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Boosting development capacity in Small Island States
07 August 2009 / 10:11

[Dateline: New York | Author: DESA]Signing ceremony (Credit: DESA)

A new US$2.8 million project that will bring cutting-edge technology to small island nations was signed into action on 4 August 2009 by the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).


The project entitled “Capacity Development through Education for Sustainable Development and Knowledge Management for Small Island Developing States (SIDS)” will allow a remote and vulnerable group of countries to create a pool of local and international expertise that can be tapped to address a wide range of development challenges, like limited connectivity, access to affordable technology, and institutional and human resources.


Mr. Sha Zukang expressed his profound gratitude to the Kingdom of Spain. “This project will help pave the way for a renewed and mutually enriching collaboration between the people and governments of SIDS, the Kingdom of Spain and DESA,” he said.


The project will revitalize the Small Island Developing States Network (SIDSNet), creating a much needed central knowledge management system and information clearing house.


These resources will improve access to data and information vital to UN staff and other stakeholders working to improve development in SIDS, many of which are also Least Developed Countries.


Other components of the project are a virtual curriculum, web-based tools and e-resources meant to deliver education for sustainable development for islands around the world.


The distance education component of the project will be developed in partnership with the University Consortium of Small Island States (UCSIS) inclusive of the Universities of Malta, Mauritius, the South Pacific, the Virgin Islands and the West Indies.


Ambassador Juan Antonio Yánez-Barnuevo emphasized that Spain and Small Islands shared many development challenges, like drought and dependence on waning tourism revenues in a global financial recession. “This project offers a more sustainable path for growth and development,” he said.


Ambassador Collin Beck of the Solomon Islands spoke on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) at the signing.  He expressed his appreciation to DESA and the Government of Spain. “SIDS issues require SIDS solutions,” he said. “I embrace the opportunity presented by the project to close the information gap for SIDS.”  


The Trust Fund Agreement for this project was signed on 4 August 2009 by His Excellency, Juan Antonio Yánez-Barnuevo, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations and the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr Sha Zukang.


For more information contact Mr. Keneti Faulalo at