Economic Development

UPDATING LIVE: Small island States meet in Antigua and Barbuda charting new course to sustainable prosperity

Good morning from the blue waters and lush green hills of the Caribbean. We’re reporting live from the high level opening of the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) on the beautiful twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. 

08:45 AM – It all gets going in a few minutes’ time with a cultural opening event. Luckily the sun is shining this morning, in comparison with yesterday’s debilitating rain storms that reminded everyone here of the unpredictability of increasingly extreme weather that will be one of the chief talking points this week.

You can find full coverage of the entire week and special features leading up to the conference, on our landing page here.

‘Resilient prosperity’

More than 20 world leaders, together with representatives from the private sector, civil society, academia and youth – close to 4,000 participants in all – have gathered at the verdant conference venue in the American University of Antigua close to the capital St John’s, to tackle critical issues impacting the future of SIDS. 

Under the theme Charting the course toward resilient prosperity, the four-day Conference (27-30 May) will showcase new innovations and develop practical solutions to address critical SIDS-specific challenges driven by the climate emergency, spiralling debt and health crises. 

For more on the conference, check out our curtain raiser story here, and UN News was at one of the high level events over the weekend organized by more than 80 young changemakers from across the globe and you can check out their demand for action here.


The Conference will adopt The Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS (ABAS) – a Renewed Declaration for Resilient Prosperity, which sets out the sustainable development aspirations of small islands over the next decade and the support required from the international community to achieve them.

The SIDS across the Pacific, Caribbean and Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea are home to approximately 65 million people. They manage 19.1 per cent of the world’s Exclusive Economic Zones and the resources they hold.

Accounting for 14 per cent of the world’s coastlines, SIDS boast a high degree of biodiversity. SIDS have pioneered renewable energy solutions, championed sustainable tourism while spearheading conservation efforts and making major strides in developing ocean-based economies. 


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