Twenty years down the road from the Barbados Programme of Action (1994) and ten years after the Mauritius Strategy (2004), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are in Apia, Samoa to take stock and define future priorities at the Third International Conference on SIDS, from 1 to 4 September.
This Conference carries strategic stakes and will help to shape a stronger, new global sustainable development agenda beyond 2015. It must recognize the importance of SIDS in providing early-warning to the planet as a whole – as custodians of vast ocean spaces that are essential for food security, biodiversity, carbon sequestration and cultural diversity.
Small island societies have a record of thriving in challenging times. Their long histories are characterized by innovative approaches, societal mobilization and adaptation rooted in tradition and continuity. Over the years, SIDS have made significant advances towards sustainable island living. They have become living laboratories of education for sustainable development. Faced with a future whose only certainty is change, SIDS must indeed constantly invest in education, scientific research as well as in human capacities to foster resilience and adaptation. In doing so, they are looking for genuine partnerships to address their priority needs and to move forward in an empowered manner.