Fifty representatives from the Government of Samoa and Tokelau, together with civil society organizations, private sector, United Nations agencies and other development partners gathered last Thursday at the Tatte Building, in Apia, to attend the consultation organized by the United Nations Country Team in Samoa.
This was the first of fourteen national consultations on the new UN Pacific Strategy 2018-2022. Over the next three months, similar consultations will be undertaken across the Pacific to ensure that the UN’s collective response is in line with national and regional development priorities.
The session was chaired by Ms. Lizbeth Cullity, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative and Ms. Peseta Noumea Simi, CEO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Chair of the National Taskforce on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At the opening, Ms. Simi expressed appreciation for the progress made by the UN on “Delivering as One” through joint programming and more coordinated actions but called for continued improvement. Mr. Hesed Lauano, from the Ministry of Finance, presented the Strategy for the Development of Samoa and highlighted that all the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are aligned to the national priorities and key outcomes.
Participants were divided into four groups to debate and provide recommendations on how the UN could work in partnership with government, civil society and private sector to contextualize and implement the SDGs during the 2018-2022 cycle. Groups were asked to focus on topics such as inclusive economic growth, nutrition, health, sustainable consumption, environment, climate change, disaster risk reduction, education and equality.
Consensus was reached on the need for the UN in Samoa to focus on improving the lives of the most vulnerable groups by investing on economic, social and political empowerment, and making sure that everyone can benefit from the overall progress of the country revolving on the SDGs main principle of leaving no one behind. The participants also emphasised the need for the UN to strengthen the “Delivering as One” approach and to identify how best to add value to face the existing challenges. There was also a strong call for better coordination and wider partnership between public sector, private sector and civil society, and for more inclusive awareness programmes.
Key recommendations from the consultations will serve as building blocks for the UN Pacific Strategy (UNPS) 2018-2022. The new strategy will be formally endorsed next January by the governments of the Pacific countries and the United Nations.