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Institutional capacity, useability of data, and evidence-based decision-making for sustainable development in Small Island Developing States

Working paper

Written by Kalim Shah, Ilan Kelman

Image credit:Low tide activities at Port Mathurin, Rodrigues. Photo credit: Stéphane Bellerose/UNDP in Mauritius and Seychelles. CC BY-NC 2.0

Recently, discussions have arisen around the applicability and relevance of ‘big data’ in supporting sustainable development for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). While the evidence is still being interrogated, solutions include: strengthening ‘small data’ robustness and availability; leveraging more data from indigenous, local, vernacular, and traditional knowledges; and meaningfully incorporating these sources into policy, management, action, and decision processes.

This paper outlines the challenges, opportunities and gaps for SIDS institutions when utilising data and evidence-based decision-making for sustainable development in SIDS. It explores the applicability of ‘big’ and ‘small’ data in SIDS contexts, the importance of integrating indigenous knowledge and local experiences into policy decisions, and the role of regional data platforms in enhancing capacity and supporting evidence-based policies.

Using case studies from the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, and Antigua and Barbuda, the paper identifes practical strategies for improving data robustness and useability.

Author: Kalim Shah and Ilan Kelman

Dr Kalim Shah presented the initial draft of this paper at the SIDS Future Forum in March 2024. Timestamp 1:20:00

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SIDS Future Forum 3