Small Island Developing States (SIDS) stand at the forefront of numerous global crises, encompassing climate change, COVID-19 recovery, and debt. These nations possess breathtaking beauty and serve as custodians of our oceans. However, the challenges they confront are progressively escalating and intricately linked. Over the past two decades, the frequency of climate-related disasters has nearly doubled, with SIDS being the most severely affected. In the aftermath of a sudden-onset catastrophe, these nations can find themselves stripped of everything overnight. Despite contributing a mere 0.2% of global carbon emissions, SIDS bear the brunt of climate change’s consequences. The ceaseless cycle of disaster and recovery leaves them debilitated and incapable of fostering resilience. Nonetheless, the inhabitants of these islands are leading the worldwide battle against climate change. They are pioneering innovative approaches to safeguard their homelands, preserve their cultures, and protect their livelihoods against the mounting threats of rising temperatures and sea levels.
In Resolution 77/245, the General Assembly reiterated its call for the convening of the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in 2024. The primary objective of this conference is to evaluate the capacity of small island developing states to attain sustainable development, aligning with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals. Antigua & Barbuda will serve as the host country for the fourth International Conference on SIDS, which will gather global leaders to establish a transformative and ambitious action plan for SIDS. This comprehensive ten-year strategy will emphasize practical and impactful solutions to ensure the resilience and well-being of SIDS populations, ensuring a sustainable and secure future. During the course of four days, leaders from SIDS nations and beyond will come together in a spirit of solidarity and collaboration, engaging with the private sector, civil society, and young people. The aim is to generate innovative ideas, secure new commitments of support, and drive the implementation of agreed-upon initiatives.
The conference will specifically address the unique challenges faced by SIDS, including the climate crisis, biodiversity preservation, and the pressing issue of mounting debt. It will strive to deliver targeted initiatives and concrete outcomes to effectively tackle these challenges head-on.
by Calvin Oliner, WEASC