Essay: SIDS – small island developing states

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  • Subject area(s): International Relations
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  • Published on: February 1, 2016
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  • SIDS - small island developing states
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This task gives an overview of what SIDS stands for, how it emerged, its shared features of the states, the number of states in it, why SIDS was considered as a special case at the UN conference, the types of challenges faced by them, landmark moments and the relevance of the landmark moments.
SIDS is an acronym which stands for Small Island Developing States. This acronym first appeared during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 to shift the attention of the international community to the unique features of the small, ecologically fragile, and economically vulnerable island states. The Small Island Developing States has a unique context and vulnerability with regards to issues of sustainability especially in the case of climate change and risk of disaster. Therefore, a lot of measures are being put in place to reorient education to improve upon the support on sustainable development and adaptive capacity.
Small Island Developing States popularly known as SIDS is considered as a “special case” for sustainable development because of its ecological fragility and vulnerability. This became a recognition in the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio, and was reaffirmed in Barbados at the first UN Global Conference on Small Island Developing States in 1994 and again in 2005 at the second SIDS Conference in Mauritius. During the +20 Conference held in Rio in 2012, the
“special case” was re-affirmed, and this prompted the beginning of the call for a Third International Conference on SIDS, held in Samoa in 2014.
Certain characteristics which include size, remoteness, insularity, vulnerability
to external shock, and others where shared by SIDS and together helped define it as a “special case”. They include low-lying coastal countries that share similar sustainable development challenges, including small population, lack of resources, remoteness, susceptibility to natural disasters, excessive dependence on international trade and vulnerability to global developments. These Island States face challenges such as economies of scale, high transportation, communication costs, education, employment, crimes and violence, climate change such as sea level rise, natural disasters, waste management, finance and trade, food security and excessive dependence on international trade. SIDS are situated in zones that are highly affected by natural disasters including hurricanes, droughts and floods. This was the case in 2012 in Cuba with Hurricane Sandy killing eleven people and destroying more than hundred thousand homes. These destruction amounted to two million dollars.
The Small Island Developing States involves fifty two countries and or territories among which thirty eight of these countries are member states of the United Nations and the rest being non-member states and non-self-governing, non-independent territories that are associate member of the United Nations regional commissions. SIDS has three geographical regions which includes the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea (AIMS). Most of the states are members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) an expedient negotiating body in support of SIDS at the United Nations.
“One of the main challenges is to mainstream heritage in disaster risk management and development sectors for effective mitigation, response and recovery actions before, during and after disasters. To globally address these challenges, the involvement of several initiatives have been taken into consideration by various international organisations such as the UNESCO, the Barbados Program of Action, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), the international Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)”.
In April 1994, the SIDS program formally begun when its first global conference on sustainable development was summoned in Barbados. It was through the conference that the Barbados program of Action was adopted to put in place specific actions and measures to be taken at the regional, national and international levels in aid of sustainable development in SIDS. The Barbados Program of Action communicates the concerns of SIDS relating to sustainable development, climate change and disaster risk preparation and also, other features of global concern such as the biodiversity resources, the preservation of unique habitat areas, climate change, natural and environment disasters, management of wastes, tourism resources and the like.
The Agenda 21 is one of the international recognized landmark to the SIDS. To meet the challenges of the environment and development, States decided to establish a new global partnership and this partnership calls for all states to engage in a continuous and constructive dialogue which inspired the need to achieve a more efficient and equitable world economy. Agenda 21 addresses the most pressing issues of being faced by the SIDS and it aims at preparing the world for the
challenges of the next century. It also reflects a global consensus and political commitment at the highest level on development and environment cooperation.
Mauritius Strategy of Implementation was instructed by the UN GA Resolution, the high level Mauritius International meeting held in Port Louis, Mauritius in January 2005 served as the conclusion to the ten year comprehensive review of the Barbados Program of Action for the sustainable development of SIDS.

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