On October 27th, 2015 the Government of Aruba, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), launched the Centre of Excellence for the Sustainable Development for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The COE aims to strengthen innovation and resilience in SIDS around the world. It offers a platform to exchange knowledge and experiences between developing countries (South-South cooperation), on issues such as renewable energy, climate resilience, public-private partnerships, water management, tourism, environment and public health.
“Aruba is diligently working to achieve its vision of sustainability and shared prosperity and in doing this it has built ‘know-how’ in many areas. We are truly honored that UNDP has chosen Aruba to solidify this knowledge and help share experiences with other SIDS, also boosting South-South cooperation,” said former Prime Minister Mike Eman of Aruba. “We also thank the Netherlands for their support to the UN and their understanding of how this project will benefit SIDS worldwide.”
“Sustainability, climate resilience, tackling the eradication of poverty in a multidimensional way — beyond income alone—and boosting access to finance for development are essential for SIDS,” said Jessica Faieta, UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “This Centre will be crucial to boost exchanges between Aruba and among other SIDS which have many innovative experiences that can help other island states in their path to implement and ultimately achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
SIDS are even more vulnerable than other countries to challenges related to “external shocks” ranging from debt and unemployment to climate change and sea level rise. Though all very different from each other, SIDS share crucial challenges, which make their path towards sustainable development even more complex. Climate change, for example, hits the SIDS hard – even though these countries haven’t historically been a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. Extreme exposure to natural disasters such as flooding, hurricanes, droughts, landslides and earthquakes place these countries at a particularly vulnerable position. The need to effectively manage fixed national assets and liabilities such as water, agricultural land, solid waste sites and natural resources is a challenge common to all SIDs.
The Centre of Excellence builds on Aruba’s experience in the use of sustainable development practices. Over the years, the country has developed a reputation for tackling these issues with ambitious projects, like the aim to rely solely on renewable energy by 2020. Key partners of the COE are the University of Aruba and TNO Caribbean, amongst many others.
Signing ceremony at the Green Aruba Conference in 2015 to launch the Center of Excellence on Sustainable Development for SIDS:
The COE seeks to leverage SIDS’ expertise and experience in sustainable development to provide a platform for strengthening innovation and resilience among SIDS through South-South cooperation and exchange of knowledge on sustainable practices in energy, public-private partnerships (PPP), tourism and social adoption. View signed project document here.