The special case of SIDS.The unique challenges facing Small Island Developing States (SIDS) within the context of sustainable development were first formally recognised by the international community at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. The special case of small islands and coastal areas was highlighted in Agenda 21 – the programme of action for sustainable development adopted as an essential outcome of the conference.

The structure of Agenda 21.

Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action. The agenda encompasses 40 chapters, divided into four main sections:

· Social and Economic Dimensions

· Conservation and Management of Resources for Development

· Strengthening the Role of Major Groups

· Means of Implementation

Agenda 21 and SIDS.

Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 on the protection of oceans, all kinds of seas, and coastal areas includes a programme area on the sustainable development of small islands.

Agenda 21: 17.124. Small island developing States, and islands supporting small communities are a special case both for environment and development. They are ecologically fragile and vulnerable. Their small size, limited resources, geographic dispersion and isolation from markets, place them at a disadvantage economically and prevent economies of scale.

Agenda 21 also called for a global conference on the sustainable development of SIDS.

The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established by the UN General Assembly in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up to UNCED.


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