By Aabigayle McIntosh
Anticipation is building among Antigua and Barbuda residents as the nation prepares to embrace a wealth of business prospects stemming from hosting the 4th International Conference on Small Islands Developing States, scheduled for the end of May next year.
The conference was a focal point of discussion during this week’s cabinet meeting.
The Cabinet Notes for the week highlighted that the “United Nations (UN) 4th International Conference on Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) is slated to be held in Antigua and Barbuda from May 27th to May 30th, 2024, drawing an estimated 2,500 participants to our shores.”
In addition, it was underscored that the conference is poised to invigorate the local economy and provide an array of opportunities for service providers.
As a result, the Cabinet is encouraging service providers of various types, including proprietors of short-term rental properties, caterers, transportation providers, and concierge services, among others, to be well-prepared to offer their services to the conference attendees.
The government says it is committed to underlining the significance of this endeavor and the forthcoming opportunities.
To this end, a high-level committee has been established to explore and guide residents toward avenues of benefit.
The committee will be led by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, with the participation of Tourism Minister Charles Fernandez and UN Permanent Representative Dr. Aubrey Webson.
The Cabinet Notes further disclosed that in the coming weeks, the government will engage in consultations with various service providers with the aim of fostering active participation and engagement in this exciting opportunity.
Hosted by Antigua and Barbuda, SIDS4 will take place on 27-30 May under the theme Charting the Course Toward Resilient Prosperity. The Conference will agree a bold new Programme of Action for SIDS, with concrete, measurable, targets to support SIDS to achieve their sustainable development objectives over the next ten years.
SIDS have been recognized by the international community as requiring special attention, due to their unique vulnerabilities, including small size, geographically remoteness, narrow resource and export base and exposure to exogenous economic, social and environmental shocks.
The Conference will bring together world leaders from SIDS and their partners, civil society, the private sector, academia, youth and other stakeholders, through a formal programme, including plenary sessions and interactive dialogues, as well as a programme of side events, to develop practical and impactful solutions to address SIDS-specific challenges.