UNIDO and Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

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Small Island Developing States (SIDS) share many similar features, such as their small size, limited natural resources, narrow economic bases, large distance to major markets and vulnerability to climate-related disasters, which have a demonstrable effect on growth and have often led to a high degree of economic volatility.

Thirty-eight UN members have been classified as SIDS and are grouped into three broad regions: the Pacific; the Caribbean; and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea (AIMS) regions. Thirty-four of these are also members of UNIDO. Although they share development challenges, a large degree of differentiation exists among them in terms of income levels, population densities, geographic spread and relative development progress.

Adopted in 2014, the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action Pathway (SAMOA Pathway) is the overarching UN framework for guiding global, regional and national development efforts to achieve the development aspirations of SIDS and constitutes an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its related SDGs.

As a specialized agency promoting ISID, UNIDO has a comparative advantage within the UN system in addressing industry-related vulnerabilities faced by SIDS, especially in the wake of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).

UNIDO has been responding to direct requests to support several SIDS in addressing their vulnerabilities through a large but yet uncoordinated number of technical interventions, among others related to waste management; development and utilization of renewable energy; export promotion through diversification and compliance to international standards; developing quality infrastructure; building resilience to environmental shocks; mobilizing development finance; agriculture, agri-business and fisheries; and institution-building combined with industrial policy development.

UNIDO’s SIDS Strategy (2019-2025)

Against this backdrop and taking into consideration UNIDO’s commitment to the SAMOA Pathway, the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, the Paris Agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the recommendations provided in the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) report on the review of the UN system’s support for SIDS, UNIDO has formulated the SIDS strategy 2019-2025 to streamline and strengthen its interventions to accelerate Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID) in SIDS.

The Strategy, which was adopted at UNIDO’s General Conference in 2019 in Abu Dhabi, focuses on addressing SIDS’ vulnerabilities as compiled by UN DESA – which is the UN entity coordinating the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway – through the Organization’s four thematic priorities.

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UNIDO rolls out its strategy through multi-disciplinary initiatives, multi-country regional interventions and multi-stakeholder partnerships, thus ensuring thematic comprehensiveness, regional convergence and coherence of action. To facilitate operationalization, the SIDS strategy also identifies the means of, and a roadmap for, implementation.

UNIDO’s approach to multi-disciplinary initiatives is best embodied in its Country Programme (CP) and Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) models to accelerate ISID in Member States.

The CPs are well established in UNIDO’s Member States, including SIDS, and are renewed and adapted in multi-year cycles according to national and regional priorities. They are formulated to improve resource mobilization, strengthen national and international partnerships, enhance synergies among UNIDO technical services and align assistance priorities with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). They define the scope of UNIDO’s interventions and steer the delivery of programmes and projects in key thematic areas identified by the national governments. They also provide a practical guiding instrument for potential donors and a clear monitoring and reporting framework of the results achieved.

In addition, and where applicable, the PCP is recognized as an effective model to further integrate and scale up UNIDO’s multidisciplinary interventions in Member States within a framework of multi-stakeholder cooperation and high-level ownership by the government. 

UNIDO’s approach to promoting ISID in SIDS will target them as groups while also focusing on individual countries, thereby tailoring interventions to each country’s specific needs.

Taking into consideration the distinctive geographical features and size of SIDS, regional and sub-regional approaches to development have been found to be effective, among others, given the ability to generate economies of scale. Regional and sub-regional programmes – including, eventually, a regional PCP in SIDS – will help to strengthen inter- governmental partnerships for increased synergies, resource sharing and knowledge and technology transfer. They will also aim to improve the policymaking capabilities of each country to create a suitable regulatory environment. Cooperation and integration among SIDS and relevant organizations will ensure that positive effects will be sustainable and scaled up after completion of the programmes.

In line with the Organization’s PCP approach, multi-stakeholder partnerships will play a key role in leveraging additional investment for SIDS in selected priority sectors.

UNIDO’s approach will place a premium on South-South and triangular partnerships. It will build upon established partnerships with regional organizations and seek to foster new cooperation with relevant stakeholders, particularly in the energy sector. The Organization will further strengthen its engagement with sub-regional entities such as the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Pacific Community (SPC), the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and its initiative the Small Island Sustainable Energy and Climate Resilience Organization (SIDS DOCK), among others.

The coordination of UN system-wide actions for the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway is of particular importance. Such coordination takes place through the Executive Committee of Economic and Social Affairs Plus (ECESA+), of which UNIDO is a member.

The UN System Implementation Matrix towards the achievement of the SAMOA Pathway captures priority areas for actions by UN entities as well as associated lead responsibility and links to existing and new partnerships. It is being continuously updated and serves as an accountability framework and working tool to promote and monitor progress.

The Strategy’s means of implementation are aligned with SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Agenda and include: financing, partnerships, trade, capacity-building, technology and data and statistics.

The Strategy will assist donor Member States, Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), UN country teams, and other development stakeholders by facilitating effective contributions and efficient technical assistance to SIDS, in particular within the UN system.

Interventions in SIDS

As of March 2020, UNIDO is implementing 42 country and regional-level Technical Cooperation (TC) projects in 16 SIDS, for an overall budget of more than USD 45 million. UNIDO’s activities are focused on four priority areas of the SAMOA Pathway document, namely:

  • Sustainable, inclusive and equitable economic growth
  • Climate change (including chemical and waste management)
  • Sustainable energy
  • Means of implementation
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UNIDO PROJECTS

UNIDO's Open Data Platform is a transparency initiative, which provides details on all ongoing programmes and projects.

Learn more about UNIDO Projects

Impact Stories

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    Lack of resources, weak institutional capacity and inadequate regulatory frameworks have been stumbling blocks for the Caribbean region when it comes to chemicals and waste management. With Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) representing a very real threat to human health and the environment, BCRC-Caribbean is driving a UNIDO-GEF regional project to address these barriers.

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Initiatives in Focus

Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres (GN-SEC)

GN-SEC is an innovative South-South and triangular multi-stakeholder partnership aiming to accelerate the energy and climate transformation by creating economies of scales and spill-over effects between countries. The centres work towards the creation of integrated regional markets for sustainable energy and climate technology products and services by setting targets, policies, standards and incentives, as well as by de-risking investments through the provision of reliable data, analytics, bundling of projects and convening power.

The gradually expanding partnership among others comprises a sub-network of centers for the African and the Arab region in cooperation with the EAC, SADC, ECOWAS and the Arab League, and a sub-network for SIDS together with SIDS DOCK, CARICOM and SPC.

Climate and Technology Centre and Network (CTCN)

Hosted by UNIDO and UNEP within the framework of the UNFCCC, CTCN promotes the accelerated transfer of environmentally sound technologies for low carbon and climate resilient development at the request of developing countries. It provides technology solutions, capacity building and advice on policy, legal and regulatory frameworks tailored to the needs of individual countries.

Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN)

PFAN is a global network of climate and clean energy financing experts that bridges the gap between entrepreneurs developing climate and clean energy solutions and private sector investors. The aim is to build clean energy markets one business at a time, mitigate climate change and mobilize private investment in support of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs.

News and Events

  • SAMOA Pathway Midterm Review: “Mission Transforming Island Lives! The Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres for Small Island Developing States”
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    NEW YORK, 27 September 2019 – On the occasion of the Samoa Pathway Midterm Review, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Small Island Sustainable Energy and Climate Resilience Organization (SIDS DOCK) and the United Nations Office of the High Representative for Least De

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  • UNIDO and Vanuatu to strengthen partnership on innovative financing
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    ABU DHABI, 2 November 2019 – During the 8th Least Developed Countries’ Ministerial Conference organized together with the 18th Session of the UNIDO General Conference, LI Yong, the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and Jotham Napat Nauka, the De

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  • European Union voices support for Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres
    European Union voices support for Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres

    VIENNA, October 3 2018 – A high-level conference on “Regional Cooperation to Accelerate Sustainable Energy Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries” has concluded with a strong international commitment of support to the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres (GN-SE

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  • Norway announces two million dollars in support for the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
    Norway announces two million dollars in support for the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

    BOE, 6 September 2018 – Today, at the 49th Pacific Islands Forum held in Nauru, Norway announced a US$2m commitment to support the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) for the recently created Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE). Nikolai Astrup

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Contact Information

For more information on UNIDO’s engagement with SIDS, please contact: sids@unido.org