By Julia Rawlins-Bentham
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- Barbados will play host to the third Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Global Inter-Regional Conference from Monday, August 26 to Wednesday, August 28.
The high-level meeting will see approximately 250 delegates including ministers and senior technical experts from the 43 SIDS, members of the United Nations Community led by undersecretary general for economic and social affairs, Wu Hongbo, and several members of major groups of international, regional and local non-governmental organisations, coming to Barbados to discuss a number of issues critical to the development of small island states.
This meeting will be preparatory for the third international conference on the sustainable development of SIDS to be held in Apia, Samoa, in September 2014.
Minister of the environment and drainage, Dr Denis Lowe, explained that the three-day conference will bring together the three SIDS regions to finalise a document which will form the basis for international negotiations towards the 2014 conference.
In addition, Lowe noted, “It will be a time for the SIDS to showcase their progress on issues, [such as] climate change issues, and establishment of the Climate Change Centre for the Caribbean.”
Lowe explained that next month’s conference would also give Barbados an opportunity to showcase its achievements relative to the programme of action on the sustainable development of SIDS since the inaugural conference, which was held in Barbados in 1994.
Among those achievements, he said, was the approach being taken through the development of the green economy as well as work being conducted in the area of oceans and oceans management.
The minister indicated that the upcoming inter-regional conference would give Barbados an opportunity to showcase its best practices globally, and to establish linkages for future cooperation with other SIDS.
This conference will also allow SIDS to take stock of what progress has been made in the 20 years since the 1994 Barbados conference; examine new and emerging challenges and opportunities for the sustainable development of SIDS; and finally, identify priorities for future development.
The 2014 Samoa conference, like the one held in Barbados in 1994, is expected to focus the world’s attention on the unique vulnerabilities of SIDS, building on the outcomes of last year’s Rio+20 Conference and make a lasting concrete contribution to the advancement of sustainable development with special attention on SIDS.