Building peace in the minds of men and women

Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Social and Human Sciences

Social transformations, inclusion and justice

Priority 3: Supporting SIDS in the management of social transformations and the promotion of social inclusion and social justice

 

The SAMOA Pathway identifies the continuing challenges that SIDS face in achieving sustainable development. Their unique geographical, biological and historical legacies, as well as their social and economic characteristics, including their limited size, high levels of population displacement, vulnerability to natural and human-made disasters and high exposure to economic fluctuations and geopolitical circumstances results in severe capacity and resource constraints to implement national development goals.

Providing support for the collective action of young people, women, civil society and vulnerable groups are critical to the attainment of productive and healthy livelihood outcomes for SIDS communities. Promoting social justice, empowerment and strengthening the capacity of all segments of society in SIDS to increase their level of participation in developing and implementing national social and other related policies is, thus, crucial in achieving sustainability and improved quality of life of SIDS communities.

Four priority areas in the social sciences are particularly relevant to address sustainable development in SIDS:

Mobilizing knowledge

Principle Objective

To assist SIDS Member States in mobilizing knowledge – scientific and noncodified – that may be relevant to strengthen policy-making processes, including foresight capabilities and futures literacy, improved data collection systems and upgraded analytical skills.

Concrete Actions

  • Support, in the framework of the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme, “sustainability science” pilot projects in the three SIDS groupings: Caribbean, Pacific and AIMS, with emphasis on implementation at the level of local communities and with special attention to gender equality issues.
  • Strengthen national and regional capacities, through the MOST Programme, to assess and reform national policies and regulatory frameworks regarding social inclusion, gender equality, youth and science policy and addressing the needs of the most vulnerable.
  • Support research on the social implications and responses to climate change, including gender and youth dimensions, informed by ethical values.

Recent Progress

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Youth

Principle Objective

To support youth development through the three axes of improved public policy, capacity development and civic engagement.

Concrete Actions

  • Enhance the capacity and involvement of local communities, including youth, in contributing to plans and policies.
  • Reinforce UNESCO’s support for youth participation and capacity-building through addressing the challenges and needs of out-of-school youth violence in schools, enhancing livelihood skills of young people, responding to School Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV), prevention of violence among youth through sports and physical education, and promote programmes that foster young people’s creative potential, taking into account the different needs of young men and women in SIDS.
  • Engage youth directly in implementing the SAMOA Pathway through a range of youth-friendly face-to-face, web and app-based technologies that provide opportunities to increase awareness of sustainability issues, build capacity to participate in sustainable development dialogues, and establish sustainable networks of youth organizations across SIDS.

Recent Progress

  • UNESCO supported the formulation, review, and implementation of youth-related policies and legislation, with the participation of youth at different levels in Cabo Verde, Cuba, Guinea-Bissau, Timor-Leste, Haiti, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
  • A school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) initiative in Samoa, implemented through capacity-building and the development of media programmes by media students.
  • A youth-based research initiative in Tonga, and a network in Cabo Verde, among other countries, were conducted to put into practice the acquired knowledge and skills received during a training on innovation management and entrepreneurship development.
  • Research on school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) in the Pacific was promoted to improve policies and raise awareness on gender-based violence in the education system (with the engagement of universities, teachers, principals and ministries). Elaborated jointly with the Institute of Education, University of the South Pacific in Tonga, the terms of reference for the research on school-related gender-based violence focused on a desk review of existing literature on SRGBV in the Pacific and in Tonga and the development of survey tools. The research will be conducted in the major islands of Tongapatu and Vava’u encompassing a sample of 250 informants consisting of students, parents and schoolteachers. Besides providing substantive evidence on the situation of SRGBV in Tonga, the research aims to provide policy recommendations to strengthen policies combatting gender-based violence in schools. This initiative represents a concrete contribution of UNESCO to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 international development agenda in the Pacific region. Focus will be put on the challenges related to two SDGs: SDG #5 “Achieve gender equality and empowerment for all women and girls” and SDG #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”.

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Ethically-informed policies

Principle Objective

To enhance the capabilities of SIDS Member States to address the social, cultural, legal and ethical implications of the progress of life sciences under the framework of the Universal Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights, as well as to design and implement ethically-informed policies.

Concrete Actions

  • Encourage the ratification and the promotion of the International Convention against Doping in Sport.
  • Provide support to SIDS countries to enhance intercultural competencies and respond to cultural barriers to gender equality in appropriate ways.

Recent Progress

  • In the field of physical education, sports and anti-doping, 20 out of 24 countries in the Pacific region still do not have a sport policy. Following a workshop organized by UNESCO in 2015, UNESCO, along with the Organization of Oceanic National Olympic Committees (ONOC), developed the Pacific Sport Compass initiative that was officially endorsed by the fourth meeting of Pacific Ministers of Sport in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, in July 2015. The initiative is being successfully implemented in the region.
  • The Pacific Sport Compass provides a structured process to build the partnership between sport stakeholders and the wider development community to ensure that sport makes an active contribution to the wellbeing of the Pacific peoples and the implementation of SDGs in the region. The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat secured some seed funding and prepared a proposal for the European Union to support the initiative.
  • Fiji is one of the five pilot countries in which the UNESCO Quality Physical Education Guidelines for Policy Makers are being rolled out and tested in cooperation between UNESCO, WHO, the National Olympic Committee, and the Ministry of Education.
  • In the framework of the implementation of the International Convention against Doping in Sport, in 2016, the Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Grenada, Guyana and Singapore implemented projects with the support of the Anti-Doping Fund to strengthen national and regional capacities in the fight against doping. In November 2016, the Fund’s Approval Committee approved initiatives submitted by the Bahamas, Fiji and Jamaica, to be implemented in 2017.

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Intercultural dialogue

Principle Objective

To enhance the role of cultural institutions and intercultural dialogue in the context of public policy debates and as a vehicle to facilitate the contribution of SIDS to the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures and in accordance to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
 

Concrete Actions

  • Organize bioethics training activities in the three SIDS groupings.

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