The 2014 Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States: Regional Preparations and Perspectives


  • Michelle Scobie


The Institute of International Relations (IIR) held the SIDS +20 Forum in June 2013. In keeping with the Institute's mandate and vision, it brought together regional academics, non governmental organisations and policy makers to discuss the issues relevant to Small Island Developing States in the context of the regional preparations for the Third International Conference on SIDS (SIDS+20) then taking place in the three SIDS regions: Pacific, Caribbean and Atlantic and Indian Oceans, Mediterranean and South China Seas (AIMS) regions. The SIDS +20 Conference will be held in Samoa in September 2014. It marks an evolution in the international understanding of and engagement with the issues of small states and offers a unique opportunity to SIDS to chart their own development course and the way in which the global community can engage with these islands in the medium and long term.New partnerships, the new focus on their large marine space and the value of unique marine ecosystems and a need to move away from dependence on dwindling development aid are more recent additions to the traditional SIDS debates on development and vulnerability. This piece traces the evolution of the international agenda on SIDS from the First International Conference held in Barbados in 1994 right up to the International Conference on Sustainable Development of 2012 which had as one important outcome the call for the 2014 Third SIDS Conference. This paper sets the context for a selection of papers presented at the IIR Forum which follow and ends with a reflection on whether this latest international conference and attempt to elicit international support for these weak states will go farther than earlier attempts on the same theme.