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The Irish Government has recently announced its pledge to contribute approximately 1 million Euros towards the 4th International Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference.
This conference is scheduled to take place from 27th to 30th May 2024 at the American University of Antigua (AUA) and is expected to attract high-level officials from various countries.
The primary goal of this conference is to review the progress of sustainable development and discuss the challenges faced by small islands in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This conference aims to propose a path forward for a decade of partnerships and solutions, with a focus on finding viable solutions to the challenges faced by small islands.
It is worth noting that the SIDS conference in 2024 has been budgeted at around US$5-6 million.
The Irish Government, along with other countries, is hoping to primarily fund this conference through assistance from countries like China.
The conference is expected to provide a platform for countries to come together and share their experiences, best practices, and solutions to the complex challenges faced by small island nations in achieving sustainable development.
Meanwhile, the government has emphasized the importance of Ireland’s voice in advocating to the EU Commission and engaging with Antigua and Barbuda on the issue of blacklisting, as the country is working hard to curb illicit funds in the financial sector.
On Thursday, the Ambassador of Ireland to Antigua and Barbuda, Eamonn McKee, paid courtesy calls to Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Minister of Foreign Affairs E.P. Chet Greene.
Greene thanked Ambassador McKee and the Government of Ireland for their cooperation and engagement with Antigua and Barbuda.
He also expressed his appreciation for the hosting of the inaugural Latin America and the Caribbean Business Forum entitled ‘Ireland and LAC – Expanding Opportunity.’
During the meeting, Prime Minister Browne expressed the government’s desire to deepen sporting relations, cultural relations, and greater people-to-people exchanges.
He also thanked the Government of Ireland for their support for the upcoming 4th International Conference on SIDS and expressed their appreciation for the advocacy of Ireland on the challenges that affect SIDS.
Meanwhile, during this forum, he had the opportunity to meet with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Micheál Martin, to discuss and build upon existing trade and investment links.
Ambassador McKee empathized with the importance of having a comparative advantage in a competing world, as Ireland also has an economy strongly based on Foreign Direct Investment.
He pledged to assist with this engagement, stating that “Ireland can be a key partner to Antigua and Barbuda post-Brexit…”
Although formal notes were exchanged years ago through both countries’ respective missions at the United Nations, this is the first time an Ambassador of Ireland is presenting credentials to be formally accredited to Antigua and Barbuda, signalling the beginning of deeper engagements between both countries.
The history of Irish presence in Antigua and Barbuda dates back to the 1600s when a sizeable portion of the Caucasian population in Antigua and Barbuda consisted of Irish people who arrived in Antigua as indentured servants, merchants, planters, and slave owners.