The United Nations launched the International Year of Small Islands Developing States on the 24th of February, celebrating the economic, social and cultural contributions that this group of countries has made to the world, as well as raise awareness of the challenges they face such as climate change and rising sea levels.
The Year highlights the common links between small islands developing States and other countries, and encourage new partnerships to achieve a sustainable future for generations to come.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the ceremony at the Trusteeship Council, UN Headquarters with the President of the General Assembly, John W. Ashe. A promotional video for the Year was showcased followed by statements from senior representatives of small island developing States. The ceremony closed with cultural performances from each of the three small island regions.
- Click here to read or watch the Secretary-General’s remarks.
- Click here to read or watch the General Assembly President’s remarks.
2014 will be a big year for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with the United Nations Conference on SIDS also taking place in Apia, Samoa, from 1 to 4 September. The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa will seek a renewed political commitment to address the special needs and vulnerabilities of SIDS by focusing on practical actions. Building on assessments of previous commitments (such as the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation), the Conference will aim to identify and address new and emerging challenges and opportunities for sustainable development of SIDS, particularly through the strengthening of partnerships between these islands and the international community. Many issues that will be addressed at the Conference are also central to the post-2015 development agenda.