“The United Kingdom is committed to working closely with Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to ensure their voices are heard and that their needs are met.”
UK Minister for the Pacific and International Environment, Lord Goldsmith spoke at the closing of a virtual roundtable conference, aimed at finding practical recommendations for improving access to concessional finance to support continued progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The UK, working with Fiji and Belize, has brought together SIDS to broker better access to finance and identify solutions for a resilient recovery from coronavirus.
Speaking at the conference held at the United Nations, Lord Goldsmith said these discussions have highlighted how the Cocid-19 pandemic has added to the challenges faced by SIDS and as COP26 Presidents, the UK is committed to working closely with them, voicing their concerns and meeting their needs.
SIDS face unique challenges which global systems tend to overlook.
SIDS are on the frontline of climate change and are already bearing the brunt of its impacts. They have a high vulnerability to natural disasters, and will suffer as sea levels rise and fragile ecosystems and biodiversity come under threat.
They also face significant challenges for employment, government revenues, and export income, most acutely from tourism and remittances which are highly vulnerable to economic shocks and climate change.
The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated these issues, putting more pressure on small island’s finances and diverting resources from ongoing work to protect against natural disasters and climate change.
In her opening speech, Baroness Sugg, UK Minister for the Caribbean/Overseas Territories said “the UK is committed to supporting small island developing states now and in the future. We recognise the twin impact of climate change and Covid-19 and we co-hosted the meeting today so we can drive real progress to secure vital access to finance.”
Despite the problems in SIDS, their people are working to build sustainable economies for the future, making sure recoveries create greener and more resilient economies and societies to prepare for the impacts of climate change and reduce vulnerability. The UK is supporting Solomon Islands and other small island states in their recovery from the pandemic.