Small Island Developing States


Tourism represents more than 30 per cent of SIDS' total exports and focuses primarily on fragile biotic systems like beaches, reefs and other coastal resources.


The UN General Assembly has declared 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

SIDS are culturally and biologically unique and, due to their size and relative isolation, economically, environmentally and socially vulnerable to shocks over which they have little or no control. This places them at a distinct disadvantage compared with larger countries, requiring particular support for sustainable development. Clustered into three regions - the Caribbean; the Pacific; and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea Region - many SIDS countries are members of UNEP Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans.


Overall coordination of the delivery of UNEP's SIDS Programme is provided by the Freshwater and Marine Ecosystems Branch. Many of the Branch's activities directly involve or benefit SIDS, while others form part of projects cutting across UNEP´s six priority areas and geographic regions.

Where SIDS is the main beneficiaries, projects have been incorporated into three UNEP Sub-Programme Framework Documents:

  • Climate change ("Ecosystem-based adaptation in vulnerable coastal cities in Pacific Small Island Developing States");
  • Ecosystem management ("Integrated Marine and Coastal Environment and Resource Management for Human Well-being"); and
  • Environmental governance ("Support to the Mauritius +5 follow-up and SIDS preparatory process for RIO+20").

The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States will be held from 1 to 4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa, to be preceded by activities related to the conference from 28 to 30 August 2014, also in Apia, Samoa. For more information, please visit http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/sustainable/sids.html.