Oceans of Activity

The SIDSletter is a monthly publication of the Centre of Excellence (COE) for the Sustainable Development of SIDS 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.

We look back on another month packed with activities where SIDS took center stage: the Antigua conference on Financing the Resilience of SIDS, and the Samoa Pathway Review in Mauritius to name a few. Meanwhile it has been exactly one year since the Ocean Conference where the SIDS clearly made their concerns known as big ocean states.

Oceans and Resilience are obviously key topics at the 2018 regional preparatory meetings as well as an interregional meeting for SIDS to review the progress and implementation of the  SAMOA Pathway at the national and regional levels.

Preparatory Meetings take place on the following dates:

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. Read more ...

Stay tuned, as the COE will continue sharing insights from these events and others relevant ones for the benefit of SIDS worldwide.

Additionally, there will be partnership dialogues organized in the margins of the preparatory meetings as part of the SAMOA Pathway mid-term review and contributing to the SIDS Partnership Toolbox. See here: update by UNDESA on SIDS Partnerships May 2018.

SIDS Partnership Toolbox by UN  DESA

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.
Financing the Resilience of SIDS Conference 
The Governments of Belgium and Antigua & Barbuda, in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence (COE) for SIDS organized a two-day conference on Antigua that focused on the financial aspects of resilience, on disaster risk reduction and management, on climate resilient infrastructure, and on the inclusion of the private sector. It included 21 UN SIDS ambassadors and experts from a range of organizations such as CARICOM, OAS, OECD, World Bank and Clinton Foundation. For SIDS it is key to improve access to finance, to leverage available financing more innovatively, and to share experiences more structurally for the benefit of all. 

Photo: 21 UN SIDS Ambassadors participated in the "Financing the Resilience of SIDS "Conference on Antigua, together with experts from various private and public organizations.

Please find below resources from this event. It includes an outcome document which can also serve as input for the upcoming regional preparatory meetings for the high-level mid-term review at the General Assembly in September 2019 (read more on this in the introduction section of this newsletter).

Outcome "Call for Action" document:
A Selection of Presentations:
Opening Keynote speech: 

The opening keynote speech  was delivered by the UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, H.E. Peter Thomson. His message was to never underestimate the power of the Sustainable Blue Economy, including resilient island futures. Read the full speech here, as well as the highlights in a LinkedIn blogpost and UNDP article.

Photo: H.E. Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean at the "Financing the Resilience of SIDS" conference co-organized by the UNDP Centre of Excellence for SIDS based in Aruba, as well as the Governments of Antigua & Barbuda and Belgium.

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

16th ISISA Islands of the World Conference I Terschelling, The Netherlands I 10 - 14 June, 2018 
The conference will take place in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the only such site that consists in an aquatic zone shared between three countries (The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark).Themes of the conference are:
  • Identity and people;
  •  Geography and nature;
  •  Economic development and 
  •  Governance
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

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 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 Marine and Coastal Management in the island of Grenada.
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...
Regular SDG Commission meetings continued every two weeks and included many highlights. To name a few: the presentation of the Indicator Working Group (IWG): “Road to Baseline Measurement and to 2030”, feedback on the ECLAC Report of the January 2018 mission to Aruba and the new proposed Institutional Framework for the SDG Commission, presentation of the Practical Guide for the Expert Working Groups (EXWGs) and the Ministerial Decree and the Terms of Reference for Capacity Building.
The Department of Economic Affairs, Commerce & Industry (DEACI) held internal sessions to discuss - for the benefit of the work program of the EXWGs - the contribution of the Accelerators and drivers as stated in the Roadmap to the SDG targets, related to the three dimensions of Sustainable Development (economic, social and environmental). Also the Ministerial Decree for the EXWGs for the pillars People, Planet and Prosperity were prepared and shared for approval with 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 promotional materials and the videos to raise awareness and to promote the SDGs in Aruba. The AWG also attended the community Rotary Festival 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 also made presentations to the Budget coordinators of the Department of Finance, to the Socio-Economic Council and to the Advisory Board regarding awareness and their possible involvement related to the SDGs.   
Presentation by the  Indicator Working Group (IWG)

For this year’s SALISES’s academic conference, the ECLAC Sub-regional headquarters for the Caribbean joined forces with the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) of The University of the West Indies to assist the organizers with the region’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs).

The conference took place in Montego Bay Jamaica from 25-27 April 2018 and this year’s theme was “Sustainable Futures for the Caribbean: Critical Interventions and the 2030 Agenda.” As part of the co-organization, ECLAC was responsible for three sessions on the SDGs at this academic conference. Dr. Gerald (Gino) Kock, Policy Advisor at the Department of Economic Affairs, Commerce and Industry (DEACI) and Chair of the SDG Indicators Working Group (IWG) was invited to present Aruba’s Progress in Implementing the SDGs, highlighting the data journey and progress that has been made since institutionalizing the IWG.


The presentation was held during the first day of the conference and the panel was titled “The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda", chaired by Dr. Michael Witter (University of West Indies). Participants on the panel were: Aruba’s representative, Dr. Abdullahi Abdulkadri (Coordinator Statistics and Social Development Unit, ECLAC Sub regional Headquarters for the Caribbean) and Nicola Virgill-Rolle (Director of Economic Development and Planning at The Office of The Prime Minister in Bahamas).

      Photo: Panel at the 19th Annual SALISES conference “Sustainable Futures for the Caribbean: Critical Interventions and the 2030 Agenda” in Montego Bay, Jamaica 25 to 27 April 2018

During this dialogue, discussions were held with regards to the implementation challenges SIDS are facing. The audience was optimistic and is looking forward to this comprehensive framework which will assist small islands to develop policies in the best interest of advancing and shaping future research and policies for the region. Find the presentation here...

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

  Also good to know...

ALSO, STAY TUNED: We are exploring the development of a online course on Sustainable Tourism specifically designed for SIDS policymakers. 
Subscribe to the SIDSletter

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp