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The Fourth International Conference on SIDS (SIDS4) is taking place this May, and United Nations stakeholders agree that it is crucial for the international community to establish a strong action plan for small island developing states.
Currently, UN Member States are participating in the first Preparatory Committee Meeting for SIDS4, where they are engaging in negotiations on a new ten-year programme of action for SIDS.
The Preparatory Committee Meeting is scheduled from 22 to 26 January 2024, and the ten-year programme of action for SIDS will be adopted during SIDS4 in Antigua and Barbuda, from 27 to 30 May 2024.
SIDS continue to encounter significant challenges to their sustainable development, particularly due to the effects of climate change, food-price volatility, and external financial shocks.
The upcoming programme of action will be built on the foundation of the SAMOA Pathway, and it will depict a comprehensive development agenda for SIDS for the next ten years.
It will also define SIDS’ development priorities and the support required from the international community to make the SIDS-led, SIDS-focused agenda achievable.
Despite being designated as a special case for environment and development due to their unique vulnerabilities to external shocks and stressors, the situation for SIDS remains unchanged after 30 years of targeted action and recognition from the international community.
The co-chairs of the Preparatory Committee, H.E. Caroline Schwalger, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, and H.E. Dr. Ali Naseer Mohamed, Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations, reminded Member States of the seriousness of the work ahead and reiterated their commitment to facilitating negotiations towards an ambitious, action-oriented outcome.
Chair of AOSIS, H.E. Fatumanava-o-Upolu III Pa’olelei Luteru of Samoa, stated that AOSIS advocates for a new and more responsive UN for SIDS, which is critical to deliver a robust 10-year outcome. SIDS’ survival is at risk, and their people, natural environments, and overall sustainable development are under threat.
The development challenges SIDS are facing are far outpacing their ability to respond, and they seem to be going from one event to another without the time or ability to recover and regrow. They are running out of time and space to maneuver.
The international community expressed strong political commitment to the aspiration of SIDS, with 42 statements from UN Member States and 22 statements from UN entities and other stakeholders.
Urgent action is needed to address the impacts of climate change, which are existential for many SIDS, to build resilience, reform the international financial architecture to enable SIDS to access sufficient and sustainable finance, and alleviate the impact of external shocks.
Stavros Lambrinidis, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, spoke on behalf of the European Union, stating that the EU will engage constructively in the negotiations on the SIDS4 outcome document and that the EU is committed to achieving strong, concrete results for SIDS for the next ten years.
H.E. James Larsen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations, spoke on behalf of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (CANZ), extending their unwavering support for the upcoming process to agree on a new programme of action that delivers meaningful outcomes for SIDS.
Negotiations on the outcome document will continue ahead of the Second Preparatory Committee meeting on 1 to 5 April 2024.