As a new year begins, the possibilities for what we can do when we rise up together as a global community seem bright. The leadership shown by SIDS continues to push the world towards this better future. This momentum will be carried forward as SIDS are concluding 10 years of the SAMOA Pathway and preparing for the 2024 Fourth International Conference on SIDS. In times of increasing global uncertainty caused by planetary pressures, 2023 will be a pivotal year for SIDS to reflect on their progress and identify action areas for the new development pathway, with much to look forward to and opportunities for real change and impact.
Economies throughout the world, and mostly in SIDS, rely on and impact ocean health, demonstrating the significance of embracing sustainable blue economy pathways. But as sea levels continue to rise and oceans continue to warm, breaking devastating records every year, action will be imperative. Ambassador Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary-General Special Envoy for the Ocean reminded us that 2022 was a “Super Year for agreements to stop the decline in the Ocean’s health” and that it was time for “Member States, NGOs, philanthropies, the scientific community and the private sector to get to work in 2023 implementing these agreements.” On conservation of marine ecosystems, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos from the perspective of SIDS Youth, Brooke Hadeed – Global Shaper, Port of Spain Hub – stated that SIDS need assistance in making use of their unique knowledge to address ocean health degradation, given their limited resources. “It’s everybody’s problem."
But a successful blue economy does not only depend on action to conserve and effectively manage the oceans. It also depends on the development of a sustainable green development trajectory that reduces land-based drivers of ocean degradation through a whole-of-island approach. Crucial sectors for action include food, tourism, and urban, where nature-based solutions can be applied to promote long-term sustainability and security.
Digitalization and financing have been identified as a key area to be prioritized in the new SIDS Pathway during the Wadadli Action Platform organized by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in Antigua and Barbuda. Data and digital technologies will continue to be an important enabler by facilitating action through economic diversification and innovation for full utilization of SIDS unique development opportunities. Access to innovative and sustainable financing will also be key to addressing operationalizing these agreements to rebound from COVID-19 and build forward better.
We hope that our summary below of trends we expect for sustainable development this year in SIDS will serve as a source of motivation and inspiration for the global obstacles yet to be overcome. We also want to emphasize the importance of embracing the whole-of-SIDS strategy that has empowered climate action at the regional and community levels to develop harmonious relationships with our oceans and planet.
Read the full 2023 and Beyond SIDS Bulletin.