COE = 1 Year!
(and we're coming to
an island near you

It was in November 2016 when the Centre of Excellence for the Sustainable Development of SIDS held its inaugural event. Almost 30 SIDS attended our training on roadmaps for sustainable development, facilitated by our partner TNO Caribbean. The focus was on Sustainable Tourism, Renewable Energy and Public-Private Partnerships. We would like to thank the initiators: the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Government of Aruba, and the UNDP. And of course a big thank you to all other organizations - too many to mention - who have helped us as we launched our various initiatives, from our online platform, to our case studies and webinars.

It has been a busy first year as we facilitated knowledge exchange between islands, and our second year is promising to be no less eventful. It will be a year where we will also be coming to you, or at least an island near you. We have recently started a series of in-country technical assistance missions to several SIDS. Antigua (focus: waste management) and Jamaica (focus: energy data & monitoring) were first; Seychelles, Vanuatu, Belize and Dominican Republic will follow. We were also in St.Maarten recently, to see how we can help the post-hurricane recovery by playing a knowledge coordinator role. And in Barbados, where we thought along with PAHO/WHO, Caricom and many others on how to best share knowledge for innovation in health care.

These visits are insightful, because despite all the online possibilities, it is always inspiring to meet and discuss the challenges and solutions of sustainable development on the ground and in person. If we haven't yet met, we hope to do so in our second year; if not at the 'island' COP, then surely some other time.

Arno Boersma
Manager, COE

ps. feel free to forward this newsletter to colleagues who may not yet be on our list. 


The "Adi Yeta" arrived in Bonn for #COP23

  Let's Collaborate...
The COE actively seeks collaborations to promote ways for islands to become more sustainable. As a follow-up to the face-to-face training held in November of 2016 on building sustainable roadmaps, the COE is providing in-county technical assistance through the expertise of our partner TNO Caribbean in 2017 and 2018.  Our  first in-country training was held in Antigua & Barbuda in October and focused on waste management. Next up are Jamaica, Seychelles, Vanuatu, Dominican Republic  and Belize. The COE will be sharing lessons learned from these missions with all SIDS. 
Insights from the COE’s technical assistance mission to Antigua on Sustainable Waste Management, carried out by TNO Caribbean.

Article contributed by:
Ms. Ruth Spencer, National Coordinator GEF/SGP
Antigua & Barbuda

We recently concluded a multi-day workshop focused on addressing our waste management challenge. This is a key problem for Antigua, a small Caribbean nation; but I know it is a similar challenge for many other small countries. The intervention was offered by the UNDP Centre of Excellence for the Sustainable Development of SIDS, who had selected experts from applied research firm TNO to support us.

The focus of our discussions was on the Cooks Landfill, a location that started out as temporary 20 years ago for sewage disposal and storage, but is still used today. It is 15ft higher than it should be and located next to a wetland so that it has a negative impacts on watershed and  the ecosystems.

Another challenge relates to the increasing number of illegal dump sites springing up all over the country which now requires an innovative approach relating to payments to truck owners for hauling waste from homeowners, contracts from the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) and construction waste from hotels and other construction sites. This is to ensure the waste does reach the designated areas and no shortcuts are being taken where the material is dropped at illegal places. To solve this problem the payment should not be made in advance but only after, upon presentation of a stamped receipt by the NSWMA. This will strengthen enforcement of the Litter Act.

Thirdly, there is a challenge of reliable data. The technical experts advised us that the technology and approaches to be used to manage our various types of waste depends on the size and scale of operations. This of course depends on the provision of often lacking accurate data.

One of the Adaptation and Mitigation goals in our NDC’s is waste management and Antigua has committed to a Waste to Energy plant by 2025. The workshop helped us to look at the key components needed to begin the process of building a roadmap to get there with the inputs of concerned stakeholders. This should be viewed as a business concept.

With the daily media informing the public that the government is finding it difficult to pay private contractors to take waste of all types  to the land fill,  upon reflection during the workshop, we tried to change our perspective: “the waste should be seen as having a value”

"We look forward to further collaborating with the COE and TNO experts and hopefully other SIDS to accomplish our sustainable development goals."
by Ruth Spencer, National Coordinator GEF/SGP, Antigua & Barbuda

  Let's Connect...
There are many SIDS-relevant events happening this fall, most notably COP 23, hosted by Fiji. Please find below some upcoming events where SIDS policy makers will connect:

COP 23 | Bonn | November 6-17, 2017
The UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn is the next step for governments to implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement. COP 23 which will be presided over by the Government of Fiji with support by Germany. The Paris Agreement came into force last November and 160 Parties have ratified it. It will be a place to highlight the particular challenges that climate change presents to SIDS around the globe.

Sustainability in Motion - Green Aruba Conference | Aruba | November 15-17, 2017
The Green Aruba conference will focus on what it takes to move from talking about sustainability to doing things in a more sustainable manner. In the context of creating sustainable partnerships, the conference will be hosted in collaboration with CARILEC, the leading association of electric utilities and industry partners in the Caribbean.
The COE will co-organize a workshop on putting "Knowledge in Motion".
Read more...  &  See a video invitation

Sustainable Tourism in SIDS | Seychelles | November 22-24, 2017
Seychelles will host a conference on sustainable tourism from 22-24 November 2017 addressing protected areas and tourism’s social responsibility in regards to SIDS. Tourism professionals, academics, and practitioners from other SIDS and the region are invited to discuss an integrated practical approach to sustainable tourism in SIDS.
Read more…

Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism | Jamaica | November 27-29, 2017
The conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism will be held in Jamaica on 27-29 November 2017. The aim of the conference is to foster collaborative relationships for inclusive economic and social development via tourism as well as achieve tangible results in the form of practical plans.
Read more…

7th International Conference on Environmental Future (7ICEF): Humans and Island Environments I Call for abstracts by December 1
Organized by the Foundation for Environmental Conservation, East-West Center, and University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, ICEF7 seeks to advance the global and multi- disciplinary conversation around environmental futures with a specific focus in 2018 on ‘Humans and Island Environments’. The conference will be held from the 16 - 20 April 2018 in Honolulu, Hawai'i, at the East-West Center's Imin International Conference Center. A diverse group of islanders, scientists, managers, and policymakers from around the world will discuss the pressing environmental issues islands are facing. 

Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum | St.Kitts | December 12-13, 2017 
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the St.Kitts Ministry of Tourism will host a Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum from 12-13 December 2017, under the theme “Good for us, better for all”. The conference brings stakeholders together to lead positive change in the development of climate resilient and sustainable Caribbean tourism.
Read more…

  Let's Collect...
A key goal of the COE is to capture good practices and lessons learned in sustainable development from SIDS from around the world and share them for the benefit of all. This month highlighting efforts in Vanuatu, The Maldives and Fiji.
Vanuatu will become first country in the world
to ban plastic bottles
Read more... (photo credits:
The Maldives uses Drones for Social Good in response to Climate Change Resilience with support of UNDP
 Read more... (photo credits: UNDP Maldives and DJI) 
Fiji becomes 1st emerging nation to launch green bond to boost climate resilience, raising $50 million
Read more... & here (photo credit: World Bank)
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 we provide a monthly update.
SDG Aruba Engages Stakeholders to Further Contribute
to the SDG Draft Roadmap

As part of finalizing a SDG implementation Roadmap for Aruba and utilizing the United Nations Mainstreaming Acceleration and Programme Support (MAPS) methodology,  a three day-long workshop was held in early October to invite vital stakeholders to contribute to the identified 'Accelerators' that the UNDP suggested in their draft SDG Roadmap for Aruba document. The 6 identified accelerators are linked to the 5 P Pillars and they include: Empower Youth (People), Natural Resource Management (Planet), Achieve the Energy Transition (Prosperity), Promote Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Prosperity), Strengthen Institutional Capacity (Peace) and Promote Aruba as a model for Sustainable Development (Partnership).

Though all stakeholders had been invited in May to contribute to the development of the UNDP’s SDG Roadmap through their feedback, SDG Aruba received few responses to work with, thereby creating the necessity of this event. Through these feedback sessions, stakeholder groups were asked to delve into the Accelerators and provide via discussions and written statements constructive input and material  that can be incorporated as feedback to the draft SDG Aruba Roadmap. Moreover, the stakeholders were asked to suggest other potential accelerators that could be pursued and that may have been overlooked by the UNDP MAPS team. The feedback received has not yet been fully processed nor agreed upon yet.  Once the feedback is finalized it will be shared with the Council of Ministers for their review before sending the document back to the United Nations to then finalize the SDG Aruba Roadmap. It is expected that the Government of Aruba can approve the final version of the Roadmap by the end of December 2017.

Department of Economic Affairs hosts
a Cross-Analysis Workshop on SDG 8

In mid-October, the Department of Economic Affairs, Commerce and Industry of Aruba (DEACI) - with support from SDG Aruba - organized the “Rapid Assessment of Co-benefits and Trade-offs Among Sustainable Development Goals” workshop. The week-long workshop series was based on the peer reviewed methodology introduced by research fellow of the University of British Columbia and the Nereus program's, PhD. Mr. Gerald Singh, who had introduced it in last month's SDG 14 workshop, which was co-hosted by UNESCO Aruba and Meteorological Department of Aruba. This specific methodology aims to clarify the relationships between the sustainable development goal targets, which could be used for other SDGs as well.  DEACI has done just that and has chosen SDG 8: “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all" as a focal point of their own internal decision-making on policies. Though DEACI is the primary department concerned on matters relating to the economy for Aruba, they understand that perspectives from other departments are necessary to achieve the SDGs as a whole. The final product of this endeavour will give an inclusive and holistic view on the localization and prioritization of the SDGs for Aruba. Miss Estephanie Britton, an intern at DEACI, adapted the University of British Columbia methodology to be used for SDG 8 and organized the sessions.


Members of governmental departments and certain relevant non-profit organizations were invited to participate and give their input. The workshop was over the course of a week where every day for 3 hours the stakeholders attended for their specific relevant accelerators. The results will be published within a couple of weeks and a draft policy document will be created using the acquired information. The workshops were a success in attendance and engagement and SDG Aruba looks forward toward other departments to follow suit.

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

  Also good to know...

The Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary
The COE often connects to organizations that have a mission well-aligned with the interests of small island states. For example, and their Marine Peace Sanctuary initiative. As small island states, we know that what happens in the Arctic affects us all. Read more...

Women in Energy
Renewable energy is high on the agenda of many SIDS. Being more inclusive with regards to leadership positions in the energy sector has been proven to be good for business. Read more...

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