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Trends in Sustainable Development -Small Islands Developing States (SIDS)
United Nations, 2014
Small island developing States (SIDS) are a “special case” for sustainable development: this was recognized in 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio, and reaffirmed in Barbados in 1994 at the first UN Global Conference on SIDS and again in Mauritius in 2005 at the second SIDS Conference. During the Rio + 20 Conference in 2012, the “special case” was re-emphasized, and this formed the basis of the call for a Third International Conference on SIDS, to be held in Samoa in 2014.
Certain characteristics—including size, remoteness, insularity, vulnerability to external shock, and others—are shared by SIDS and together help define “special case”. But, as is evident in the following pages, many of the challenges facing SIDS do not necessarily originate from SIDS nor are they always unique to SIDS. They are global problems requiring global solutions.
Indeed, many of the urgent issues treated here, including climate change, oceans and natural disasters, are challenges related to the global commons and are decidedly not of the SIDS’ own making.
But as the following pages illustrate, SIDS are on the front lines, experiencing the impacts of these threats with particular immediacy and intensity. In the realm of social development as well—from gender equality and youth employment to crime and violence and non-communicable diseases—SIDS are grappling with urgent issues that are inextricably tied to global realities.
The purpose of Trends in Sustainable Development: Small Island Developing States, then, is to take a careful look at a number of key global issues, but from the unique perspective offered by SIDS. It is hoped that by tracking recent progress made and gaps remaining, this publication will raise awareness of the special case of SIDS and the way SIDS sustainable development is linked with global sustainable development. Ultimately this understanding should encourage action at all levels to counteract the vulnerabilities and enhance the resilience of SIDS.

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United Nations