Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a heterogeneous group of states grouped in three regions: the Caribbean, the Pacific and Africa, the Indian Ocean and South Pacific region. Despite their diversity, SIDS' small size and geographic isolation underpin their unifying trait: extreme vulnerability to environmental and economic shocks, as well as great resilience and unity of vision in engaging globally towards sustainable development.
The economies of SIDS are characterized by a strong dependence on global partners through trade, tourism, remittance and concessional financing. Their growth and development is often further blocked by high transportation and communication costs, disproportionately expensive infrastructure due to their small size, and little or no opportunity to create economies of scale. Consequently, SIDS have suffered more from the financial crisis in 2008 than most other developing countries, and the COVID-19 crises has exacerbated their economic vulnerability, making it even more difficult for SIDS to achieve sustained economic growth and provide decent work to their people.
In addition, small islands are so-called hotspots of climate change. Here, the adverse effects of sea-level rise, increasing temperatures, and extreme weather events are already felt, making adaptation urgent.
To achieve sustainable development, SIDS have built their resilience to external shocks and are adopting development strategies that deliver economic growth, diversification and decent work. The blue economy can catalyse this process, bringing wealth and jobs to island communities while restoring ocean and inland ecosystems.
The blue economy approach offers small islands the opportunity to break their dependence on a narrow range of goods and services, predominantly tourism, fisheries and agriculture, and to expand into new blue growth sectors, including marine biotechnology, aquaculture and ocean renewable energy.
However, realizing the full potential of the blue economy requires securing investment and finance; an appropriately skilled workforce; and the effective inclusion of all societal groups, including marginalized and underrepresented ones.
The SIDS Dialogues aim to flag out opportunities and reinforce the existing network across SIDS, that have long been stewards of vast ocean spaces, and provide a space for them to share, scale up and replicate national and regional experiences of blue economy and related services.
The Forum targets professionals supporting or interested in supporting the blue and green economy in SIDS. The Forum specifically targets: - Government officials operating at the local, provincial and national level; - Trade unions and employers' organizations; - ILO and UN staff; - Development organizations; - Donor organizations; - Research and education institutions ; - Universities
The SIDS Dialogues will be held online from 21 to 25 November 2022. Each day participants will have access to two live online sessions of 90 minutes each and have access to asynchronous activities participants complete either individually or in groups.
Online webinar sessions are highly participatory, featuring activities designed to foster peer-to-peer interaction and collaborative learning. Webinars will take place at 8:00pm-11:30pm CET, corresponding to 3:00pm-6:30pm AST and 7:00am-11:30am FJT (of the following day).
Training content is made available on the ITCILO e-learning platform, the eCampus. This will feature webinar links and recordings, preliminary or supplementary readings, slides and other training materials and discussion forum.
The SIDS Dialogues cover the following topics: