Priorities and Issues

Small Island Developing States

The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a distinct group of 38 United Nations (UN) Member States and 20 Non-UN Members/Associate Members of UN regional commissions that face unique social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities.

The three geographical regions in which SIDS are grouped into are: the Caribbean, the Pacific, and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea (AIS).

The United Nations recognizes SIDS as a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities. SIDS remain constrained in meeting their goals in all three dimensions of sustainable development. The United Nations has also recognized the ownership and leadership SIDS in overcoming some of these challenges, but stress that in the absence of international cooperation, success will remain difficult.

Challenges faced by the SIDS

Small Island Developing States, including the Maldives, face a range of interconnected challenges that threaten their sustainable development and resilience. Some of the key challenges faced by SIDS are:

  1. Access to Development Finance
  2. Limitations in Economic opportunities and Trade Facilitation
  3. Middle-Income Trap
  4. Impacts of Climate Change
  5. Access to Technology
  6. Collaboration and Partnerships
  7. Social Challenges
SIDS Accelerated Modalities Of Action [S.A.M.O.A.] Pathway

The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) was held in Apia, Samoa on 1-4 September 2014. 

At this conference the ‘SAMOA Pathway’ (Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action), a 10-year programme of action to promote international assistance to address the challenges facing small island developing states was adopted. 

Fourth International SIDS Conference - 2024

In 2024, the International Community will come together in Antigua and Barbuda to convene the 4th United Nations Conference for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and would adopt a successor sustainable development blueprint for SIDS that would take them through the next 10 years.

Maldives and New Zealand are the co-chairs of the Preparatory Committee for the Fourth International Conference on SIDS.

Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI)

A Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) is a vital tool to help SIDS gain access to the concessional financing that they need to survive the climate catastrophe, to improve their long-term national planning, service their debts, and sign up to insurance and compensation schemes that may be their last hope when the waters rise. 

Crises such as the Climate Crisis, Debt and Infrastructure are more expensive for SIDS. Their domestic resources are limited, and therefore SIDS rely on external financing to help prepare and recover from crises. And in this context, Overseas Development Assistance from partner countries doesn’t stretch as far. And additional financing is required to be raised through financial institutions or other tools. SIDS face difficulties in accessing concessional financing for these much needed development, and resilience building and recovery efforts, often due to their high GDP per capita. 

An MVI acts as a complement to GDP per capita measures to assess development, by providing a picture of the economic, social and environmental vulnerabilities that SIDS face, and their capacity to overcome those crises.  

Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)

AOSIS is a coalition of small island and low-lying coastal countries that share similar development challenges and concerns about the environment, especially their vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change. 

It functions primarily as a lobby and negotiating voice for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) within the United Nations system. 

The Small States Conference on Sea Level Rise, held in the Malé from 14-18 November 1989, and the Malé Declaration on Global Warning and Sea Level Rise contributed to the creation of AOSIS.

The Maldives assumed the Chairmanship of AOSIS from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2018. During its tenure as the Chair, the Maldives aimed to lead the voices of small island states through a year of milestones. In addition, the Maldives also aimed to further strengthen the character and status of AOSIS as the norm entrepreneur and bridge builder, during its term as Chair.

Recent Updates

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fathulla Jameel Building, Malé, 20077, Republic of Maldives, | Tel Number: 00960 332-3400  |  Emergency Contact: 00960 798-3400