SIDS share outcome on 2021 Health Summit of island nations

June 28, 2021 Download PDF

Topic: Sustainable Development


Antigua and Barbuda and The World Health Organization co-organized the first ever SIDS Summit for Health: For a healthy and resilient future in Small Island Developing States.
The virtual Summit took place from 28-29 June 2021. The Summit was part of the COVID-19 pandemic response as articulated by the Chair and formed a wider part of WHO’s strategic actions to apply a “SIDS lens” across its programme of work.
The outcome of the Summit included mobilization of targeted financing and partnerships and a joint statement of priority short-term actions.
In keeping with the 2014 Samoa Pathway, the Summit aimed to:
Support and promote the voices of SIDS leaders and communities on these global health threats;
advance their health strategies and partnerships;
galvanize support for innovations and solutions to speed up progress towards universal health coverage, health security and healthier populations.
The Summit engaged heads of state and government, ministers of health from the WHO SIDS Member States, as well as representatives of key regional and sub regional bodies; partner governments and agencies, civil society, youth, public-private partnerships and academia.

We, representatives of SIDS WHO Member States attending the Summit, acknowledge that the SIDS Summit for Health on 28-29 June 2021 is the first time WHO Member States that are ents and agencies; civil society; youth; public-private partnerships and academia
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have come together, albeit virtually, across all regions with
partners to focus exclusively on health and well-being.
At this Summit, we have agreed on the following key points and actions:
1. Small island developing states (SIDS) face acute and existential health and
development threats, including climate change and related natural disasters, the burden of
noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and malnutrition, and the ongoing unprecedented
COVID-19 pandemic and its profound social and economic impacts. These all are threats to
lives, livelihoods, health and wellbeing, and can only be addressed through multisectoral
actions, including on the environmental, economic and social determinants of health.
2. SIDS have confronted unprecedented challenges, given the curtailment of trade, travel
and tourism, combined with the relatively small size of SIDS economies, their remoteness,
and other vulnerabilities they face, which are not necessarily reflected in the classification of
their economies, and which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. There is a rich history of commitment by the SIDS to health and development, through the
SAMOA Pathway; the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) and their targets; as well as global, regional, subregional and
national health and development plans, strategies and programmes.
4. SIDS are committed to common values of solidarity, collaboration and partnership, with the
United Nations and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), and the numerous regional
and subregional bodies that unite and support them.
5. SIDS have been innovators in the field of health and have been a rising and resonant
collective voice, from governments and from those affected, for action on climate change,
on planetary health and biodiversity, and for integrated people-centered health care and
promotion, as well as to fulfill a One Health response.
6. SIDS have been aided by international institutions, at global and regional levels, and by
partner governments and non-state actors, that have helped strengthen policy, technical and
administrative capacity and health systems.
7. Yet, SIDS are still far from realizing their potential to accelerate actions to meet the
SDGs, and they are hindered in progress due to unmet needs and constraints, in
strengthening the capacity of their workforces, data systems and supply chains; and in their
capacity for ever-ready emergency preparedness and response, and climate change
8. For a healthy resilient future, SIDS will work more intensively together, within and across
governments, with international institutions and non-state actors, including women, youth and
the populations most vulnerable to these extreme health threats. SIDS will continue to
collaborate with WHO, the whole UN system and partners for strengthened partnerships and
more specific platforms and financing frameworks.
9. For the survival of SIDS health must be addressed fully in the climate change movement
– “One-Point-Five-to-Stay-Alive”. Health and climate change action must be whole-ofgovernment and whole-of-society priorities at home in SIDS and globally. SIDS will seize
political opportunities that are presented in the run up and convening of the 26th Climate
Change Conference to put health at the heart of climate change action, with the pillars of
building climate-resilient as well as sustainable low-carbon health systems.

9. For the survival of SIDS health must be addressed fully in the climate change movement
– “One-Point-Five-to-Stay-Alive”. Health and climate change action must be whole-of-government and whole-of-society priorities at home in SIDS and globally.
SIDS will seize political opportunities that are presented in the run up and convening of the 26th Climate
Change Conference to put health at the heart of climate change action, with the pillars of
building climate-resilient as well as sustainable low-carbon health systems.
10. Collaboration and action led by SIDS helped attract global attention to the rapid rise in the
burden of NCDs and their economic and social determinants. SIDS have committed to
reducing premature mortality from NCDs by a third by 2030. The accelerated use of a set of
effective and prioritized NCD interventions, through primary health care and advances in
universal health coverage, is the best strategy moving forward; a refined country-specific
pathway is needed, with models of care uniquely adapted to challenges and constraints faced.
11. To address the multi-faceted crises facing SIDS, mental health and psychosocial support
must be viewed as a cross-cutting issue. The COVID 19 pandemic has had a major impact
on people’s mental health, including increases of harmful use of alcohol, substance abuse,
mental health conditions and gender-based violence, which is expected to increase needs to
access treatment, services and other forms of support and rehabilitation. To advance on the
updated Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030, a reorganization of mental
health services is needed, expanding community-based mental health care.
12. To address the multiple burden of malnutrition, healthy, sustainable and resilient food
systems that focus on the preservation of biodiversity and deliver healthy diets are
essential in SIDS. SIDS need coordinated, multisectoral action, guided by national foodbased dietary guidelines addressing integrated environmental sustainability; attention needs
to be paid to the adverse conditions today contributing to all forms of malnutrition; SIDS can
strengthen their integrated policy action under the Global Action Programme on Food Security
and Nutrition in SIDS which support healthy, safe and sustainable food environments, with
special attention to school food environments.
13. The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Today SIDS are still vaccinating at lower rates than the
global average. SIDS must not be left behind in the race to administer vaccines; support
to date has been essential, but SIDS need wealthier countries to share more vaccine doses
now ideally through COVAX. Vaccines alone will not end the pandemic. SIDS also need
COVID-19 tests, treatments for those ill with COVID-19, and health systems to support
delivery of these lifesaving tools. SIDS needs full financing of the ACT-Accelerator, as do
other vulnerable countries. SIDS call upon the G20 and others to contribute their full fair share
and close the remaining gap.
14. Access to innovation and deepening of capacity to deliver have helped SIDS better
address communicable disease epidemics and maternal and child health; these are
needed now, too, to address recent setbacks in these areas, and to continue progress towards
SDG targets.
15. For SIDS to build more equitable and resilient health systems, a focus on primary health
care and universal health coverage is needed, with reinforced domestic and international
partnerships within and beyond health. Similarly, national health planning today in SIDS
depends on multisectoral actions and embedding health in other sectoral efforts, especially
for robust emergency preparedness, health promotion and prevention, food safety and
healthy, sustainable and resilient food systems, and for health vulnerability and adaptation
assessments as part of national adaptation plans for climate change.

16. Among the bedrock concerns for SIDS in facing these health crises are human
resources, and the Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the priority for action
for human resources for health in SIDS. Noting 2021 is the International Year of Health and
Care workers, SIDS are committed to work with WHO and partners to address workforce
recruitment, development, training and retention and the full promotion of decent work.
17. Many SIDS have benefitted through pooled procurement mechanisms and joint regulatory
approaches to help reduce costs and enable access to quality-assured medicines and
medical supplies. SIDS are committed to continue strengthening their operation, to enhance
collaboration and information exchange, working with WHO to mobilize further support for
under or unfinanced initiatives, especially to serve SIDS not yet reached.
18. Global digital health strategies and local innovation has helped advance health data systems
and platforms; yet, the pandemic has created even more demand for digital health
technology and other tools for rapid data collection and analytic capacity, and SIDS
continue to look to WHO and partners to enable fit-for-purpose approaches to accommodate
the challenges in SIDS to access technology and scale up systems in remote and human
resource-constrained settings
19. Some SIDS have benefitted from new financing schemes for COVID-19 response, as well as
climate change response. Yet, SIDS need opened-up access to new mechanisms and
sustainable financing, given the challenges ahead to implement all health priorities,
especially given limited human resources and frequent emergencies. WHO and other SIDS
partners need to work together to enhance access to development finance, including
finance for the prevention and control of NCDs and climate change action, for health
infrastructure and adaptation, as well as health risk assessment, and more robust domestic
and international financing for strengthened health and social protection systems.
20. To enable more cross-regional opportunities for dialogue and mutual action and advocacy,
SIDS wish to call on WHO to support them by promoting and enabling a SIDS Leaders Group
for Health for high-level advocacy, and in launching a broader SIDS Voices for Health
Forum, which could involve a wide array of stakeholders, including civil society, youth and
persons affected most by the threats we have addressed here. The Group and the Forum can
complement AOSIS, existing regional or subregional bodies, or action networks, that bring
SIDS leaders together on common priorities.
21. SIDS can work with WHO to establish specific platforms to support specific areas of work,
building on the value added of the Action Plan and strategic initiative on climate change in
health in SIDS. Among the first priorities could be a SIDS NCD resource center and
collaborative platform. SIDS have shown the value of such action platforms in other fields and
at regional level in health.
22. WHO, other UN agencies and other SIDS partners are encouraged to further strengthen
coordinated country support with SIDS to address these health crises.
23. Looking ahead, SIDS can move effectively to put forward this joint vision for health, in
collaboration with WHO, at the UN Food Systems Summit in September, the COP26 in
November, the Nutrition for Growth Summit in December, planned SIDS high-level and
ministerial meetings on NCDS in 2022, and other upcoming major forum of SIDS leaders and
other global leaders to address the acute needs of this critical time for the people, especially
the most vulnerable, in small island developing States.
24. As WHO Governing Bodies meet in 2022, SIDS can seek endorsements and dialogue to
support their joint path forward to overcome these ongoing crises and as part of the route to
the SDGs.
25. In 2023, with actions taken in the short-term on these points above, SIDS can join with WHO
in organizing a next SIDS Summi

Sub Topic: S.A.M.O.A Pathway