Sanaka Samarasinha Leads UN Reform Efforts to Enhance Development Assistance in Small Island Developing States

Canton, Michigan, 22nd May 2024, ZEX PR WIRE, Sanaka Samarasinha, the former United Nations Resident Coordinator (RC) in for 11 countries in the Pacific has been at the forefront of pioneering reforms within the United Nations to strengthen development assistance in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). With over two decades of experience in sustainable development, Samarasinha is driving transformative changes aimed at addressing the unique challenges faced by SIDS communities.

Under Samarasinha’s leadership, significant strides were made in adopting evidence-based, systems-thinking approaches to development assistance. This includes the design of the first-ever United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) to be signed by Belarus, a former Soviet Union country, and the coordination of a complex multi-country UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) covering 14 SIDS across the Pacific.

Despite these achievements, Samarasinha has identified persistent challenges hindering the effective implementation of UN development initiatives in SIDS. Weak country alignment and accountability, coupled with a siloed and projectized approach to funding, donor driven priorities and exclusion of the most vulnerable in planning, designing and implementing development initiatives Samarasinha says, pose significant obstacles to achieving sustainable development goals.

Samarasinha has introduced innovative measures to enhance programmatic coherence and impact to address these challenges. These include the establishment of Joint Steering Committees (JSCs) co-chaired by the RC and relevant ministers and developing biennial country implementation plans aligned with national priorities and SDGs. This, Samarasinha notes, can help have a holistic approach to planning when it comes to the issues facing SIDs. 

Furthermore, Samarasinha has led efforts to improve data collection and disaggregation through the UNINFO system, enabling more informed decision-making and targeted interventions. These initiatives significantly promote greater accountability and effectiveness in UN development assistance.

In addition, Samarasinha has initiated the preparation of individual Common Country Analyses (CCAs) for each country, providing a tailored understanding of local contexts and needs. He has also emphasized the importance of intersectoral responses, particularly amid external challenges such as climate change, COVID-19, and geopolitical conflicts impacting SIDS.

As the international community strives to achieve the ambitious targets outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Samarasinha’s steadfast leadership and commitment to ongoing UN reform serve as a hope for SIDS communities worldwide. His efforts underscore the urgent need for collective action and solidarity to build a more equitable, resilient, and sustainable future for all.

Sanaka Samarasinha, a seasoned development professional and lawyer, boasts over 25 years of experience in 40 countries. As the former UN Resident Coordinator in the Pacific and Belarus, he led groundbreaking initiatives, fostering dialogue on governance and human rights. Samarasinha’s legal and journalistic background informs his holistic approach to sustainable development.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Stocks Talent journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

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