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Antigua and Barbuda is preparing to host their largest-ever conference, the fourth Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference, with over 5,000 delegates expected to attend.
The conference will bring together high-level officials, policymakers, and activists worldwide.
Negotiations are ongoing with cruise vessel operators to provide additional accommodation in addition to the 2,500 hotel rooms reserved for SIDS attendees. Details regarding the name of the cruise vessel, cost, and operational details will be shared at a later date.
The American University of Antigua (AUA) has constructed a conference center capable of accommodating up to 1,500 delegates from UN member states, officials, interpreters, conference personnel, and the press. Given the congested nature of the country’s roads, the government is prioritizing transportation, particularly Friars Hill Road and Old Parham Road, which lead to the AUA campus.
To ensure a smooth transportation route, 86 buses, and 50 cars will transport delegates from their hotels to the conference center and some hotels have already set aside rooms requiring a down payment.
The conference, taking place from May 27 to May 30, will cost approximately US$6 million; however, the government has secured pledges from external donors to cover the expenses, with China, the United States, and the United Kingdom indicating their willingness to assist.
The conference is centered around the theme of ‘Charting the Course Toward Resilient Prosperity’ and will establish a new program of action for SIDS, with specific objectives to help SIDS achieve its sustainable development goals over the next decade.
The government has been in discussions with law enforcement officials to ensure the safety of all attendees and to determine the most effective way to handle security operations at the venue and throughout the week.
This conference marks the first time that Antigua and Barbuda will host the SIDS conference and is expected to position the country as a premier destination for conferences and events.