'Dialogue on Science and Science Policy for the SDGs in the Pacific SIDS' conference

Participants from all Pacific Island countries as well as UNESCO representatives were attending  the 'Dialogue on Science and Science Policy for the SDGs in the Pacific SIDS' conference, held in Apia on 29 and 30 March 2017. The Keynote Address was given by the Hon. Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa.

The two-day dialogue aimed to assess the needs and options for bridging the gaps between science, technology and innovation (ST&I) systems and policy-makers in the Pacific SIDS, with a particular focus on the framework of the SDGs and the UNESCO’s SIDS Action Plan.

As an opportunity to consider the Pacific Regional Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmap developed by Pace-Net + consortium, the workshop built on existing practices and initiatives in the region, for instance, the ST&I policy initiatives in Tonga, Papua-New Guinea and others. It provided a forum for information sharing on the current status of ST&I in the participating countries, identifying in particular the challenges faced in consolidating ST&I systems and in improving capacity and structures to more effectively inform policy-making. Furthermore priorities were considered in ensuring that ST&I systems most effectively contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The meeting provided an opportunity for dialogue amongst Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) and with the international community about the specific needs for ST&I advice to contribute to evidence based policy-making, as well as which mechanisms and policies, national and regional, could be put in place or updated. Through the consideration of concrete experiences, participants were able to discuss and highlight the main aspects of science advice to policy making, and to share the particular characteristics of the PICTs in this regard, as well as to share their own experiences of platforms and mechanism for science advice.

Outcomes of the meeting include:

- A summary of PICTs’ needs and priorities

- A plan for how development partners, such as INGSA, UNESCO and SPC, can support this work

The conclusions of this workshop will be brought to other SIDS regions, in particular the Caribbean, to contribute to the elaboration of a broader approach to consolidating ST&I and science advice in SIDS.

The conference is organized by UNESCO, INGSA, the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture as Samoa’s National Commission for UNESCO, the National University of Samoa, the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa including sponsorship from Samoa Stationery and Books with the support of the Government of New Zealand.