Aruba launches Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Development for Small Island States

Oct 28, 2015

Oranjestad, Aruba, 27 October 2015 - The Government of Aruba, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), launched today a Centre of Excellence for the Sustainable Development for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The Centre aims to strengthen innovation and resilience in SIDS—in the Caribbean and beyond. It will offer a platform to exchange knowledge and experiences between developing countries (South-South cooperation), including 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 Minister President 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 in the Caribbean and beyond,” 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, Caribbean SIDS share crucial challenges, which make their path towards sustainable development even more complex. Climate change, for example, hits the Caribbean 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.

Contact Information

In Trinidad: Sharon Ramsaran, Sharon.ramsaran@undp.org

In New York: Carolina Azevedo, Carolina.azevedo@undp.org

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