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Travis Mitchell speaking at a United Nations forum

Commonwealth urges international organisations to integrate efforts at UN forum

30 July 2019

International organisations must partner-up to avoid duplication and integrate efforts that assist member countries, says the Commonwealth’s head of economic policy and small states.

Travis Mitchell was speaking at a United Nations (UN) forum for small island development states (SIDS) in Cape Verde on the theme of ‘implementation of Samoa Pathway in coherence with the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development’.

He said such partnerships were hugely important as countries have “complained about a proliferation of tools” developed by international organisations which hinders efforts to implement them effectively.

The meeting focused on gaining feedback from SIDS and international organisations while the UN develops a toolkit to assist the monitoring and evaluation of the Samoa Pathway.

The Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action, known as SAMOA Pathway, is an international framework established in 2014. It provides an agreed roadmap for supporting the development and resilience of the world’s 38 SIDS, of which 25 are Commonwealth countries.

Mr Mitchell said: “Advancement of this framework and the development of the SIDS toolkit has become increasingly important in light of the visible effects of climate change on SIDS, evidenced by a greater prevalence of extreme natural disasters in SIDS regions.”

He suggested the toolkit’s design should be simple as the Commonwealth’s experience shows over-complication can lead to confusion and underutilisation of such instruments.

Mr Mitchell continued: “While monitoring and evaluation are important, we have to be careful not to get bogged down with the development of fancy tools and mechanisms but to keep in the back of our minds the main objective, which is to drive implementation of the goals of Samoa Pathway.

“Countries have indicated their preference for the co-ordination of international organisations to limit confusion and unnecessary efforts at the national level.”

During his presentation, he emphasised that the toolkit should attract political buy-in at the highest level and should have clear success indicators.

Mr Mitchell’s interventions were based on a newly roll-out implementation toolkit for the sustainable development goals which is being utilised by several Commonwealth member countries.

Concluding his remarks, he referred to the Commonwealth’s climate finance access service as a successful international mechanism. The service deploys specialists in the ministry of a host country to assist with climate finance applications. Through this service, the Commonwealth has helped small states in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific unlock $25.7 million to tackle the effects of climate change.