Small island developing states or 'SIDS' are especially susceptible to external economic and environmental shocks that have an adverse impact on their development. These nations are often remote, low lying, and acutely vulnerable to climate change and rising seas.
In its role as a champion and voice for small states, the Commonwealth is partnering with governments and international organisations at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS 2014) in Samoa, to help secure a sustainable future for these countries.
The conference, held in Apia between 1-4 September, is organised by the United Nations and the Government of Samoa. The theme is: Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States through Genuine and Durable Partnerships. The conference is preceded by a Forum on Youth on 28 August.
Climate-Resilient Islands Partnership Dialogue
Saturday, 30 August: 15:00–17:00 Headquarters of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme
This dialogue showcases the Climate-Resilient Islands Partnership and its work to support climate change planning and finance in small island developing states.
The event is organised by the members of the Partnership – the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and the Indian Ocean Commission, in collaboration with the Commonwealth.
The partnership, formed in 2011 and launched at Rio+20, has established a comprehensive five-point work plan to facilitate mutual learning on climate finance and planning across SIDS regions. In keeping with the theme of SIDS 2014, the dialogue highlights the dynamic work of the partnership, including in the areas of integrated planning for disaster risk reduction and climate change; public information portals; downscaling climate models to support decision-making in small states; and institutional readiness for climate finance. The event will explore opportunities of working with others to 2020 and beyond.
Designing Climate Readiness for Small Island Developing States
Tuesday, 2 September: 09:00–10:30, Conference Room 2, Faleata Sports Complex
This side event, led by the Republic of Mauritius, in collaboration with the Commonwealth and the Indian Ocean Commission, will focus on designing climate readiness and the tools needed to ensure effective progress for SIDS. The challenge for SIDS at present is ensuring their “readiness” to secure, absorb and manage financing to support the main pillars of climate action, including having the necessary institutions, policy support and human capacity in place.
Panelists will highlight the value of partnerships in this context and progress that is being made at the international, regional and national levels, including examples from the Republic of Mauritius and the Indian Ocean Commission. Finally, this side event will be an opportunity for SIDS and development partners to examine elements of designing climate readiness to strengthen capacities in climate planning and finance in a SIDS context.
Joint High-Level Side Event on Resilience in SIDS – the Commonwealth Secretariat and UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Tuesday, 2 September: 13:00–14:30, Conference Room 1, Faleata Sports Complex
This high-level side event is hosted by the Commonwealth and United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and explores a common approach in our work on vulnerability and resilience building.
Co-chaired by Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary-General, and Wu Hongbo, Secretary-General of SIDS 2014, the event features presentations on both organisations’ work to assist small island developing states to build resilience through the development of a systematic approach to determining appropriate policies for small states.
This is followed by a high-level Ministerial panel providing insights from policy makers in small states on the challenges to achieving sustainable development and determining appropriate policy responses. Guest speakers include President James Michel of the Seychelles. The event will also see the launch of a Commonwealth publication on Building the Resilience of Small States: A Revised Framework.
Forum on Youth
The Forum on Youth will identify opportunities for young people aged 18–29 in small states to help inform the dialogue and plenary discussions of the main conference.
Social Development in SIDS, Health and Non-Communicable Diseases, Youth and Women
Thursday, 28 August: 13:00–14:45, To’oa Salamasina Hall, Sogi
Katherine Ellis, Youth Affairs Director for the Commonwealth, will make a presentation on social development in SIDS, with a particular focus on issues of greatest concern to young people, together with the World Health Organization and Secretariat of the Pacific Community. The session will included an interactive dialogue with the youth delegates.
Education, Entrepreneurship and Employment
Thursday, 28 August:13:00–14:45, To’oa Salamasina Hall, Sogi
Nurul-Huda Mohamed Afandi, President of the Commonwealth-Asia Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAAYE) will make a presentation on education, entrepreneurship and employment, together with the International Labour Organization.
Obstacles to Empowerment and Participation for SIDS Young People; Launch of 2015 Commonwealth Youth Awards
Monday, 1 September: 11:15–12:15, Youth Space, To’oa Salamasina Hall, Sogi
A dialogue on the obstacles to empowerment and participation for young people in SIDS, coupled with the global launch of the Commonwealth Youth Awards 2015.
Obstacles to Empowerment and Participation for SIDS Young People
Wednesday, 3 September: 12:30–13:30, Youth Space, To’oa Salamasina Hall, Sogi
A second, follow-up dialogue on the obstacles to empowerment and participation for young people in SIDS, facilitated by Commonwealth youth leaders.
Small island developing states in the Commonwealth:
Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Fiji, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Kiribati, Maldives, Mauritius, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Saint Lucia, Singapore, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Classed according to UN definition
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For more information on SIDS 2014, visit www.sids2014.org