Samoa’s role for the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Development Co-operation Adviser, Alfred Schuster

By Asenati Taugasolo Semu

PORT MORESBY: TUESDAY 08 SEPTEMBER 2015: Samoa has a role to play in developing global indicators that will measure the progress of the proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its 169 targets.

The new 15 year global SDGs will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) when world leaders gather in New York later this month to adopt the United Nations post 2015 development goals.

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Development Co-operation Adviser, Alfred Schuster said Samoa and Fiji are two countries from the Pacific that are members of the United Nations Inter Agency expert group that is developing global indicators to measure the SDGs. They are expected to submit their report by March next year.

Schuster was presenting a paper at the PINA/PIFS Forum Regional Media Workshop held in Papua New Guinea last week.

Schuster said the Millennium Development Goals have been set from the year 2000 and since that time – the region has experienced mixed outcomes in achieving the targets set for developing countries.

He said only two Pacific countries achieved all the MDGs targets, three countries achieved at least half with the rest of the forum countries achieving less than half of the goals.

The MSG tracking progress for the Pacific since 2000 indicates that majority of Forum Island countries have managed to reduce the number of child mortality under five years and achieved universal primary education in terms of increasing the number of children accessing to primary level education.

“The SDG is much more extensive in its focus in terms of the number of goals that it seeks to achieve that for the world to mobilize resourcing and to collaborate in achieving,” he said.

Schuster said representatives from Samoa and Fiji are part of the UN Inter Agency and Expert Group who have developed a global indicator framework in order to establish very specific and clear indicators for the progress of the SDGs.

“Two Forum member countries, Fiji and Samoa are part of that expert group and they’ll be working with the UN Statistical Commission to reach some agreement on the global indicator set by March 2016,” said Mr Schuster.

According to Schuster, once the report is ready the group will present it to the General Assembly for Adoption.

“Part of that process Forum Governments are already considering how to integrate and implement some of the SDGs in the national level and timing could not have been right for this approach given the more than half of our Forum island countries are reviewing their national plans and are considering SDGs integration in those plans, budgets and the monitoring and evaluation framework, said Mr Schuster.

He said there’s an opportunity for the Pacific even prior to the SDGs being formalized to start thinking  about how to bring that and contextualize that at the national level and how to establish national level indicators.

Schuster was asked about the measuring of poverty in the global level considering the financial impact from cultural practices in some Pacific countries.

He said the global measures are quite specific. He stressed that cultural practices are not in the specific measures of poverty at the global level but they could be potentially be measured at the national level.

“There is a need to put some controls around cultural practices for some Pacific countries and to understand its real situation and to deal with it. He reiterated that it comes down to the country itself and its understanding of its situation and the circumstance around the issues that are limiting their people from progressing. It’s up to the countries to understand what those issues are and put measures in place to ensure that the issues are being addressed.


Goal 1:        End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 2:        End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Goal 3:        Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 4:        Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Goal 5:        Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 6:        Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 7:        Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 8:        Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Goal 9:        Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 10:      Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 11:      Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12:      Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13:      Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*

Goal 14:      Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Goal 15:      Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Goal 16:      Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Goal 17:      Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development