5 June 2024
SIDS4 Outcome Outlines Actions to Achieve SIDS’ Priorities by 2034
Photo Credit: Lynn Wagner
story highlights

ABAS outlines SIDS’ priorities and ambitions to: build resilient economies; foster safe, healthy, and prosperous societies; ensure a secure future; and achieve environmental protection and planetary sustainability, with international support.

The document lists concrete actions to realize ABAS by 2034.

Even if fully implemented, observers have raised concerns that ABAS may not be enough to ensure SIDS’ resilient prosperity.

The Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) approved its outcome document, ‘Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS: A Renewed Declaration for Resilient Prosperity’ (ABAS). Negotiated during the preparatory process at UN Headquarters in New York, US, the document was adopted by acclamation without further discussion.

ABAS lays out the “SIDS story” by recalling the past three SIDS conferences and taking stock of progress made and challenges encountered over the last three decades. It notes that even though SIDS were struck by two “once in a generation” crises – the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, they have become global leaders on issues such as climate change, financial system reform, plastic pollution, and ocean governance.

However, the document notes, SIDS are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change due to their small size, geographical remoteness, highly dispersed populations, the limited scale and undiversified nature of their economies, high dependence on external markets, and extreme exposure to natural disasters. Stressing that “the next ten years are critical for SIDS,” ABAS underscores the importance of inclusive and resilient sustainable development in line with the 2030 Agenda and other international instruments.

ABAS outlines SIDS’ priorities and ambitions, including to:

  • Build resilient economies by, inter alia, developing and expanding SIDS’ productive capacity, increasing trade and investment, promoting resilient and sustainable tourism, and promoting sustainable ocean-based economies;
  • Foster safe, healthy, and prosperous societies by, among other actions, strengthening health systems, building strong institutions, and achieving gender equality, empowering youth, and leaving no one behind;
  • Ensure a secure future by, among others, fostering sustainable energy transitions, developing integrated water resources management, enhancing food security, building resilient infrastructure, and enhancing transportation and connectivity; and
  • Achieve environmental protection and planetary sustainability, with international support, by: urgently taking action on climate change; conserving and sustainably using the ocean and its resources; conserving, restoring, and sustainably using biodiversity; and mainstreaming disaster risk reduction (DRR).

To realize ABAS by 2034, the document lists concrete actions across ten thematic areas: building economic resilience; scaling up climate action and support; scaling up biodiversity action; conserving and sustainably using the ocean and its resources; mainstreaming DRR; achieving safe and healthy societies; improving data collection, analysis, and use; promoting science, technology, innovation, and digitalization; fostering productive populations; and enhancing partnerships. The document acknowledges the need for a more effective UN to support SIDS and outlines the commitment to ABAS’s systematic monitoring and evaluation over the next ten years.

Even if fully implemented, observers have raised concerns that ABAS may not be enough to ensure SIDS’ resilient prosperity, the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) analysis of the meeting warns.

The four-day conference featured interactive dialogues on pressing issues facing SIDS, including on how to make climate finance work for SIDS, building on the UNFCCC COP 28 outcomes, according to the ENB summary report. More than 200 side events convened alongside the formal proceedings.

SIDS4 convened in Saint Johns, Antigua and Barbuda, from 27-30 May 2024, under the theme, ‘Charting the Course Toward Resilient Prosperity.’ [ENB Coverage of SIDS4]

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