SAMOA Pathway: the final stretch to the mid-term review
In the beginning there was the Agenda 21, the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development that recognizes the need "to adopt and implement plans and programmes to support the sustainable development and utilization of their marine and coastal resources, including meeting essential human needs, maintaining biodiversity and improving the quality of life for island people" as well as the need to adopt "measures which will enable small island developing States to cope effectively, creatively and sustainably with environmental change and to mitigate impacts and reduce the threats posed to marine and coastal resources". Then came the Barbados Programme of Action (1994, 1999), Mauritius Strategy for the Implementation of the Barbados Plan of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island States (2005, 2010) conferences, which tried to tackle threats to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and increase resiliency. The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action pathway (SAMOA, 2014) confirmed that “… in spite of the considerable efforts (…) their progress in the attainment of the internationally agreed development goals, (…) has been uneven, and some have regressed economically.”..
SAMOA is a 10-year program and its mid-term is approaching. UN General Assembly (UNGA) decided to conduct a High Level Review in September 2019 to evaluate the progress to targets. This topic is so important that it will last no less than one full day and will result in “a concise action oriented and inter-governmentally agreed political declaration”. With so many resources spent and such an ambitious outcome, we could wonder if small islands with their population, their cultures and their endemic terrestrial and marine species are really a priority for the United Nations. After all, SAMOA recognized in 2014 “that sea-level rise and other adverse impacts of climate change (…), represent the gravest of threats to their survival and viability, including (…) through the loss of territory.”. So, if there are no more SIDS, do we still need to save them? No more islands, no more problems.
Emeric Nicolas, Head of Data Science
Sources: Beyond Ratings, UN