Small island states to take funding plan to U.N.

Small island developing states will be making a united appeal this week for the international community to mobilise more resources in the fight against climate change.

The small island developing states (S.I.D.S) are a group of 52 countries across the Pacific, Caribbean, Atlantic, Mediterranean and South China Sea, working together on a joint development agenda.

They are meeting at the United Nations in New York this week to to review the landmark small island developing states plan.

In 2014, they forged the S.I.D.S Accelerated Modalities of Action (S.A.M.O.A) Pathway in Samoa, which addressed everything from development in the face of small economies to the impact of climate change.

Five years on, many of these priorities remain unmet. The mid-term review will highlight which ones need urgent attention, and where some successes have been. 

In their declaration to the review, agreed on during regional and inter-regional preparatory meetings late last year, the members make several urgent calls to action regarding funding.

At the closing of a preparatory meeting in advance of this week's summit, hosted in Samoa in October 2018, Chair Peseta Noumea Simi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Finance said it was incumbent S.I.D.S to ensure the pathway is not sidelined.

“We should guard against our purposely-tailored development pathway from being buried, side-lined or even compromised by competing agendas of global significance in an environment of finite resources,” she said.

“We are aware of the gaps and where our focused attention should go and that there will always be associated challenges. 

“But we know that it can be done.”

The S.I.D.S. call upon the international community to muster development finance from “all sources and at all levels” to support their development efforts, and to work on the “significant obstacles” remittances flows face.

Also of note is the a statement of commitment to exploring “innovative financial instruments and mechanisms,” such as debt for development or debt for climate adaptation swaps. Notwithstanding the exploration of debt financing the bloc said it would remain "mindful of the need to ease debt burdens with a view to improving small island developing states access to finance.”

Supporting the S.I.D.S to react to climate change should be done without risking debt sustainability, the declaration states.

The members also highlight that their countries are still struggling to engage in multilateral trade, which is a major economic driver. Member countries want an environment which attracts foreign direct investment and financing, alongside capacity support to create that.

International aid also features on the agenda. The countries declare “income-only” assessments as being limited by the difficulty of assessing accurately whether a state qualifies for "low-income" status, and therefore what international aid, grants or loans they are eligible for.

Middle income countries need better analysis of their “complex and diverse realities,” especially when it comes to affordable financing for their development, the document states. 

Graduation, or when a country moves from one income status to the next, “must not disrupt a country’s development progress,” the declaration states. As countries graduate they need a better transition strategy to mitigate against possibly losing financing, or falling into debt as a result of the graduation. 

When it comes to climate change and disaster related funding, the members are calling for a potential voluntary disaster fund, mechanism or financial instrument to specifically help S.I.D.S recover from a disaster and manage disaster risk too.

The countries also want the Green Climate Fund to be replenished to help low-emission and climate-resilient development.

Their calls to action include demanding “urgent and ambitious global action in line with the Paris Agreement to address the threat and impact of climate change on small island developing States,” which should mitigate the costlier impacts of the crisis.

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