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Building Back Better: Leveraging Effective Governance & Spearheading Innovative Solutions to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Pacific Small Island Developing States

Capacity Development Webinar Series
"Building Back Better: Leveraging Effective Governance & Spearheading Innovative Solutions to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Pacific Small Island Developing States"
Organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP)
in collaboration with the
Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF) and
Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
Wednesday, 12 August 2020 
06:30 – 08:00 PM (EDT, New York Time)
Online Discussion Board* (Knowledge Platform)
* To facilitate continued discussion on "Building Back Better: Leveraging Effective Governance & Spearheading Innovative Solutions to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Pacific Small Island Developing States," the online discussion board will be created to address unanswered questions, promote dialogue, and exchange ideas.
While there are more than 8 million confirmed cases and close to 467,000 death in the world from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) have been largely fortunate in averting the worst of the global health crisis.  As of 12 June 2020, 312 cases of the COVID-19, including 7 deaths have been reported across the Pacific. However, the pandemic and the measures put in place to contain the virus have taken a toll on the PSIDS’ economy.  For example, the economic impact is serious in Fiji, Maldives, and Tonga where jobs are heavily dependent on tourism.  There are economic fallouts beyond tourism such as disruption of international trade, drop in commodity prices where exporters like Papua New Guinea are affected, and reduction in remittances due to shrinking global economy everywhere.
The ongoing effects of climate change and the tropical cyclone season - including the recent devastation left by Tropical Cyclone Harold in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Tonga - pose continued risks to these vulnerable economies as climate change induced disasters can exacerbate the COVID-19 crisis.
Though the PSDIS are still weathering the impact of the pandemic, when the recovery begins, it could provide opportunities to build a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable system. It is a chance to examine and reassess the existing structural challenges, update national and local plans with risk-informed development in mind, and strengthen institutional coordination necessary for recovery and sustainable development.  It is a chance to create momentum to bolster the deeper partnership between the public, private, civil society, at the national, regional, and international levels.
In building back better, effective governance, better coordination mechanisms, innovative practices, and ICT driven technologies, and people-centered recovery strategies will be crucial. The PSIDS will need to continue investment in preparedness to enhance resilience with a focus on the furthest behind to keep the promise of leaving no one behind. 
Resilience must be put at the center of decision-making at all levels, such that the impact of future shocks can be absorbed more readily with less disruption to people’s lives and livelihoods. The COVID-19 has exposed the benefits of a stronger, flexible, and more responsive civil service which can incorporate risk management to continue essential public services. Public institutions are central in promoting integrated approaches to achieve long-term development goals in the face of immediate challenges.
  • Introduce national experiences in fighting COVID-19, including effective approaches and strategies, successes as well as challenges faced by governments from selected countries;
  • Strengthen the knowledge and capacities of the PSDIS in strengthening public governance and exploring innovative solutions for pursuing resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery in the post-COVID-19 era;
  • Address the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of PSIDS in disaster risk reduction and climate change; and
  • Provide a platform for effective partnerships.
Targeted Audience
The target audience for this webinar includes national and local government officials, especially from the PSIDS, who are engaged in the post-COVID-19 recovery process in areas of healthcare, coordination, disaster management, immediate and long-term planning, national and local development strategies, ICT and digital government, and public financing. 
The webinar also intends to involve the private sector, academia, research institutions, civil society, and regional/international organizations that are actively engaged in exploring and experimenting with innovative solutions to address the COVID-19 crisis and recovery.
Expected Results
The Capacity Development Webinar Series aims to strengthen effective governance by enhancing integration, collaboration, and cooperation among stakeholders through whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches as well as national to local coordination.  The webinar for PSIDS is cognizant of their unique and particular vulnerabilities and will provide:
  1. Resources and tools for possible application in the post-COVID-19 recovery;
  2. Closer cooperation and partnership at regional and international level; and
  3. Depository of lessons learned and knowledge sharing through UNPOG and UN DESA websites.
  • 5 August 2020
  • Contact Information UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA)

    Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG)

    Mr. Juwang Zhu

    Ms. Adriana Alberti
    Chief, Programme Management and Capacity Development Unit
    E-mail: alberti@un.org

    UN DESA/DPIDG/ UN Project Office on Governance (UNPOG)

    Mr. Bokyun Shim
    Head, UN Project Office on Governance
    E-mail: bokyun.shim@un.org

    Ms. Victoria Kim
    Governance and Public Administration Expert
    E-mail: kim47@un.org

    Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDGS)

    Mr. Sai Navoti
    Chief, SIDS Unit
    E-mail: sai.navoti@un.org

    Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) Secretariat

    Mr. Spencer N. Robinson
    Executive Assistant ? PIDF Governance
    E-mail: Spencer.robinson@pidf.int
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