SIDS Bulletin 62

Benjamin Keller
Benjamin Keller • 22 August 2022

Issue 62 | 18 August 2022

The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway was designed for the sustainable development aspirations for the SIDS decade 2015–2025, integrating earlier frameworks including the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy. A framework of indicators would establish clear benchmarks to allow the tracking of progress against regional and global benchmarks and alignment to the 232 indicators for the SDGs and other global development policy documents such as the SENDAI and Financing for Development frameworks.

Statistical capacity-building and support of SIDS’ data infrastructure are crucial, including digital tools such as geospatial platforms, applied machine learning, digital infrastructure, and support for country-level and regional open data portals. Challenges in technical capacity and availability of data in SIDS due to their demographic and geographic characteristics have limited monitoring frameworks. But, much more data does exist than is being effectively utilized. A key support needed for SIDS is in the discovery and access to existing data to allow proper identification, analysis, and integration of these data into policymaking and monitoring systems. To enable the full potential of existing data, it is essential to support the strengthening of national and regional data systems through access to the latest digital tools and technologies.

In these regards, the Wadadli Action Platform was held in Antigua and Barbuda from 8 to 9 August 2022 with the goal to transform ambition and commitments for enhancing resilience in SIDS into urgent and concrete actions. Sessions focused on the role of the MVI, access to finance, climate change adaptation and resilience, promoting gender parity and inclusion for people with disabilities, and leveraging indigenous knowledge and nature-based solutions - all within the general framing of the central role of data. In this bulletin we present innovations and perspectives linked to these issues, key to supporting SIDS in refining their development strategies for accelerating their bluer and greener recovery.

 

A new innovative SIDS Data Platform

Image: UNDP SIDS Data Platform

 

As a new component of the UNDP SIDS Offer, Rising Up For SIDS, UNDP has developed the SIDS Data Platform to provide policymakers, research institutions, UNDP country offices, and other development agents with freely available access to updated, standardized, and comprehensive data. The SIDS Data Platform is a key instrument for supporting SIDS in following up on the SAMOA Pathway and for developing the next iteration of SIDS’ development pathway by helping them identify and quantify their priorities for the 4th SIDS Conference in 2024. 

The visualization and analytic features of the SIDS Data Platform will help SIDS in rising up to their urgent challenges. The SIDS data platform features a new database of country-level indicators compiled from 22 databases and research studies, and these indicators are presented in analytic tools, country profiles, and through a customizable version of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index. The data platform also features a GIS portal with geospatial datasets from over 80 research studies and databases, all presented custom interface and visualization and analytic tools to allow development agents to been able to discover, access, visualize, analyze, and export this data.

The SIDS Data Platform features machine learning models that impute the indicator datasets to provide an interactive interface for testing modelling approaches for filling in gaps in the database. The platform is available on desktop and with special interfaces built for mobile, so this data is available at the fingertips of policymakers and development agents. The platform is also to be released in four languages – English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese – to make it more accessible and effective in capacity-building. 

 

Country Corner

Image: Commons Wikimedia

Aruba has emerged as a leader in data-driven policy through a monitoring framework of indicators

Aruba has emerged as a model for sustainable development through the creation of a knowledge management ecosystem. To deal with challenges of centralizing data to a single official source to be utilized across scales and institutions, the Aruban government passed a Ministerial Decree institutionalizing the National SDG Commission and the SDG Aruba Indicator Working Group (AIWG) who released a baseline of 230+ Global Monitoring Indicators in 2021. This was based on monitoring targets through its SDG Framework and Roadmap, which help to localize the SDGs and anchor them in a national framework that can support local Aruba policymakers to deliver on local priorities. 

The Aruba Sustainable Development Goals Indicators 2021 give an overview of new baselines, available time series of existing indicators on Aruba, and the analyses of trends relating to the SDGs and SAMOA Pathway. These provide information for monitoring of progress and setting of concrete national targets. The formation of a National Statistical System (NSS) and a National Strategy for Development of Statistics (NSDS) are key for SIDS in advancing their data infrastructure. A robust follow-up and review mechanism for the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway through a solid framework of indicators and statistics is essential to inform policy and ensure accountability of all stakeholders. 

Aruba is a leader for SIDS to establish monitoring systems, in answer to the call from the SAMOA Pathway (112-115) as it reaffirms “the role that data and statistics play in development planning of SIDS and the need for the United Nations system to collect statistics from SIDS and calling on the UN and its specialized agencies and relevant intergovernmental organizations … to support a SIDS Sustainable Development Statistics and Information Programme”. The new SIDS Data Platform will help SIDS to advance towards these goals and implement further data-driven initiatives to help advance a global SIDS data ecosystem.  

 

Image: Andrew Moore

Antigua and Barbuda is leading in innovative mechanisms for climate finance

To face their unique economic, environmental and social challenges on their own to build resilience and enhance sustainable development, SIDS have taken leadership in navigating innovative financing mechanisms to secure more financing for climate mitigation and adaptation. Antigua and Barbuda, as chair of the Alliance of Small Island States and holder of the SIDS seat on the Green Climate Fund Board, has been a long-time leader on climate action and has been innovating in climate finance to help address the challenges and vulnerabilities in SIDS. The Wadadli Action Platform held in Antigua and Barbuda provided a valuable forum for SIDS stakeholders to coalesce on clear action paths that address their immediate needs in addressing climate change, debt sustainability, and overcoming the digital divide. 

Antigua and Barbuda has adopted a multifaceted and holistic approach through the development of robust climate finance pipeline in order to achieve its national development priorities and NDC targets. Debt-for-climate swaps are an important mechanism in this approach, to allow creditors to discount national debt and allocate the debt payment to further climate action. Antigua and Barbuda has continued to enhance the capacity and required policy, institutional, and regularity frameworks to improve access to climate finance. A resource mobilisation strategy that incorporates different climate finance sources, including multilateral, bilateral, private sector, and philanthropic sources has helped to leverage technical assistance and provide a flexible financial system. Access to innovative finance includes blended instruments, financing for conservation and thematic bonds, catalysing private sector investment and leveraging domestic resources. SIDS are advancing these partnerships for accelerating progress towards the SAMOA Pathway Priorities and in their bluer and greener recovery. 

 

Image: WHO/Yoshi Shimizu

How Kiribati is ensuring equality in access to health services 

Kiribati is among the most remote of SIDS in the Pacific, and includes a significant marine area dispersed across 3.5 million square kilometers of ocean. Among the challenges of remoteness is the equitable access to and delivery of medical services and supplies to its population. Due to the unique characteristics and nature of SIDS, many face potential impact of disease outbreaks among their populations. In SIDS, the COVID-19, along with other health effects of climate change, Noncommunicable Diseases, and malnutrition have further deteriorated sustainable development goals.  However, COVID-19 has also been an important trigger for accelerating the digitalization for health response systems, which have been quickly adapted in SIDS due to the nimble size and lack of outdated legacy systems. 

To face their challenges in public health Kiribati has developed new digital modalities for quick response and live monitoring to improve its health supply chain management. For the first time, Kiribati has created a comprehensive database of the national essential medical supplies, including equipment, medicines, and consumables, to build the capacity of Kiribati’s health system. Kiribati is also working on improving the infrastructure and equipment of its hospitals and clinics, as well as providing training to health workers in order to build their capacities while enhancing the country’s health information systems. Kiribati is integrating these advancements with digital systems to monitor the infrastructure and connect its citizens with this new health network. UNDP has been supporting digitalization of public health systems in many SIDS, such as in Guinea-Bissau in which over 145 health facilities have been digitized since 2014, significantly improving the mapping, prevention, and treating of outbreaks real-time. Furthermore, by use of indicators to track medical challenges, solutions are being more effectively targeted and efficient to respond to the unique challenges of SIDS. 

 

 

Read the rest here - SIDS Bulletin 62

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