Press Release

Latest Consultations for Next Decade of Development Plans in Small Island Developing States Open in Cabo Verde

30 August 2023

Island Nations to Meet with International Partners to Agree on Ambition for Major 2024 UN Conference

Praia, Cabo Verde – 30 August: Small island nations from around the world are in Praia this week to agree on an ambitious programme for their development aspirations in advance of next year’s Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Antigua and Barbuda.

After six weeks of consultations in the Caribbean, Pacific, and Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea regions, the United Nations is convening a final inter-regional meeting for island nations to agree on a joint programme leading up to the 2024 conference on SIDS.

“Small Island Developing States are Large Ocean States – and any sustainable future for the planet relies therefore on a renewed and strengthened partnership between all island nations and the international community,” said Fatumanava-o-Upolu III Dr Pa’olelei Luteru, Permanent Representative of Samoa to the United Nations and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

Global consultations have shown that while SIDS are in the crossfire of multiple crises - climate change, inequality, and debt – they also have clear proposals for how these challenges are best addressed. The 4th SIDS Conference is where these proposals and more will be negotiated and adopted into a new programme of action for SIDS with full delivery plans and costings attached. Many of the conversations focused on reforming the financial and debt infrastructure.

“Financing for SIDS development should not be indexed to per capita investment or per capita income, but rather … to make countries more resilient and less vulnerable,” said Cabo Verde Prime Minister José Ulisses de Pina Correia e Silva at the opening of the meeting. “Transforming debt into climate and environmental finance is needed to create virtuous cycles” he continued.

While the 33 SIDS countries represent significant variance in their exposure to climate change, natural hazards, and access to global markets, the marked increase of related crises and disasters has affected them all. Climate-related disasters such as severe storms, floods, and drought have almost doubled over the last 20 years. In a sudden-onset disaster, SIDS can lose everything overnight. The constant cycle of disaster and recovery leaves them weakened and unable to build resilience—a pattern that the 2024 SIDS Conference aims to change.

“A resilient and sustainable prosperity is the ultimate goal of all Small Island Developing States,” said Li Junhua, UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, and Secretary-General of the 2024 SIDS Conference.

“This consultative process has shown that this is not just a dream. These countries have clear plans and ambitions for how to achieve their goals and the United Nations stands with them to deliver the partnerships, funding and momentum needed to deliver.”

SIDS may be small and isolated from large land masses, but they control an area of water on average 33 times larger than their land. Indeed, 19 per cent of the coral reefs in the world are in SIDS’ waters.

The Cabo Verde meeting is the final meeting in a two-month process that started in Mauritius for the AIS (Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea) region and continued in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the Caribbean, and Tonga for the Pacific.

SIDS are a special case,” said Rabab Fatima, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, and the Secretary-General's Special Advisor to the SIDS Conference.

“Their small size and remoteness mean limited resources, high trade dependence, and extreme exposure to volatility in the climate and international markets. The Antigua and Barbuda conference will be a crucial moment to tackle these structural impediments and get the SIDS back on track to a more resilient prosperity.”

Media contact

Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States | Conor O’Loughlin |

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Conor O’Loughlin

Conor O’Loughlin

Head of Advocacy & Outreach

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