By Magdalena A K Muir
2014 is the UN International Year of Small Island Developing States, which will celebrate the contributions that Small Island Developing States has made to the world, with this UN year being designed to raise awareness of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which will be held from 1 to 4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa.
SIDS are 29 low lying coastal countries that are found in equatorial and tropical areas of the world as illustrated by the map. They tend to share similar sustainable development challenges including small but growing populations, limited resources, remote locations, vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change as well as global and regional economic shocks. Due to their small size and remote locations, they can have high communication, energy and transportation costs, and disproportionate public administrative and infrastructure costs due to small size and absence of economies of scale.
Due to their location, many SIDS are dependent on tourism as illustrated by the graphic provided with this article. Many SIDS are also interested in developing sustainable tourism opportunities. In many instances, SIDS import hydrocarbons to generate electricity and provide water and sanitation services, which is why there been a focus on making their energy sectors more sustainable, in part through renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency. Renewable energy can also be used to desalinate seawater to meet water shortages aggravated by economic development and rising populations, and climate aggravated events such as storms, sea level rise, increased temperatures and changing precipitation patterns and volumes. As a result, two types of the partnerships which may be registered below are for renewable energy and sustainable tourism.
One key aspect of the Third International Conference on SIDS is the stakeholder partnership dialogues, which are expected to provide an opportunity for a) recognizing successful partnerships, b) launching innovative and concrete partnerships, and c) interactive and focused discussions on key priorities related to SIDS. The multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues will be clustered by the following priority areas: sustainable economic development; climate change and disaster risk management, social development, health, youth and women; sustainable energy; oceans,seas and biodiversity; and water, food, sanitation and waste management. SIDS Partnership briefs describing all these priority areas are available here.
Parties need to register partnerships before July 11, 2014 if they want to be considered for the Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Dialogues.
However partnerships can be registered right up to the time of the conference, and do not require attendance at the conference. Registration is available here. Further information is available here.
This Third International Conference on SIDS will be preceded by activities related to the conference from 28 to 30 August 2014, also in Apia, Samoa, including a Renewable Energy Forum on August 30, 2014, and a Private Sector Forum from August 20 to 31, 2014