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The OECS Has a Strong Presence at International SIDS4 Conference

The OECS Has a Strong Presence at International SIDS4 Conference

OECS Media Release

June 19, 2024 — The 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS-4) took place in Antigua and Barbuda from May 27-30, under the theme "Charting the Course Toward Resilient Prosperity." This significant event, hosted at the American University in Antigua, focused on the ability of SIDS to achieve sustainable development, including the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

Hon. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and President of the SIDS4 Conference, opened the event emphasising the unique challenges faced by SIDS, stating,

“This is a crucial gathering at a time of unprecedented global challenges in which SIDS find themselves on the frontline of a battle against a conference of crisis, none of which they have caused or created. Our inherent vulnerabilities characterised by small size, limited financial resources and constrained human capital place us at a marked disadvantage on the global stage with the scales of equity and justice unevenly balanced against us.”

With over 3,000 participants, including 22 Heads of State and Government, the conference featured high-level panels, bilateral meetings, and numerous side events. The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) played a pivotal role, co-hosting three side events and actively participating in several others alongside key regional and international partners.

The events started with “Enhancing Caribbean Development Using Data, Geospatial Information, and Environmental Monitoring: Building a Regional Environmental Information Ecosystem (REIS)” on May 28, 2024. This event highlighted the role of digital technologies and geospatial information in advancing environmental initiatives across the Caribbean. Valrie Grant, Strategic Advisor on Geospatial Matters to the OECS Commission set the context, followed by remarks from Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS Commission, who emphasised the OECS's commitment to leveraging digital technologies and data in decision-making. A keynote address by Hon. Kerryne James, Minister for Climate Resilience, the Environment and Renewable Energy in Grenada, highlighted Grenada's successes and challenges in integrating digital and geospatial technologies. The panel discussion included experts from various partner organisations (including IUCN, UWI, UN-ECLAC, UNEP-CEP, UN-GGIM-CARIGEO) who discussed various initiatives designed to advance the impact of environmental data management on policy and decision-making in the Caribbean. Amongst the main recommendations and outcomes of the side event: The OECS Commission, and event partners, are to plan a follow-up virtual activity to continue discussions and insights on this critical topic, and to encourage/facilitate new partnerships and strengthening of existing ones among regional stakeholders, facilitating shared initiatives and collaborative projects, including positioning to support the Center of Excellence to be hosted by Antigua and Barbuda, with its Global Data Hub.


On May 29, 2024, the OECS partnered with the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and UN-ECLAC in co-hosting “Climate Change and Environmental Legislation in Support of the Delivery of the New Programme of Action for SIDS.” This event featured presentations from the BVI and Grenada on their legislative efforts to combat climate change. The event was convened by the Parliamentary Observatory on Climate Change and Just Transition (OPCC), which aims to strengthen environmental and climate change legislation in the region. Premier Natalio Wheatley of BVI highlighted the importance of legislation, stating:

“Legislation is one of the most powerful tools that we have in our arsenal to combat climate change and socially engineer the future we envisage for ourselves.”

Another key OECS partner event on May 29, 2024, was “The Path Forward in the Operationalisation of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI).” The MVI is a comprehensive tool designed to assess the vulnerability of countries, particularly SIDS, across multiple dimensions beyond traditional economic metrics like Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

This panel discussion included remarks from Ambassador Walton Webson of Antigua and Barbuda and Mr. Li Junhua of UNDESA, and featured powerful insights from Professor Geoffery Sachs, UN Advisor. Panelists discussed the testing and implementation of the MVI and its advocacy. Dr. Didacus Jules addressed the challenges faced by high-income OECS member states, explaining,

“Countries that graduate to high income status face the loss of ODA [Official Development Assistance] – ​ associated financial and non-financial support. A sharp fall in concessional financing or cessation of such financing that occurs when countries transition from ODA eligibility to risk slowing the development momentum in the country and this in turn raises the likelihood of what has been termed the transition reversal.”
Dr. Jules further stated: “Mobilising private capital requires more than just financial instruments. It necessitates a supportive ecosystem and this includes an enabling policy environment, robust business support services, and targeted technical assistance. And these elements can help build a pipeline of investment ready products that can attract and sustain blended financing.”

The OECS also participated in several other side events, including “Sargassum: Turning the Golden Tide! Crisis or Opportunity for Caribbean SIDS”; “Unlocking Community-Based Blue Tourism in the Caribbean: Trends, Challenges, and Policy Pathways”; "Location Intelligence the Panacea to Accelerated Development in SIDS”; and “Women Leadership in Climate Action.” These events provided platforms for discussing various aspects of sustainable development, geospatial technologies, climate action, and the role of women in addressing the climate crisis. Panelists at these events included Ms. Alice Clarke, Head of OECS Economic Development Unit and Ms. Shanna Emmanuel, Programme Officer in the Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Unit at the OECS.

The OECS’ strong presence at the SIDS4 Conference underscores its commitment to sustainable development and regional collaboration, ensuring that the unique challenges of Small Island Developing States are addressed effectively on the global stage. The OECS participation at SIDS4 was supported by the European Union (EU) funded BioSPACE Project.

The OECS is thankful for the partnership with several regional and international organisations during the SIDS4 Conference including: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The University of the West Indies (UWI), The United Nations Environment Programme - Cartagena Convention Secretariat (UNEP-CEP), Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America, the Caribbean (ECLAC), the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) Americas through the Caribbean Geospatial Development Initiative (CARIGEO), The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, (UNDESA).


Danny Moonie Communications / Knowledge Management Specialist, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
OECS Communications Unit Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States






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About The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States

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The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is an International Organisation dedicated to economic harmonisation and integration, protection of human and legal rights, and the encouragement of good governance among independent and non-independent countries in the Eastern Caribbean. The OECS came into being on June 18th 1981, when seven Eastern Caribbean countries signed a treaty agreeing to cooperate with each other while promoting unity and solidarity among its Members. The Treaty became known as the Treaty of Basseterre, so named in honour of the capital city of St. Kitts and Nevis where it was signed. The OECS today, currently has eleven members, spread across the Eastern Caribbean comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Martinique and Guadeloupe. 

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Morne Fortune
Saint Lucia