Small Island Developing States conference to kick off in Samoa

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The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States will be held from 1 to 4 September 2014 in Faleata Sports Complex in Apia, Independent State of Samoa, to be preceded by Pre-Conference Activities related to the conference from 28 to 30 August 2014, also in Apia, Samoa.

SIDS and Climate Change 

SIDS were first recognised as a special case of the environment and development at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992.  Its outcome document, Agenda 21, underscores these States to have all the environmental problems and challenges of the coastal zone concentrated in a limited land area.

About 26 percent of the land area of SIDS is 5 meters or below above sea level, and nearly 30 percent of almost 65 million people living in SIDS live within this zone.

The recently released IPCC Fifth Report reaffirmed the high vulnerability of SIDS to sea level rise, increasing air and sea surface temperatures, and changing rainfall.  These climate-related threats are forecasted to continue to increase with associated impacts and risks increasingly affecting the sustainability of islands and communities, and their adaptive capacity.  

For more on SIDS and Climate Change, consult the Partnership Brief on Climate Change and Risk Reducation.  

SIDS and Sustainable Energy

Similarly, energy plays a critical role in the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States.  Access to sustainable and renewable modern energy services contributes to poverty eradication, saves lives, improves health and helps provide for basic human needs. Many SIDS face critical challenges related to high dependency on imported fossil fuels, global volatile oil prices and high use of foreign exchange of energy resources, which place stress on the economy.  This situation affects, in particular, the poor who cannot afford sustainable energy. 

Women make up the biggest bracket of the poor in the SIDS, who bear the burden of providing and using biomass energy for cooking.  A situation made worse by fuel scarcity - which also negatively impacts health and safety. 

Access to affordable energy is also a key requirement for the development, productivity and competitiveness of local industry and private sector in SIDS, such as agriculture, fishery, tourism, water and sanitation.  

For more on SIDS and Sustainable Energy, consult the Partnership Brief on Sustainable Energy.

Policy-Making & Parliamentary Action 

The conference will include multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues to explore potential partnerships and strategies that can strengthen action on environmental issues faced by Small Island Developing States.  Among these are sessions on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management and on Sustainable Energy.  In addition, side events will allow participants to explore specific issues in more detail and discuss policy solutions.  

AGORA will report on the involvement of parliamentarians and policy-makers at the SIDS conference and will share news, policy proposals and parliamentary action points.  To share your updates, get in touch at info@agora-parl.org or find us on Twitter at @AgoraParl.