Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS): A civil society perspective on priorities for sustainable development


  • Nicole Leotaud
  • Anna Cadiz


The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) and other members of the Independent Research Forum (IRF2015) are promoting a new development agenda which must recognise the mutual dependency of economic, social and environmental outcomes; be grounded in local experiences and needs; and be adaptable to diverse contexts and capacities. Major shifts are needed in how we approach development: from 'development assistance' to a universal global compact; from top-down decision- making to multi- stakeholder decision-making processes; from economic models that increase inequalities and risks to ones that reduce them; from business models based on shareholder value to those based on stakeholder value; from meeting 'easy' development targets to tackling systematic barriers to progress; from damage control to investing in resilience; from concepts and testing to scaled up interventions; and from multiple discrete actions to cross coordination. Caribbean experiences, needs and opportunities must be considered in global agenda-setting development in the Caribbean islands include participatory and integrated inter-sectoral governance and management of natural resources including for regional resources in the Caribbean Sea. Priorities for building resilience to climate change and disasters include integrating local and traditional knowledge into decision-making, participatory policy development and planning, and facilitating community-led adaptation planning and action. Developing and strengthening partnerships with SIDS civil society actors is a critical strategy to achieving a coordinated, inclusive and effective approach to sustainable development in SIDS and will require building capacity of both government and civil society to go forward with a collective voice on Caribbean SIDS priorities for SDGs post-2015.