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Volume 28 | No.4 | April 2024

Acting together to accelerate SIDS progress

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are on a collective journey toward sustainable development, seeking innovative solutions to address their unique challenges. The fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) in Antigua and Barbuda from 27-30 May 2024 is happening at a critical juncture. Many SIDS are still reeling from the double shocks of the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, while also dealing with the rapidly accelerating impacts of climate change. It can no longer be “business as usual” for SIDS.

The international community is responding by gathering in New York to negotiate a new programme of action for SIDS that will establish their sustainable development objectives for the next 10 years and the support required from the international community to meet them. 

Among other things, SIDS aspire to: 

  • build resilient economies
  • foster safe, healthy and prosperous societies
  • achieve water, food and energy security
  • conserve biodiversity
  • protect and sustainably use the ocean and its resources
  • halt and urgently mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change

To meet these ambitions, SIDS are calling for increased access to concessional finance. This may be through expanding multilateral lending, enhancing the voice and representation of SIDS in international financial institutions, and incorporating vulnerability into the allocation of concessional finance, accompanied by support to sustainably manage their debt levels. Efforts to support the sustainable development of SIDS will be futile without urgent action to implement the Paris Agreement and scale up climate finance, in line with existing obligations and commitments. 

As a launchpad for action at SIDS4, the Preparatory Committee, will convene its second session from 01-05 April 2024 in New York to continue discussions on the draft outcome document and to decide on remaining procedural matters. 

Ahead of this milestone conference, there are also opportunities for journalists from SIDS countries to engage. Invited by the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) and UN DESA, they are asked to submit their work for a chance to participate in the SIDS4 Conference. Selected journalists will receive full funding to report on the conference. The application deadline is on 10 April 2024. 

Additionally, photojournalists and amateurs alike can submit their photographs showcasing the beauty of small islands and the dynamism of the people who live there in a special category related to SIDS4 in the annual UN World Oceans Day Photo Contest. The application deadline for this is on 07 April. 

Learn more about SIDS4:

Learn more about the SIDS Journalism Fellowship (deadline on 10 April 2024): 

Learn more about the UN World Oceans Day Photo Contest (deadline on 07 April 2024):

Photo by TopSphere Media on Unsplash.