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ISLAND RESILIENCE PARTNERSHIPS-AN ACT OF SOLIDARITY

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UNHQ, NEW YORK, 12 JULY 2018: Forging of new partnerships for island resilience should be first and foremost be an act of solidarity towards Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and for SIDS and vulnerable states in the face of climate change. This comment was made as panel intervention by the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) Secretary General during the 2018 Global Multi-stakeholder Small Island Developing States Partnership Dialogue which took place on 12 July 2018, in the ECOSOC Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters, New York. The special event was part of the 2018 session of the High-level political forum on sustainable development held under the auspices of the ECOSOC.  In accordance with the theme of the 2018 HLPF, “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies“, the Dialogue will focus on how partnerships can support SIDS in their transition towards more sustainable and resilient cities and communities.

In the context of developing genuine partnerships the PIDF Secretary General said that there are two levels, firstly the ground level, a combination of south-south and inter-regional island partnerships at the ground level that build on their comparative advantages to Global North Overseas Development Assistance and secondly at global level in addressing by action and commitments the high ambition and urgency towards the 1.5 degree goal highlighting the High Ambition Coalition at COP21 played a key role in the Paris Agreement adoption and that this was led by a Small Island State.

“This is the only true option for SIDS existential survival in the fight against climate change,” said the PIDF Secretary General, François Martel.

Secretary General Martel informed those in attendance that PIDF was designed as a SIDS and Global South organization, but is also a unique Pacific partnership in itself as it is multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder from decision-making to implementation.

“Our Strategic approach to partnership is guided by our mandate in three-fold which are to foster multi-stakeholder engagement, focused on the comparative advantages of south-south cooperation and aimed at developing inter-regional and intra-regional SIDS partnerships to benefit the implementation of SDGs and climate-resilience in the Pacific Islands,” he further added.

During his panel intervention he highlighted that while living in the tropical islands of the Pacific, facing a natural disaster is not a question of ‘if’ but rather one of ‘when’ especially with the increase effects of climate change. The onslaught of category 5 hurricanes and cyclones of the last three years alone show clearly that island communities are neither prepared nor resilient as key life securities are threatened as well as those securities that maintain family and community cohesion in time of disasters are shelter, water, food, energy and health.

“I see the role of partnerships in building resilient and sustainable societies for SIDS as focussing on island community resilience and for that we need adapted solutions to be integrated into community and village planning before the cycle of climate-induced disasters becomes an existential threat,” stressed Secretary General Martel.

Island communities need to build in a sense of security by finding the support needed to plan and prepare for climate-induced disasters, to reduce damage to properties and livelihoods and alleviate their conditions during disasters while fostering faster recovery.

“The main stakeholders and sectors that need to be more involved in partnership arrangements for SIDS are in my view the local communities and Civil Society groups from local, regional and global entities,” he added.

The PIDF Secretary General pointed out that too much focus has been in the engagement of the private sector, and the use of the Public-Private Partnerships as the core of these focus on renewable energy and mitigation with little attention to community groups and called for the need of better integration of community associations and NGOs who have the local capacity and experience in delivering projects on the ground.

“A shift is needed to a holistic approach where the private sector can support and engage in building resilience through community and Civil Society initiatives and grass-root projects where the focus instead should be on Multi-stakeholder Partnerships (MSP),” said Secretary General Martel.

The Partnership Dialogue provided a platform for announcing new partnerships devoted to supporting SIDS in their transition towards more sustainable and resilient cities and communities, by all stakeholders and heard that over the last two years, PIDF has made strong efforts to develop partnerships with Asia-Pacific and South-south international and regional organizations with the aim to assist Pacific Islands in innovation, lessons learned, best practices and for technology transfer.

In this context, and apart from intra-regional partnerships, PIDF have launched a series of collaborations and new partnerships over the last 12 months.

These include partnerships with the United Nations Office for South South Cooperation (UNOSSC) as a Pacific platform for South South Cooperation, the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) on the Island Resilience Initiative and the Centre for Integrated Rural Development in Asia and The Pacific (CIRDAP) as the Pacific platform for capacity-building in integrated rural development.

Recent partnerships include the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development of the South (COMSATS) to be the Pacific platform for innovation and advocacy on training in science and technology for sustainable development and GreenCross France et Territoires for a partnership for resilience of islands and oceans and human rights in the Pacific.

In addition, PIDF is currently negotiating two inter-regional SIDS partnerships, with the James MICHEL Foundation, Seychelles, on Indian Ocean and Pacific Islands collaboration on Sustainable Blue Economies and with the Aruba Centre of Excellence for sustainability in SIDS (COE) for dissemination and exchange of lessons learned and best practices for sustainability in SIDS.

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