For those unfamiliar with the term ‘Small Island Developing States’ (SIDS), 2014 might be the year to change that. In addition to being named the International Year of Small Island Developing States by the U.N., the release of the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) report on food security on SIDS coincides with the Third International Conference on SIDS planned for September 1 to 4, 2014 in Apia, Somoa.
So, what are SIDS? They are the 39 island states from around the world that were given this classification at the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development. These states face unique challenges that come with their size and geographical isolation, and they “are considered extremely vulnerable to global warming and sea level rise.” Due to their distance from major markets, SIDS face additional obstacles and higher prices when transporting goods, as well as “an increased susceptibility to market volatility.” As IFAD’s report aptly notes, “Their success in development is often associated with persistent vulnerability and increased inequality.”
IFAD, which has worked with SIDS communities since 1978, “focuses on financing agriculture and rural development projects.” By concentrating and partnering with SIDS on small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, smallholder agriculture, and environment and climate change, IFAD aims to create a stronger business climate around fishing, agriculture, and food production to reduce population loss.
The upcoming conference in Apia will bring together organizations and leaders from around the world to discuss these pressing issues with the “overarching theme of… sustainable development of SIDS through genuine and durable partnerships.“