastructure and connect its citizens with this new health network. UNDP has been supporting digitalization of public health systems in many SIDS, such as in Guinea-Bissau in which over 145 health facilities have been digitized since 2014, significantly improving the mapping, prevention, and treating of outbreaks real-time. Furthermore, by use of indicators to track medical challenges, solutions are being more effectively targeted and efficient to respond to the unique challenges of SIDS. 

In the News

In a historic move, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that recognizes a healthy, clean, and sustainable environment as a universal human right. This landmark move, which took place on 28 July, has the potential to bring social and economic transformation to enhance an inclusive greener and bluer recovery while fostering progress on the 2030 Agenda. This resolution comes at a time when the Small Island Developing States are facing the Triple “C” of crises; COVID-19, Climate change, and Conflict. This new UN resolution has given the license to  policymakers, governments, leaders, and the private sector to act now. This has strengthened the position of SIDS to strengthen positive environmental management, while taking into consideration gender-responsive and inclusive models of sustainable development.   

Future projected risks for SIDS include land degradation, rise in sea-level, tropical storms, flooding, ecosystem degradation, and extreme water level events that may double by 2050. Moreover, it has been estimated that agricultural yield could decline by 50 percent by the year 2050, and that coral bleaching is expected to decrease the availability of seafood. All these risks have significant negative impacts on SIDS’ environment, with larger economic consequences than the global average. Economic losses that result from severe environmental and climate events are dreadful. Over the past 10 years, economic losses have been estimated to be almost US$2 billion in selected SIDS. Furthermore, populations in SIDS face serious health risks due to environmental contamination and climate crisis.  

Therefore, sustainable management, restoration, and preservation of clean and healthy ecosystems is crucial for SIDS to maintain the rich biodiversity which sustainable livelihoods rely on. The right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a human right is now part of an international legal framework, which can bring much needed benefits for addressing economic instability and inequality and enabling sustainable development and prosperity.

Image: Sam Lawrence Photography/Shutterstock
SIDS are innovating ways to face the threats and recover from the drastic impacts of climate change. The lives of almost 1.9 billion people in the Western Pacific are at risk due to the harmful toxic emissions. These dramatic effects are reflected in the number of deaths each year, leading to 3.5 million people in the region losing their lives as a result of indoor and outdoor air pollution. Health agencies can help to make the case for health co-benefits of reducing carbon emissions through the deployment of tools such as the AIRQ+ air pollution estimator, which supports cross-sectoral dialogue on the health effects of exposure to air pollution. Also, the Carbon Reduction Benefits on Health (CaRBonH) calculation tool helps in quantifying the physical and economic benefits of improving air quality on human health. Moreover, the GreenUr calculator for green spaces helps to quantify the health impacts of having greener spaces.

There is an urgent need to invest in building climate-resilient infrastructure and technology, so that when extreme climate events hit, the health systems would still be able to function. Many SIDS are already making the transition to 100 percent renewable energy and deploying the usage of non-burning machines to get rid of medical waste in health facilities, such as Fiji and Samoa and Vanuatu. Hence, enhancing the sustainability of health services in SIDS will guarantee that health systems are able to contribute to the reduction of the environmental impact of their services, and to continue serving their people while facing the drastic effects of climate change.

Image: Francisco Blaha

SIDS are innovating in the Blue Economy by advancing ocean conservation through locally managed marine areas. In 2010 the Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 was adopted, calling for conserving 10 percent of the ocean through marine protected areas (MPAs) and “other effective area-based conservation measures” (OECMs), explicitly recognizing that other types of spatial conservation measures beyond areas designated as MPAs may also achieve biodiversity gains. SIDS are advancing MPA management as well as OECMs through establishing sustainable use principles, broader ecosystem management objectives, and more general biodiversity conservation goals. Many spatial management approaches with primary objectives related to fisheries sustainability provide co-benefits for biodiversity, and hence biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.  

Growing demands and pressures on marine and coastal environments are resulting in inequitable and unwelcome outcomes for social–environmental systems, and the integration of effective marine management and conservation has never been greater. Commitments to using area management is prominent in both the 2030 Agenda and decadal plans for the conservation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), including a draft target to increase the coverage of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures from 10 to 30 percent of the ocean by 2030. Although progress toward the global area-based management targets has accelerated, there remains skepticism regarding whether global aspirations will be met. 

Well-managed MPAs have been shown to deliver effective conservation within their boundaries in many regions, strengthening calls and advocacy for MPAs to be the principal method for conserving marine biodiversity. Some studies have also highlighted their shortcomings, with MPAs receiving criticism for risks to vulnerable coastal populations reliant on the oceans for food and livelihoods, and poor design and management. One challenge in MPA management is in establishing sustainable and appropriate financial and human capital. Finding the financial support to fund biodiversity conservation is challenging, and often is successful only when linked with community livelihood opportunities. 

Further Resources

FAO in the Pacific 2021: Annual Report of FAO Subregional Office for the Pacific Islands

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Subregional Office for the Pacific Islands launched its 2021 Annual Report on 15 July 2022. The report highlights that like most Small Island Developing States, Pacific countries face a unique set of challenges, including remoteness and isolation, high exposure and vulnerability to natural disasters, and high dependence on imported food. These challenges are further worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Samoa’s GDP for 2020 contracted by 9.2 percent because of COVID-19. Moreover, evidence suggests that the pandemic is reversing gains in achieving some of the Sustainable Development Goals in SIDS. However, the Pacific SIDS are also marked by numerous opportunities. For example, the countries are home to some of the world’s richest marine and terrestrial biodiversity hotspots, combined with a very high potential for innovation that can be leveraged to catalyze agri-food systems.  

State of the Climate in Latin America and the Caribbean

The State of the Climate in the Latin America and Caribbean report provides details of extreme weather and climate change impacts in the entire region. It gives information on climate indicators including temperatures, ocean heat and acidification, sea level rise and glaciers, as well as on extreme events like tropical cyclones, heatwaves, drought, heavy precipitation and cold waves. The report highlights that in Latin America and the Caribbean, more than 27 percent of the population live in coastal areas, with an estimated 6–8 percent living in areas that are at high or very high risk of being affected by coastal hazards, such as contaminated freshwater aquifers, eroded shorelines, inundated low-lying areas, and storm surges. These data have critical importance for policymaking, especially in in the areas of climate action and Blue Economy. 

Upcoming Opportunities

The Climate Debt Crisis

As superstorms become more frequent and the planet grows hotter each year, the economic costs of climate change are adding up. Few regions are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than the Caribbean, with its multiple climate hazards and crumbling infrastructure.

'The Climate Debt Crisis: How punishing debt stands in the way of small islands protecting themselves from climate change' virtual event will convene a panel of experts to discuss how debt stands in the way of making climate investments, how that debt accumulated and potential policy solutions.

When: 24 August 2022 at 3:00 pm EDT

Small Island Developing States Internet Governance Forum

The Small Island Developing States Internet Governance Forum aims to establish a platform and ongoing process where SIDS can become involved, can collaborate, cooperate, share experiences and have their voices heard re: issues arising from and impacts on their countries by IG, Internet Policy and the Digital Economy without necessarily having to “join” an entity (e.g. the DC-SIDS). It also aims to create a globally visible, recognized and reputable platform for engagement, discussion, cooperation, and collaboration and consensus-building (and even possible decision making) for SIDS Internet Governance, Internet Policy and Digital Economy issues.

Register here:

When: 25-26 August 2022

Read previous issues of the UNDP SIDS Bulletin

Meet your SIDS team!

and contact us with any questions 
Thematic Team Leaders
Forwarded this email? Join the UNDP SIDS Mailing List!

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
UNDP · 304 E 45th St · New York, NY 10017-3425 · USA