United NationsDépartement des Affaires Économiques et Sociales Développement Durable

Small Island Developing States


The Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) adopted in 1994, further complemented by The Mauritius Strategy of Implementation (MSI) of 2005 and MSI+5 Outcome document, recognized that although they are afflicted by economic difficulties and confronted by development imperatives similar to those of developing countries generally, small island developing States (SIDS) have their own peculiar vulnerabilities and characteristics. SIDS’ unique and particular vulnerabilities are highlighted in “The Future We Want”, adopted at The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20) that took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012 - their small size, remoteness, narrow resource and export base, and exposure to global environmental challenges and external economic shocks, including to a large range of impacts from climate change and potentially more frequent and intense natural disasters (para 178). SIDS continue to address those structural and external challenges to achieve their sustainable development.

The Third International Conference on SIDS was held in Apia, Samoa, in September 2014, with the overarching theme of “The sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships”. Nearly 300 partnerships were announced at the conference and monitored through the Partnership Platform. The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway (Samoa Pathway) adopted at the Conference addresses priority areas for SIDS and calls for urgent actions and support for SIDS’ efforts to achieve their sustainable development.

UN-DESA , leads inter-agency coordination within the United Nations system through the Executive Committee of Economic and Social Affairs Plus (ECESA Plus), and among UN and non-UN entities active on SIDS issues through the Inter-Agency Consultative Group (IACG) on SIDS, to monitor the implementation of the BPOA, MSI, and the Samoa Pathway, as well as the progress being made in the SIDS partnerships. Moreover, UN-DESA, and particularly the SIDS Unit provides technical assistance and advice, supports intergovernmental processes and reports on progress made in the implementation of the BPOA, MSI, and the Samoa Pathway.

For more information and documents on this topic, please visit this link


Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea (AIS) (9)


Cabo Verde





Sao Tomé and Principe




Caribbean (16)

Antigua and Barbuda






Dominican Republic





Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


Trinidad and Tobago


Pacific (13)



Marshall Islands

Micronesia (Federated States of)



Papua New Guinea


Solomon Islands








American Samoa




British Virgin Islands

Cayman Islands

Commonwealth of Northern Marianas

Cook Islands


French Polynesia





New Caledonia


Puerto Rico

Sint Maarten

Turks and Caicos Islands

U.S. Virgin Islands

A key request from the outcome of the 2014 Third International Conference on SIDS - the SAMOA Pathway - was the establishment of the SIDS Partnership Framework, designed to monitor progress of existing, and stimulate the launch of new, genuine and durable partnerships for the sustainable development of SIDS.

Guided by a member States driven Steering Committee, the framework has since its launch ensured that SIDS partnerships have remained high on the UN’s agenda, providing a multi-stakeholder platform for reviewing progress made by SIDS partnerships, and for sharing of good practices and lessons learned among all stakeholders, on an annual basis.

In September 2019, member states will (A/RES/72/217) convene a one-day high-level meeting to review progress made in addressing the priorities of SIDS through the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway.

A robust member States driven preparatory process is currently underway, with three regional meetings of SIDS in their respective regions, as well as one interregional meeting for all SIDS.

With generous funding support provided by the government of Italy, and under the overall guidance of the Steering Committee on SIDS Partnerships, UN DESA is undertaking a capacity development project Strengthening the capacity of SIDS in developing, monitoring and reviewing durable Partnerships.

Multidimensional Vulnerability Index for SIDS

The need and call for the development of indices that adequately capture the special vulnerabilities of small island developing States (SIDS) has been around since the adoption of the Agenda 21. The call was repeated in the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA), mentioned in the Mauritius Strategy and re-echoed in the S.A.M.O.A Pathway.

For the last 3 decades, a plethora of UN General Assembly resolutions also carried similar repeated calls, the latest of which was in December 2020, Paragraph 8(a) of Resolution A/RES/75/215, where the Assembly calls on the UN Secretary-General:

“To provide recommendations as part of his report on the present resolution to the General Assembly at its 76th session on the potential development and coordination of work within the UN system on a multidimensional vulnerability index for small island developing States, including on its potential finalization and use;”

This MVI page carries and reflect the discussions and work towards the possible development and use of  the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI).




SIDS partnership toolbox

Inter-Agency Consultative Group (IACG) on SIDS

The IACG is an informal consultative mechanism at the working level in which the SIDS focal points of relevant UN agencies as well as international and regional intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) come together to exchange views and information. The SIDS-focused and hybrid membership composed of the UN and non-UN agencies make it an effective tool for maintaining the momentum created at the Third International Conference on SIDS in Samoa, 2014, and for keeping SIDS issues high on the international agenda. This group also explores ways and means to enhance coordinated and collaborative actions in support of SIDS in implementing the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway (Samoa Pathway) based on their respective areas of expertise.

Learn more about the IACG here.

SG Report Submissions

Paragraph 20 of resolution 75/215 requested the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly, at its seventy-sixth session, a report on the follow-up to and implementation of the Samoa Pathway, including on progress made and continuing challenges faced, and on the efforts to assist small island developing States to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Submissions received are as per below: (submission listed in chronological order).

Member States Inputs UN Organizations Inputs
Argentina link Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD Secretariat) link

SAMOA Pathway Indicators

Pursuant to Paragraph 20 of resolution 74/217, the Secretariat conducted a study to identify the Samoa Pathway priority areas not covered by the Sustainable Development Goals or the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–20, and if any, to develop those Targets and Indicators. The Study is coming soon.

Disaster Risks Funding Landscape

UNGA Resolution A/RES/74/217 requested the Secretary-General to conduct, in consultation with Member States, all relevant United Nations system entities and other relevant stakeholders, an examination of the disaster-related funding and support environment, with a view to the possible development of a targeted voluntary disaster fund, mechanism or financial instrument, coordinated with and complementary to existing mechanisms, to assist small island developing States in managing disaster risk and building back better after disasters, and to report thereon at the seventy-sixth session of the General Assembly. The copy of the Study is coming soon.