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Small Islands Big Picture episode 6: Will the 4th UN International Conference on SIDS generate ‘resilient prosperity’?

Written by Emily Wilkinson, Matthew Bishop


Each decade since the mid-1990s, the United Nations has convened a high-level international summit – bringing together small-island governments, large-state donor partners, international organisations and representatives from civil society – to agree the next ten-year agenda for Small Island Developing States’ (SIDS) development diplomacy. The fourth of these conferences (SIDS4) will take place in Antigua-Barbuda in May 2024, under the theme ‘Charting the Course Toward Resilient Prosperity’.

SIDS4 is the most important of these decennial conferences so far, taking place at a critical juncture in the global context and at an especially challenging time for small island states. Consequently, Emily and Matt devote the entirety of this episode to a roundtable discussion with three key protagonists in the SIDS4 process:

  • Tumasie Blair is Antigua-Barbuda’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN and the person managing this complicated and delicate agenda for the host state.
  • Ambassador Fatumanava-o-Upolu III Dr Pa'olelei Luteru of Samoa is the current Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Permanent Representative of Samoa – the 2014 host state – and convenor of the previous ten-year agenda, ‘The SAMOA Pathway’.
  • Dr Simona Marinescu is Senior Advisor on SIDS at the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and is coordinating the UN’s efforts at SIDS4.

Together with the guests, Emily and Matt explore what will happen at SIDS4, how the agenda has been developed, and in which policy areas SIDS will make the biggest demands of the international community. Looking ahead to the new 10-year agenda that will replace The SAMOA Pathway, Emily and Matt ask 'What can we expect from the Antigua-Barbuda Accord for SIDS (ABAS) 2024-34?' and, crucially, 'How will it deliver genuinely “resilient prosperity"?'.


  • Emily Wilkinson (host) | RESI Director and Senior Research Fellow at ODI
  • Matthew Bishop (host) | RESI Director and Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield
  • Fatumanava-o-Upolu III Dr Pa'olelei Luteru | AOSIS Chair and Permanent Representative of Samoa to the UN
  • Tumasie Blair | Deputy Permanent Representative of Antigua-Barbuda to the UN
  • Simona Marinescu | Senior Advisor on SIDS, UNOPS


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