Date: 22 July 2016
Suva – Samoa needs a legal framework to facilitate meaningful civil society engagement in the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and ensure that no part of Samoan society is left behind.
These sentiments were echoed at the Action for Sustainable Development (A4SD) facilitated side event at the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York this week, by Samoa Umbrella for Non Governmental Organisation (SUNGO), President, Roina Faatauvaa-Vavatau.
Ms Vavatau was presenting a civil society perspective on national processes for engaging civil society organisations (CSOs) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) work in Samoa at a session titled, “How can we ensure that no one is left behind promise is delivered? Connecting national perspectives to enable mutual learning and joint action” in New York, US.
Samoa is the first and only Pacific island country from the 22 countries that volunteered to spearhead the review of global agenda.
“The civil society perspective has been the outcome of the Samoa civil societies SDGs consultations that was held in Apia on June 23rd June, 2016 through an initiative of the UNDP Regional office.”
According to Vavatau, the aim of the consultation was to “gauge feedback from both CSOs and private sector on the question of “How can UN support the implementation of SDG?”.
“Though it was a UN initiative, it nevertheless provided an avenue for awareness raising and dialogue on SDG implementation on how CSOs and private sector can best make intervention into the SDGs implementation process.
Vavatau said some of the issues raised by Samoan CSOs at the government held consultation were the need to increase awareness and capacity level to minimize gaps between the actors, localisation of indicators and conducting research and data collection to identify gaps and measure progress.
“In Samoa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the focal point for the SDGs implementation, whereas department of statistics is tasked with the data collection.”
“The implementation modality adopted by Samoa has been that SDG Goals have been integrated and aligned with the Samoa Development Priorities (SDS 2016-2020).”
“SDS has several sectors and outcome of these sectoral reviews will inform the SDG progress. CSO intervention are made through these sectoral reviews,” she said.
“There is still a need to improve the partnership and facilitate a more meaningful and genuine dialogue so that there is commitment to ensuring no one is left behind” said Vavatau.
Vavatau’s participation in New York at the HLPF was facilitated by Pacific Islands Association of NGOs (PIANGO) engagement with A4SD.
Alanieta Vakatale from the PIANGO secretariat was also in New York with Vavatau to participate at Action for Sustainable Development organised workshops over the week to plan engagement in the monitoring and implementation activities for the SDGs and Paris Agreement.