In 2021, amid the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) of ESCAP have re-affirmed their solid commitment to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA Pathway). Pacific member States also showed strong leadership in voicing the challenges and concerns affecting PSIDS that required concerted regional and global action at various platforms.
One such platform was the 8th Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) held in March 2021which was chaired by the Fiji Minister of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation. Participating member States welcomed contributions made to the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19 and called for increased collaboration around priority areas, taking into consideration the 2019 High-Level Mid-Term Review for the SAMOA Pathway. The Forum also noted that climate change remained the greatest threat to PSIDS and requested better access to climate finance and adaptive capacity building, referencing the ‘Pacific 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent’.
At the 77th Session of the ESCAP Commission held in April 2021, PSIDS leaders including those of Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Fiji, stressed the importance of regional action for building back better from crises in the Asia Pacific region, and particularly for broadening social protection and strengthening connectivity for promoting recovery from COVID-19.
Last but not least, PSIDS participated in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) to urge the global community to step up efforts to achieve the Paris Agreement, as PSIDS, while least responsible for carbon emissions would bear the worst impacts of climate change. At the same time, the side event on climate mobility organized by ESCAP and PCCM-HS Partners made it clear that the Pacific would do everything possible collectively to survive sea-level rise and the climate emergency.
With 2030 rapidly approaching, progress on achieving the SAMOA Pathway and the SDGs have been hampered by the triple crisis of COVID-19, natural disasters and fragile economies related to the inherent vulnerabilities of small island developing states.
This short publication is an important way of ESCAP’s expressing its support to the efforts of the PSIDS to implement of the SDGs and the SAMOA Pathway in the Pacific, and lists for the information of the readers the key projects and activities ESCAP has worked on in 2021 in close collaboration with our Pacific member States, Pacific regional organisations, and the UN family in the Pacific.
There will be regular updates on ESCAP’s work in an effort to strengthen communication and build deeper and wider connections with member States in the Pacific and key stakeholders.