Island Resilience through Sustainable Finance


The SIDSletter is a monthly publication of the Centre of Excellence (COE) for the Sustainable Development of SIDS . The COE aims to 'collect', 'connect', and 'collaborate' with stakeholders from SIDS from around the world to catalyze innovation, resilience and sustainable development.

Besides the need for innovation and collaboration to ensure island states are more resilient in the face of climate change, there is a precondition of sustainable financing for pursuing innovative initiatives and actionable ideas. Sustainable finance is crucial for islands, as they are increasingly affected as exemplified by last year's hurricanes in the Caribbean and natural disasters in the Pacific. As we attended the 7th International Conference on Environmental Future on Hawaii it was as if nature was making its case through heavy flooding nearby.

For islands it is key to use their finances innovatively to leverage additional resources for sustainable development. In this regard, the OECD recently published an interesting paper - "Making Development Cooperation work for Small Island Developing States" - that includes insights into the financing sustainable development in Small Island Developing States.

Hence, 'Financing for Resilience' is an appropriate topic for the conference the COE is helping organize at the request of the Governments of Belgium and Antigua & Barbuda. This two-day seminar on the 21st and 22nd of May on Antigua will focus on financial aspects of resilience, on disaster risk reduction and management, on climate resilient infrastructure, and on the inclusion of the private sector through PPPs. Target audience are the permanent representatives to the UN of the AOSIS countries.

Stay tuned, as the COE will capture relevant knowledge flowing from this event and others to share with SIDS worldwide.

Best wishes,

Oranjestad, Aruba

ps. Feel free to forward this newsletter to colleagues who may not yet be on our list. Also, please help spread the word about our activities, let us know what you think, and follow us on our Twitter account @COE4SIDS with hashtag #SustainableSIDS. We look forward to supporting you with your SDGs and helping you foster innovation for resilience as we continue to bridge islands of knowledge.


  Let's Collaborate...
... so that together we can support islands in becoming more sustainable and resilient.
Creating resilience calls upon all sectors of society 

The COE recently presented at several sessions at the Smart Island World Congress in Mallorca, Spain. Mr. Arno Boersma, manager of the COE presented on the topic of innovation and resilience in collaboration with GLISPA and the Island Resilience Initiative 2.0, Precovery Labs and Aruba's Isla Innovativo initiative.  See an overview video from GLISPA here. Also, the innovative ideas flowing from the Build Back Better St. Maarten (SXM) event in March were shared. For an update on the SXM event, please check the Facebook page.
       Photo: Representatives from the Government of BVI, the COE, UN-Habitat and Precovery Labs in the Panel Discussion on “Disaster-Relief & Resilience in Islands” at the Smart Island World Congress.

Video: The aftermovie with impressions from the Build Back Better St. Maarten (SXM) event in March 2018 bringing about innovative solutions for resilience through collaboration from all sectors of society.

  Let's Connect...
... so that we don't miss opportunities to meet, discuss, and explore sustainable solutions for a more resilient future.

2018 Understanding Risk Forum I Mexico City, Mexico I 16 - 19 May, 2018
UR is a global community of 7,000+ experts and practitioners active in the creation, communication, and use of disaster risk information. Members share knowledge and experience, collaborate, and discuss innovations and best practice in risk assessment. The community convenes every two years at UR Forums – five-day events that highlight groundbreaking work, facilitate nontraditional partnerships, and showcase new technical know-how in disaster risk identification. The COE will present in a side-event to the Small Island States Resilience Initiative (SISRI) community of practitioners.

Greening the Islands 5th International Conference I Minorca, Spain I 17 - 18 May, 2018
Greening the Islands – connecting island innovations – is a global initiative that has been launched to spread the word about sustainable island projects and help them to be replicated in as many locations as possible. The well-established series of conferences Greening the Islands will be live streaming with the knowledge that collaboration is critical in promoting innovative solutions and best practices that strive towards self-sufficiency, sustainable development and enhancement of island life. Locations may be isolated and remote, but digitally connected.

Financing the Resilience of SIDS I Antigua I 21-22 May, 2018
The Governments of Belgium and Antigua & Barbuda, in collaboration with together with the Centre of Excellence (COE) for SIDS, will organize a two-day seminar that will focus on financial aspects of resilience, on Disaster Risk Reduction and management, on climate resilient infrastructure, and on the inclusion of the private sector through PPPs. Target audience are the permanent representatives to the UN  of the AOSIS countries. For more information, please contact Mr. Andrzej Bielicki of the Belgian Mission to the UN at

High-level Political Forum (HLPF) I New York, US I 9 - 18 July, 2018
The theme of the HLPF will be "Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies". The set of goals to be reviewed in depth will be the following:
  • Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse

  Let's Collect...
... so that we do not reinvent the wheel or repeat mistakes, but rather build and improve on the good practices of others. 

The COE has joined forces with the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to develop case studies on sustainable development in SIDS. This month we are featuring a Case Study on Flood Management in the island of Dominica.  
SDG Implementation Corner

The COE closely follows the SDG Aruba team to capture lessons and insights from their SDG implementation journey that can benefit other SIDS. In this corner they provide a monthly update as well as other related news relevant to SIDS.

Ongoing meetings of the SDG Commission on the implementation of SDGs

The 2030 agenda emphasizes the interlinkages and integrated nature of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Considering the  small sizes and often short lines in governance structures, it would seem that the integrated nature of the Sustainable Development Agenda could potentially offer Small Island Development States in particular a unique opportunity in terms of effecting their sustainable development.

The United Nations assists countries and provides frameworks, such as the MAPS-based framework, to guide and facilitate the SDG implementation process. As we are still at the inception of the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, research as well as knowledge sharing with countries facing similar challenges and vulnerabilities is relatively limited.

In the case of Aruba, assistance has been received from the United Nations system and Aruba follows the MAPS approach to guide its SDG implementation process. Yet, the experience of the Aruba SDG implementation commission has been that it is up to the local government implementation bodies to determine and contextualize strategies in line with the existing local administrative structures. The reality is that coordination and cooperation to integrate cross-cutting themes across ministries and departments is of essence for successful implementation of the SDGs. Yet, not only may established administrative lines, combined with a small pool of qualified human resources place additional challenges in the implementation process for Small Islands. The latter may be further compounded by short-term political thinking and often antiquated legislative and administrative procedures.

In order to face these challenges head on, the SDG commission has focused on continuing its outreach and advocating to mainstream the SDGs across government bodies, including advisory bodies and Parliament. Engagement with the department of finance to forge the necessary collaboration to mainstream the SDG within the budget cycle, meeting with  the National Government Advisory Council and the National Supreme Audit and Social Economic Council in order to explain the crucial role that they can play to guarantee effective implementation of the Sustainable Development goals, were prioritized.

Photo: Aruba SDG National Commission meeting with the National Government Advisory Council as part of stakeholder engagement

In addition, meetings were also held with  key NGOs, faculties of the University of Aruba, including the school of Accounting, Finance and Marketing (FEF) and the school of Organization and Governance at the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS). The meetings with the University of Aruba had the aim of discussing the development of a curriculum for capacity building for civil servants and NGOs  to enhance  policy and statistical capacity in line with the SDG implementation process.

The meetings with Parliament were in preparation of the upcoming Inter-parliamentary sessions within the Kingdom (IPKO). The members of Parliament have to report every six months on the SDG implementation in Aruba, along the line of the commission set up in January when the four Parliaments within the Kingdom last met.

The Indicator Working Group (IWG) met  weekly with the different Pillar Groups (People, Prosperity and Planet). During the meetings with the SDG commission, the IWG group planned a presentation for the month of April 2018 and elaborated on the availability of SDG indicators in Aruba and of the working method for the upcoming baseline measurement that will be presented at the end of May 2018. .

Finally, ECLAC / SALISES sent an invitation to Aruba this month to present its case study on SDG Implementation on Aruba on behalf of the 19th Annual SALISES conference “Sustainable Futures for the Caribbean: Critical Interventions and the 2030 Agenda” in Montego Bay, Jamaica form April 25-27.   

For more information, please check the website,
email them at and
follow them on 
Facebook@SDGAruba & Twitter@SDGAruba

  Also good to know...
Check out this article published by Reuters as reported from the Smart Island World Congress:  "Islands comb own shores for solutions to environmental pressures" where amongst other island experts, Mrs. Kate Brown, executive director from Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) elaborates on the evolution of islands within international Climate Change talks.

James Ellsmoor, Director of Solar Head of State, has started Island Innovation, an "occasional e-newsletter to provide original analysis and a digest of overlooked articles on sustainable development for rural, remote, and island areas". Sign up for his newsletter here.

ALSO, STAY TUNED: We are exploring the development of a online course on Sustainable Tourism specifically designed for SIDS policymakers. And we are preparing our next in-country technical assistance missions to Nauru and Dominican Republic.
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