51 states around the world have been designated as Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Many face challenges to sustainable development, including unreliable infrastructure, economic vulnerability and challenging geography and climate. Representatives gathered yesterday in New York to address these issues and prepare for Rio+20.
The meeting brought together different areas to discuss common positions of small islands, their development strategies and their expectations of Rio+20. Earlier this summer, Seychelles President James Michel characterized the position of Small Island Developing States as being on the ‘frontline’ of dealing with any ‘turbulence’, whether economic or environmental, which then goes on to shake the whole world.
Recognizing the importance of small islands, the SIDS Network (SIDSNet) is operated by UN DESA. SIDSNet, which also coordinated the 1 September meeting, helps to facilitate knowledge-sharing between remote locations. The aim of this work, enabled by communication technologies, is improved use of resources for economic growth and poverty reduction.
SIDSNet and Rio+20 thus share a common purpose for their work. Rio+20 will review the progress of past initiatives and discuss the handling of emerging issues, with a particular focus on developing the green economy to tackle poverty, and building strong frameworks for development. The meeting of the SIDS regions was a significant step in setting the agenda of the Rio meetings.