Photo: Presiding over the Focal Points meeting yesterday, from left to right: Francesco La Camera (Italy’s minister for environment, land and sea), Heidi Schroderus-Fox (Director UN-ORLLS), Faimalotoa Kika Iemaima Stowers (Minister for Women, Community and Social Development in Samoa), Ali Naseer Mohammed (UN Representative for Maldives, chair AOSIS) and Liu Zhenmin (USG UN-DESA).
In an effort to better coordinate SAMOA Pathway initiatives, a team of delegates developed a list of national focal points on Monday.
Leading the development of the focal points was Heidi Schroderus-Fox, Director of the Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).
Ms. Schroderus-Fox said she was impressed by the enthusiasm she saw and the ideas she heard in the session on focal points.
“We are going back to New York with a lot of homework,” she said.
The idea for the focal points began when some member States said there was a need for better coordination of what countries are doing nationally, what regional organisations are doing and what the U.N. agencies are doing in support of the SAMOA Pathway.
“The mandate was given to our office (O.H.R.L.L.S.) to ensure better coordination and also coherence in implementing the SAMOA Pathway and sustainable development goals, which is the big U.N. agenda,” Ms. Schroderus-Fox said.
The system of national focal points has been in use across least developed countries for some time now, she added, and has successfully coordinated people working at the ground level in these nations and ensuring they are in regular contact.
“They get together once or twice a year, together with the U.N. system to talk about how they are implementing, what are their lessons learned, what their capacity is and so on.”
Following the successful launch of the small island version of the concept, Ms. Schroderus-Fox said it’s time to think about how to implement the expectations of the member states.
“It was a very good, positive concrete move that has come out of this SAMOA Pathway meeting,” she said.
“The thing is always to keep at it. We cannot always have these big meetings; the important thing is what happens between the meetings where we continue working on the partnerships that exist and finding new partnerships as well.”
The UN-OHRLLS acts as a contact point between nations to help develop partnerships, and even engaging the private sector in these relationships as well, Ms. Schroderus-Fox added.