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Aruba Opens Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Development

Today Aruba, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, opened a Centre of Excellence for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.

Today Aruba, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, opened a Centre of Excellence for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. The Centre aims to strengthen innovation and resilience among Small Island Developing States. It will offer a platform for South-South cooperation and the exchange of knowledge on renewable energy, public-private partnerships, water management, tourism, the environment and health.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a distinct group of developing countries that are economically and ecologically fragile. They will be hit first by rising sea levels and an increase of extreme weather events.  Increasing international consensus to support SIDS to meet these challenges is most welcome. Prime Minister of Aruba, Mike Eman: “Aruba is diligently working to achieve its vision of sustainable and shared prosperity and in doing this has built “know how” in many areas to help us achieve our goal.’’ Eman believes that Aruba is a model for other small islands facing similar problems. As one of three Small Island Developing States in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, it knows the challenges climate change poses to SIDS: ‘’We are truly honored with the fact that the UNDP has chosen Aruba to solidify this knowledge and help export this to other SIDS through this unique endeavor and South-South Cooperation”. 

Jessica Faeita, assistant secretary-general of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)  feels it is fitting that The Netherlands supports  the UN in establishing the Centre of Excellence in Aruba: “I’m sure the Centre is not only very valuable for the exchange of information, but can also serve as a training center for professionals in the region, to begin with sustainable development, energy reduction, and other fields in which Aruba already excels.”

Over the years, Aruba has developed a reputation of tackling these issues with innovative ideas and ambitious projects, like the aim to rely solely on renewable energy by 2020.  Its ambition doesn’t stop at helping other SIDS, either. Instead, Aruba sees itself as a laboratory to demonstrate how the transition to a more sustainable economy could occur worldwide. Richard Blewitt, UNDP Resident Coordinator: ‘’The Center of Excellence with the support of the Kingdom of Netherlands is a game changing opportunity for 38 SIDS to collaborate and share knowledge and drive their sustainable development priorities building from experiences in Aruba and equality sharing innovation and best practices they have to share very pressing challenges and harness opportunities.’’