Small Island Developing States Global Business Network Forum 2022

Held bi-annually since 2016, the 2022 Small Island Developing States Global Business Network (SIDS-GBN) Forum will be take place on 12 April on the margins of the Our Ocean Conference being hosted by Palau.

Recognising the importance of the ocean for sustainable development in addition to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the upcoming forum will focus on ocean partnerships to enhance resilience in island nations.

Like other economic sectors globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption in the ocean sector from declining economic activity including fisheries and tourism which SIDS are heavily reliant on. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, SIDS suffered an estimated 70% drop in travel receipts in 2020. The UN World Tourism Organisation estimates that it could take up to four years for international tourism, an essential source of jobs and livelihoods, to recover to levels observed in 2019.

Some tourism-dependent SIDS are expected to experience particularly severe GDP contractions. In Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Fiji, Maldives and Saint Lucia, GDP is expected to shrink by 16% or more, making the current crisis the worst in recorded history. For fisheries-dependent SIDS – such as Comoros, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Tuvalu – expected GDP drops range between 0.5% (Tuvalu) and 4.5% (Marshall Islands).

The forum is expected to renew the call for private sector partnerships for ocean-based sectors, to unlock new, sustainable economic opportunities that can foster diversification and resilience in SIDS. The right investment, however small, has the potential to make meaningful impacts on the livelihood of many islanders. Strong private sectors in SIDS can foster economic activity in areas such as renewable energy, job creation, competitive exports, technology transfer, strengthened small and medium enterprises and improved standards of living.

The forum will focus on three ocean related themes:

  • Blue Economy
  • Renewable Energy
  • Tourism

SIDS, many of which refer to themselves as ‘large ocean states’, are taking a bold stance on the sustainable ocean economy. They have developed blue economy strategies and become leaders on the international sustainable ocean agenda. SIDS have called on the international community to support their ambition for sustainable ocean economies.