The Power of Knowledge

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

At the COE we consider knowledge our most renewable resource and the most important resource for SIDS to reach their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), This is why we use every channel our beneficiaries in SIDS prefer to facilitate knowledge sharing, both on and offline. Case studies, webinars, newsletter, online courses and events: as long as it is demand-driven, we'll do our best to provide it. Knowledge is powerful, and sharing it even more so.

One such knowledge channel is the upcoming side-event  at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development held from 9 - 18th July in New York. The COE will co-organize the breakfast session "Knowledge Frameworks to Accelerate the 2030 Agenda" together with with The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), The Kingdom of the Netherlands, and The Knowledge for Development Partnership (K4DP). Be sure to sign up here if you are at HLPF.

Another example is the new SIDSxSDGs Toolkit, now in a beta-version. We heard from many that there was no practical online resource for helping policy-makers from SIDS with the process of implementing SDGs. The toolkit was developed to be exactly that: a practical and action-oriented one-stop-shop to support policy-makers in their SDG-related decision-making processes. Take a look and we would appreciate any feedback you may have!

Let's keep bridging islands of knowledge

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.
held April 16th – 20th, 2018, Honolulu, Hawai‘i

"Understanding the Island Context for 
Environmental policies & Management Practices"

The COE joined the 7ICEF conference that convened stakeholders from academia, NGOs, islanders and managers in April 2017. The conference brought together the broadest range of disciplines to better bridge understanding between the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences for the future of island  environments.


Recommendations provided are categorized under the following themes:
  • Resilience and the role of islands
  • Multiple ways of knowing (traditional knowledge)
  • Governance and policy
  • Sustainability and biosecurity
  • Human health and wellbeing
  • Peer learning networks, new leaders, and regional cooperation
  • Finance
  • Island universities and diversity
Read the conference outcomes and recommendations here.

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

International Conference on Sustainable Development I New York, US I 26 - 28 September, 2018
The International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) provides a forum for academia, government, civil society, UN agencies, and the private sector to come together to share practical solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The organizers are The Center for Sustainable Development (CSD)The Earth Institute of Columbia University, The Global Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) and The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).

Inter-regional SAMOA Pathway review I Samoa I October, 2018
In September 2019, member states will convene a one-day high-level meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to review progress made and where the preparatory meetings will feed into. For this prepatory meetings are taking place in 2018.
Read more ...
Our Oceans Conference I Bali, Indonesia I 29 - 30 October, 2018
The Government of the Republic of Indonesia will host the fifth Our Ocean Conference in Bali on 29 and 30 October 2018. Our Ocean Conference is focused on generating commitments and taking actions to maintain the sustainability of our oceans. Since 2014, Our Ocean Conference has successfully generated commitments totaling around 18 billion dollars (USD) and 12.4 million square kilometers of marine protected areas. Our Ocean Conference 2018 will convene participants from countries across the globe to ensure diverse perspectives from various stakeholders, including governments, commercial sectors, financing entities, scientific communities, civil society organizations, and young leaders. Heads of States, Ministers, and champions from various backgrounds will also be invited to influence concrete and actionable commitments to preserve the oceans' health.

CALL FOR PAPERS "Knowledge Islands" I Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain I 20-22 November, 2018
The 11th Knowledge Cities World Summit (KCWS-2018) will be held in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Tenerife is the largest and most populated island of the seven Canary Islands. The island receives about five million tourists annually, and it is one of the most important tourist destinations in Spain and the world. Tenerife has been investing on knowledge economy for quite some time and the summit will help strengthening its knowledge island endeavour and strategies. The Summit aims to contribute to the discussion on the importance and trends of knowledge-based development theory and practice.

COP24 I Katowice, Poland I 3-14 December, 2018
COP24 is the informal name for the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC is a “Rio Convention”, one of three adopted at the “Rio Earth Summit” in 1992. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994. Today, it has near-universal membership. In the course of the 2018 Climate Summit Poland would like to demonstrate how neutrality in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, i.e. a balance between CO2 emissions and its sequestration by soils and forests, can be attained. 

 Let's Collect...
... so that we do not reinvent the wheel or repeat mistakes, but rather build and improve on the best practices of others. 
An Island Resilience Tool
Are you looking for specific Data or Best Practices in Disaster Risk Reduction?

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has developed a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) portal for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The portal enhances risk-reduction information and knowledge sharing for SIDS by providing an access point for the wide range of available open data, information, tools and best practices, especially for the pre-crisis or disaster phase. The portal is currently in the first phase of deployment and will be further improved and expanded with data. Are you looking for specific data or best practices? 

Take a look at the portal here.
Is the information you are looking for not included? Do you have information to share with other SIDS or ideas for the portal? Please let us know, or even better: join our SIDS-DRR focus group! Please contact:
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.

The SDG implementation process in Aruba continues...
Aruba Innovation Summit 2018

Aruba is on an ambitious path of innovation to become a more sustainable and resilient island. Led by its Chief Innovation Officer Varelie Croes, The Aruba Innovation Summit 2018 held on June 13th surfaced many ideas around eGovernment, Social Innovation, Talent Development, Entrepreneurship and a Smart Society. These insights are certainly also of value to other islands, as the Aruba Centre of Excellence for Small Island States are always looking to facilitate the sharing of good examples between islands. And as a UNDP initiative, especially important is to see the integration of the SDGs in these plans, as they are in Aruba. See the wordcloud below for what stakeholders think is needed to implement the SDGs within the community...

Additionally, find the presentation by the Aruba SDG National Commission here...

Expert Working Groups (EXWGs) &  Awareness Working Group (AWG)

The Department of Economic Affairs, Commerce & Industry (DEACI) has been preparing the introductory meetings and exercises for the Expert Working Group (EXWGs) Pillars and for aligning the SDG targets to the Government program. Also, the Ministerial Decree for the EXWGs for the pillars People, Planet and Prosperity were prepared and sent for signing to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Culture and the Minister of Education, Science and Sustainable Development.
The Awareness Working Group (AWG) continued to meet weekly to discuss the videos to raise awareness and to promote the SDGs in Aruba. The AWG also attended the Open Day of the Dutch Marine and did a survey among the attendees about the SDGs. Meetings of the secretariat of the SDG Commission took place every two weeks to prepare for the SDG Commission meetings.  
The SDG Commission planned a presentation to the SER for awareness and their possible involvement related to the SDGs. A meeting was also set up with the Department of Finance to discuss a format to include the SDGs in the Government budget.     
SDGs support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

DEACI had a great opportunity to showcase and create awareness of the SDGs at the Small Business Event on June 21st. The Small Business event was a success, with over 250 participants in attendance among whom an SDG survey was conducted. The DEACI , represented by their SDG team, was in charge of informing participants on the SDGs and conducting the survey among more than 60 participants. Some initial results from the survey: most participants find that “quality education” (SDG4) is the most important SDG for Aruba’s development, followed by “good health and well-being” (SDG3) and “industry, innovation and infrastructure” (SDG9). Nearly 97% of the participants are interested in being part of the SDG implementation process in Aruba. The DEACI will continue to provide support for the SDGs to all relevant stakeholders and will have numerous workshops and/or events planned in the near future.

Photo: DEACI at the Small Business Event promoting the SDGs 

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

 Also good to know...
Three Insightful NEWSLETTERS on islands and/or SGDs to sign up to...

Organization of American States (OAS) Scholarship Opportunities: The OAS is currently accepting online applications for scholarship as it pertains to Sustainability Practices for Tourism Leaders, under their Professional Development Scholarship Program (PDSP) to be held in October 2018 (online participation). It should be noted that the completion of a course is a requirement during the scholarship period.
Read here...

The Community of Ocean Action on the sustainable blue economy, UN DESA and WRI, will be hosting a webinar on Thursday 12th of July, together with the UNSG’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson. The purpose of this webinar is to provide insights to the Conference programme, which is taking shape, and to identify specific areas where the Blue Economy Community of Action can contribute and support this Conference. Tune in here... with 
  • Meeting number: 794 868 781
  • Meeting password: Meet1234
A new Island-island KNOWLEDGE SHARING Partnership

The Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF) recently signed a MOU with Sustainability Vanuatu in the framework of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) destination approach. Among others the MOU aims to share good practices, build capacity, pursue accreditation of national certification bodies and work on joint projects. The MOU is one of the results of last year’s conference on sustainable tourism in SIDS which took place in Seychelles. Read more here...
ALSO, STAY TUNED: We are exploring the development of a online course on Sustainable Tourism specifically designed for SIDS policymakers. 
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