Assessment of Financing for Sustainable Development and the Achievement of the Samoa Pathway

November 23, 2021

This report by the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) provides statistical data and an analytical overview of the external financial flows to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) for sustainable development and the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Agenda, primarily from its adoption in 2014 until the Midterm Review in 2019. The assessment focuses on SIDS need for concessional finance and international support for SIDS, in particular for climate change action and also for responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The evaluation also includes background information on sustainable development in SIDS, focusing on their shared vulnerabilities and systemic challenges, which must underpin international support, including to achieve the SAMOA Pathway, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

  • SIDS have long been recognized in UN policy documents as vulnerable and in need of special treatment in the UN development system. However, targeted support for SIDS is lacking, jeopardizing the SDGs’ and the SAMOA Pathway’s achievement.
  • A perfect storm is sweeping over SIDS comprised of COVID-19, external debt, climate change, collapse of tourism and natural disasters threatening lives and abilities to achieve sustainable development. The combination of shocks in SIDS is severe and many are quickly moving from a liquidity to a solvency crisis. The IFIs project continued reduction in revenue for SIDS governments highlighting the urgent need for international action.
  • While revenues collapse, debt servicing costs to developed countries and private companies are hindering essential government spending in SIDS, forcing an inhumane choice between salaries and debt servicing in the midst of a global pandemic.
  • SIDS are still highly dependent on development aid, in particular in the Pacific and specific AIS and Caribbean SIDS. However, many Middle Income SIDS are not eligible for concessionary finance despite their recognized vulnerabilities, including natural disasters and climate hazards.
  • Climate financing does not meet the needs in SIDS, despite continuous recognition of their special vulnerabilities. Low investments in resilience and adaptation in SIDS, and crucially mitigation globally, will lead to an increasing need for Loss and Damage compensation from developed countries in the long run in line with the Paris Agreement.
  • Remittances are of increasing importance in SIDS as Foreign Direct Investment and concessionary finance have been stable or falling. Reducing transfer costs would significantly benefit SIDS.