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Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

A landmark outcome of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) was the inclusion and recognition of small island developing States (SIDS) as a special case for matters of environment and sustainable development. In line with this outcome, Principle 6 of the Rio Declaration calls for priority to be given to the special needs of least developed and most environmentally vulnerable countries. In parallel, Agenda 21 (specifically Chapter 17, Paragraph 124) recognized the special situation of small island developing States (SIDS) as follows:  

Small island developing States, and islands supporting small communities are a special case both for environment and development. They are ecologically fragile and vulnerable. Their small size, limited resources, geographic dispersion and isolation from markets, place them at a disadvantage economically and prevent economies of scale. For small island developing States the ocean and coastal environment is of strategic importance and constitutes a valuable development resource (United Nations, 1993).

Since 1992, specific commitments and action plans have been adopted by and for SIDS, including the 1994 Barbados Declaration and Programme of Action (BPOA) for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and the 2005 Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (MSI). These two documents are considered the sustainable development blueprints for SIDS.

Since 2011, ECLAC subregional headquarters for the Caribbean has provided support to Caribbean SIDS in preparing for the meeting of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) (see Roadmap) in the following areas:

  • Sensitisation on the issues that will be addressed at Rio+20 through the programme of work of the Sustainable Development Unit and at the third meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Regional Coordinating Mechanism convened by ECLAC in Port of Spain on 13 April 2011;

  • Preparation of a Caribbean outcome statement detailing emerging issues, challenges and next steps for the continued implementation of sustainable development goals within the context of the green economy and institutional strengthening as a result of the Caribbean subregional preparatory meeting held in Georgetown, Guyana on 20 June 2011 and the meeting 'Climate change and the United Nations Conference on Sustainble Development: A focus on the Caribbean' convened in Santiago, Chile on 6 September 2011.. This will feed into the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Meeting Preparatory to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which will take place in Santiago, on 7-9 September 2011;

  • Preparation of inputs for chapter IV of the United Nations inter-agency report “Sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean 20 years on from the Earth Summit: progress, gaps and strategic guidelines”, which will examine the progress made by Caribbean SIDS towards the internationally agreed goals on sustainable development emanating from the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. 

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Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (MSI)

Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (BPOA)

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