Second Meeting of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Practitioners Network

34 SIDS are coming together to share solutions on climate and disaster resilient development in Cancun from 21st to 23rd of May prior to the UNISDR’s Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction.


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and associated targets, has provided a unique opportunity for building resilience in all countries and communities – such that no one is left behind. The commitment to building resilience is reinforced by the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction—which were also agreed on in 2015—and the Samoa Pathway adopted in 2014. These agreements and processes, taken together, present a powerful set of instruments for addressing the special challenges faced by the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) which are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and geo-hazards.

Over the last few years, it has also become clear that although there is extensive discussions on climate and disaster resilient solutions, they are not being adopted in SIDS to scale. The reason seems to include limited linkages between the normal development processes and the government staff who are responsible for climate resilient project and programs. It is thus proving to be important to bring together representatives of the Ministries of Finance and Planning who have the overall responsibility for development as well as those from the technical Ministries and agencies. There is also a need to bring together many of the development partners to meet the ambition of coherent and scaled up efforts for climate and disaster resilient development in SIDS. To this end, the World Bank and GFDRR, through SISRI, have joined forces with UNISDR and UNDESA to organize a meeting that brings together 100 practitioners from 34 SIDS to share solutions on climate and disaster resilient development and agencies that support such efforts. The meeting is just prior to the UNISDR’s Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico – May 2017.

The program presented here has been developed jointly with practitioners from SIDS to ensure that the knowledge and lessons most relevant to their work is being shared and there is an opportunity to share challenges and seek solutions from peers on making development climate and disaster resilient. The meeting will also include presentations of innovative designs and solutions being implemented in small island states from experts and practitioners from all over the world.

Meeting Objectives

  • To exchange experiences and good practices developed by small island states to make development climate and disaster resilient;
  • To facilitate peer-to-peer learning so as to support effective design and implementation of climate and disaster resilient investments and policy interventions;
  • To further strengthen the community of practice between small island states’ practitioners; and
  • Identify synergistic solutions and actions for building resilience and reducing climate and disaster risk and contribute to achieving the SDGs and the Sendai targets in SIDS.

Expected Outcome

The major outcome will be peer-to-peer learning on practical solutions to challenges SIDS face from climate and disaster risks to their people, economies and ecosystems. A summary will highlight key points from the discussions, propose recommendations and next steps, based on lessons learned and good practices shared at the meeting.

The summary report will be presented to multiple platforms, including: (a) Global Platform for DRR and the relevant sessions during its meeting in Cancun (22-26 May 2017); (b) High Level Political Forum (HLPF) which will serve as an input to the 2017 discussions on sustainable development and on a number of SDGs at its session, (c) Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage; and (d) the World Bank-GFDRR Practitioner Network through the website of the Small Island States Resilience Initiative (SISRI).

First Meeting of the SISRI Practitioners Network
The first Practitioners Network meeting was held at the margins of the Understanding Risk Forum in May 2016 to share good practices and facilitate peer-to-peer learning to strengthen design and implementation of climate- and disaster-resilient development. Practitioners highlighted the insights gained and how they expect to apply these for their national policies and projects They also expressed a need to continue the exchange of solutions and information through a virtual network and face-to-face meetings when possible, preferably in conjunction with other major climate and disaster resilience events. As a result, a virtual platform was set up and these discussions have continued through the platform. They have concerned practices and solutions related to investment planning and institutional coordination, risk-informed land-use planning, as well as solutions on resilient infrastructure, coastal protection, social protection, and risk financing. The 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction provides an opportunity to bring together these practitioners, but also enlarge the discussion through also the countries that UN organizations support.
About the Small Island States Resilience Initiative (SISRI)
The World Bank and GFDRR’s Small Island Resilience Initiative (SISRI) was launched at the UN SIDS meeting in Samoa in 2014 and is an integral part of the SAMOA Pathway. SISRI’s objective is to provide support to reduce climate and disaster risks to populations, assets, ecosystems and economies in small island states. SISRI supports 25 island countries where the World Bank is already engaged including those in African/Indian, Caribbean and Pacific region.
Based on extensive knowledge from investment and policy support, SISRI has developed a framework with three major building blocks that are critical components of strengthening climate and disaster resilience in small island states. These building blocks are: i) Enhancing institutional capacity and coordination across sectors, ii) Support for effective management of operations and iii) Technical interventions that range from early warning, coastal resilience and financial protection. SISRI builds on an extensive ongoing program of assistance on climate and disaster resilience to small island states implemented through the World Bank, averaging about US$180 million a year. SISRI also supports analytical work, synthesis of knowledge and good practices in small island states and facilitates the sharing of such knowledge. As part of the knowledge sharing, SISRI has established a community of practice within the World Bank and a Practitioners Network from government agencies and other stakeholders in small island states.