Latest News on 3rd International Conference on SIDS

Information and press communications on  developments at the 3rd International Conference on SIDS.

This document highlights the key discussions and recommendations from the 3rd International Conference on SIDS, which took place in Samoa from 30-31 August 2014. Some of the key Partnerships, Initiatives and Recommendations include:
(i) Google and Palau informed of their collective  effort with Palau in utilizing technology and  mapping ocean spaces to monitor their vast  ocean spaces. They are willing to use technology  and their expertise to expand Sea Vision  programme in cooperation with other island  countries.
(ii) The Waitt Foundation called for more private  sector support for marine conservation and community livelihood in SIDS and they informed  of their collaboration with the National  Geographic Society, and Secretariat of the Pacific  Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
(iii) Solander Ltd. called for more collaboration between SIDS to ensure that conditions for  Marine Stewardship Council certification are met  and sustained in the sustainable use of marine  resources.
(iv) National Geographic Society called for more ‘no- take’ zones as a form of marine conservation  efforts in which they expressed their commitment to collaborate with SIDS.

As well as facilitating trade from Pacific Island Forum member nations with countries outside the region, Pacific Islands Trade & Invest (PT&I) also works toward promoting intra-regional trade. In May this year, PT&I NZ was part of a trade mission from Tonga’s agribusiness sector to Samoa.
Tonga’s Minister of Agriculture and Food, Forests and Fisheries, Honourable Sione Sangster Saulala led the trade mission, which the Government of Tonga initiated, to discuss opportunities under a potential bilateral free trade agreement. The delegation of Government officials and exporters met with the Government Ministries and th private sector in Samoa on how the agreement could be made beneficial for both countries.
A key achievement of the trade mission was the successful trial shipment of fresh watermelons from Tonga from the country’s leading agriculture firm Nishi Trading to a local Samoan supermarket chain, Farmer Joe.
Tongan businessman Minoru Nishi of Nishi Trading, which exported the watermelons, said the trade has been a win-win for all concerned. “It meant money in the pockets of small farmers, Governments, shipping carriers and agents, exporters and of course, many happy consumers who longed for Tongan watermelons. Since the success of our first container, the market is about to receive its third container and we are now planning for regular supply into Apia.”

Common values are the key to sustainable partnerships say Samoa’s Women in Business Development, UK and New Zealand’s largest café, c1 Espresso. The three partners spoke at the Private Sector Partnerships Forum in the lead up to the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States.
Women in Business Development supplies virgin coconut oil to The Body Shop and also coffee and cacao to c1 Espresso. Associate director Alberta Vitale says having trade partners who have shared values means the partnerships are stronger and longer lasting.
“Our partners recognize the potential and limitations trading with a small island nation that is vulnerable to natural disasters and working with small family farmers.
“The Body Shop and c1 Espresso have shown a patience that many buyers wouldn’t but our relationship with them is based not just on what we supply but also our common values.”

Having lived and worked for more than a decade in four Caribbean countries, I have witnessed firsthand how Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are extremely vulnerable to challenges ranging from debt and unemployment to climate change and sea level rise.
Such aspects make their paths towards sustainable development probably more complex than non-SIDS countries. That was my experience, working closely with governments, civil society organisations and the people of Belize, Cuba, Guyana and Haiti – where I led the U.N. Development Programme’s (UNDP) reconstruction efforts after the devastating January 2010 earthquake.
That’s why the upcoming UN Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), taking place in Samoa, Sep. 1-4 is so important. It will provide an opportunity to increase international cooperation and knowledge sharing between and within regions. And it takes place at a key moment, ahead of the Climate Change Summit at the UN General Assembly, to be held on Sep. 23.
Climate change—and all natural hazards, in fact—hit Small Island Developing States hard, even though these countries haven’t historically contributed to the problem. Extreme exposure to disasters such as flooding, hurricanes, droughts, landslides and earthquakes place these countries at a particularly vulnerable position.
In the Caribbean, two key sectors, agriculture and tourism, which are crucial for these countries’ economies, are especially exposed. Agriculture provides 20 percent of total employment in the Caribbean. In some countries, like Haiti and Grenada, half of the total jobs depends on agriculture. Moreover, travel and tourism accounted for 14 percent of Caribbean countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013 – the highest for any region in the world.

The ECA will launch a paper on the potential of Blue Economy in African Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at a side event during the third Small Island Developing States conference in Apia, Samoa on the 3rd Sept 2014. Find hereunder the highlights of the paper.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are small-island or coastal countries located in the tropical and subtropical regions (partly) surrounded by oceans. SIDS are considered a separate group by the UN based on their specific characteristics such as small size, insularity and remoteness. They are regarded as highly vulnerable due to their social, economic and geographical characteristics.
Despite SIDS common characteristics, they are by no means homogenous, varying by geography, physical, climatic, social, political, cultural, and ethnic character as well as level of economic development (Nurse et al. 2001). African SIDS (Cape Verde, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, São Tomé and Principe, and Seychelles) represent 6 SIDS of nine under the header Atlantic, Indian, Mediterranean and South China Sea (AIMS). African SIDS are few in number and therefore tend to be overlooked in the predominant literature on SIDS in relation to economic vulnerability, climate change vulnerability and recently in the Blue Economy literature. This reports aims to fill this gap in knowledge by addressing the potentials and constraints of the Blue Economy in African SIDS. Blue Economy could be used to help develop African SIDS and counter challenges they face.

Delegates from nearly 200 nations will descend on Samoa beginning this week to attend the third United Nations Small Islands Developing States (UN-SIDS) to be held in Apia between September 1 and 4. Previous SIDS events have been held in Barbados and Mauritius. The UN has named 2014 the Year of SIDS.
More than a dozen presidents and heads of states, hundreds of elected representatives, private sector executives, NGOs, heads of international organisations, will comprise the 3000 visitors expected. Many of the UN’s development agencies as well as Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will attend the conference, which has some 108 side-events before, during and after the conference.
Samoa is one of 20 Pacific SIDS out of 52 around the world. SIDS come from three geographic regions – the Caribbean; the Africa, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea (AIMS); and the Pacific. SIDS account for about five per cent of the world’s population.

One thought on “Latest News on 3rd International Conference on SIDS

  1. Pingback: CTA to co-host Sustainable Agriculture Session in the Private Sector Partnerships Forum in Apia, Samoa, 30-31 August 2014 (3rd International Conference on SIDS) | Brussels Development Briefings

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