1. The 1994 Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island

Developing States adopted the Declaration of Barbados and the Programme of Action for

the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States as a concrete follow-up

action to Chapter 17 G of Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment

and Development.

2. The Barbados Programme of Action (POA) outlined the 14 priority areas agreed upon by

Small Island Developing States for which specific actions, policies and measures were

targeted to facilitate sustainable development of small island developing states (SIDS).

3. The group of African small island developing states participating in a meeting convened

at the behest of the African Development Bank (ADB) in Nairobi, in May 1994, stressed

tile need for a Ministerial Meeting on the Sustainable Development and Integration of the

African SIDS in accordance with ADB’s mandate related to the socio-economic

development and integration of its regional member countries.

4. Sustainable development and regional integration are imperatives for African SIDS. In

this context, Article 79 of the Abuja Treaty establishing the African Economic

Community fully recognizes the specificities of the African SIDS.

5. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has the mandate to assist SIDS in

the areas of capacity building related to the implementation of the Barbados POA. In

view of this mandate, UNDP was requested by the government of Seychelles to

collaborate in the realization of this meeting.

6. The African SIDS fall into three groups, the Indian Ocean states (Comoros, Madagascar,

Mauritius and Seychelles); the West African Atlantic Ocean States (Cape Verde and

Guinea Bissau) and Central African Atlantic Ocean States (Sao Tome and Principe and

Equatorial Guinea). The vast geographical distance among the African SIDS, exacerbates

the economic distance and reduces interaction among the African SIDS grouping.

7. Economic co-operation and integration of African SIDS are very pertinent in this era of

globalization and dramatic structural changes in the pattern of economic relations.

Against this background, co-operation among African SIDS will facilitate their

integration into the global economy, given the small size of their markets.

8.The African SIDS possess unique endemism in flora and fauna which is being threatened

and displaced due to habitat destruction. The rich bio-diversity as well as the indigenous

technology and knowledge base are valuable, but the needed capacity for their efficient

sustainable utilization is largely absent. These and other common environmental,

economic and social problems make African SIDS extremely vulnerable. Many of the

problems can only be solved collectively and sustained development assured, through

effective cooperation and integration of African SIDS on a progressive basis regionally,

and with the rest of Africa.

9.Towards this end, the Programme of Action outlined below, addresses the special

problems facing African SIDS and the main priority areas needed to effectively mitigate

their consequences.

10.Within the context of the Barbados Programme of Action, the African SIDS have

identified priority areas that need to be addressed in the short to medium term.

I. Human Resources Development (Health, Education and Training, Gender

Mainstreaming and Poverty Eradication)


Human resources development is the centerpiece of the African SIDS sustainable development

effort since human beings are their most valuable assets, significantly contributing to their

overall social development. Human resources development, which embodies health, education

and training, also constitute an important factor in poverty eradication.

Recommendations for Action

1. Intensify cooperation and pooling of resources on a regional basis in order to address the

problems of health, education and human resources in general.

2. Support the establishment of the Indian Ocean University and encourage the creation of

other regional networks of Higher Education and Research. Call upon national

governments, regional organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and

private sector organizations to create and enhance vocational training centers, supported

by networking arrangements on a cross-border basis, with special attention to training of


3. Encourage co-operation in matters related to human health, in particular to control the

spread of diseases and improvement of health institutions.

II. Tourism


Tourism is a very important economic activity in African SIDS in view of the comparative

advantage they enjoy from this sector.

Recommendations for Action

1. Support the promotion of sustainable tourism policies and practices.

2. Recognize the complementarity and diversity of the different SIDS, which can be

exploited to attract tourism in order to maximize foreign exchange earnings without

compromising the bio-physical environment and the cultures of the host countries.

3. Encourage foreign direct investment to develop tourism infrastructures and create an

enabling environment towards the same.

4. Promote the marketing of tourism on a national and regional basis, by integrating the

marketing efforts of the SIDS.

5. Accord high priority to the physical planning and local community participation in

tourism development.

III. Bio-diversity Conservation and Sustainable Utilization


African SIDS are home to some of the most diverse flora and fauna and several rare endemic

species on earth. In many of the African SIDS indigenous fauna and flora are rapidly

disappearing due to the expansion of cultivation, urbanization and the introduction of exotic

and invasive species. Moreover in this age of globalization, the problem of species loss and

genetic erosion are further aggravated by the fact that mechanisms for regulating biological

resources preserving indigenous knowledge and ensuring bio-safety and intellectual property

rights are not in place.

Recommendations for Action

1. Implement bio-diversity assessment, monitoring and data management system.

2. Promote the economic valuation of bio-diversity resources and use in each SIDS

3. Implement a programme for the protection and sustainable use of indigenous genetic

resources and for control of bio-prospecting, especially in light of the Convention on

Biological Diversity and trade related intellectual property rights (TRIPS)

4. Implement action plans and strategies to conserve key species and habitats in SIDS.

IV. Climate Change


The topography of African SIDS with limited coastal land area makes them highly vulnerable

to climate change and ensuing sea level rise have severe consequences on their fragile

environment, biological diversity, economy and infrastructure. The ability of the African

SIDS to respond to the above threat is hampered by their limited institutional, scientific and

technological capacity. Climate change and sea level rise are therefore life and death issues

for African SIDS and the need to monitor the changes overtime is imperative.

Recommendations for Action

1 .Implement national policies, strategies, projects and programmes for adaptation to climate

variability and change within the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change

(FCCC) including resource mobilization, institutional strengthening and data


2. Implement and monitor alert and response systems to extreme weather events and climate


3. Identify and map areas vulnerable to climate change, including sea-level rise,

4. Evaluate the socioeconomic impact of climate change.

V. Coastal and Marine Resources


The special nature of the origin of the African SIDS, their coral reefs and lagoons make them

rich in diversity of coastal habitats and in flora and fauna. The sandy beaches protected bays

and calm lagoons are conducive to enhancing other resources such as fisheries and tourism.

Therefore, marine resources protection, coastal zone management and control of pollution

and degradation are major concerns of African SIDS.

Recommendation for Action

1 . Establish a common fisheries investment and management policy, including monitoring

and surveillance, establishment of a databank, exchange of data and research results

promotion of private sector and harmonization of fisheries regulations.

2. Establish a quality assurance framework and plan for fish handling and export including

training and institutional building. Implement programmes for delimitation and

management of Economic Exclusive Zones (EEZ) including coastal and lithoral

management and use.

3. Adopt and promote Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) as a tool for coastal

and marine resource management. In this regard, Mauritius’ proposal to host the meeting

of experts was welcomed.

4. Assess the ecological impact of recent coral reef bleaching and its related economic


VI. Freshwater Resources


Many African SIDS lack inland water bodies which are so important for plant and animal life

including human domestic purposes. The problem of potable water touches upon basic

requirements. The smallness of the landmass of these island states means that there are

limited rivers and lakes and access to them is further aggravated by their geologies and

topography. The need for protecting the limited island freshwater resources and the

watersheds both as habitats for life and domestic necessities are reconfirmed. Limited annual

precipitation and its irregularity, in some African SIDS, add to the water deficit problem.

Recommendation for Action

Establish an integrated water resources management programme for each SIDS with

emphasis on the specificities of SIDS including improved land-use, pollution reduction and

management, drought and flood monitoring, irrigation, groundwater evaluation and


VII. Waste Management


African SIDS face problems associated with pollution and wastes. Tourism, oil transport and

the use of agricultural chemicals are some of the factors contributing to waste accumulation

and pollution. The absence of appropriate management strategies and maritime regulatory

mechanisms make these problems pressing ones.

Recommendations for Action

1. Develop solid and hazardous waste management plans and implementation programmes

specific to SIDS including:

ñ small-scale technology development for treatment recovery and recycling

ñ assistance from countries with capacity to treat hazardous wastes.

2. Support or implement regional programmes for control of waste disposal at sea

specifically related to oil spills, ballast and bilge water.

3. Note the recommendation of the workshop on waste management organized by the I0C

and UNEP in Mauritius from 18 to 19 December, 1997.

VII. Natural and Environmental Disasters


For the African SIDS the pertinent issues are cyclones, droughts, floods and landslides.

Since some African SIDS are located in the inter-tropical belt, they are exposed to cyclones.

The incidence of oil spillage is high in view of the number of tankers that cross the Indian

and Atlantic Oceans. Safeguarding the environment, the economy and human life from these

hazards represent a major challenge to the African SIDS.

Recommendation for Action

Establish national and regional natural and environmental disaster preparedness, prevention

and mitigation according to recommendations of the UN International Decade for Natural

Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), including early warning systems.

IX. Development of Sustainable and Diversified Agricultural Production


Agriculture plays a central role in the economies of the African SIDS. It is the sector with the

greatest potential for employment generation, poverty alleviation and for increasing export

earnings. Agriculture provides raw materials as inputs to industry and tourism. Central to

agricultural development is environmental conservation. The main objective of agriculture in

African SIDS is to increase food production so that food security and industrial growth are

attained. Food and cash crops should be developed to the fullest in order to improve living


Recommendations for Action

1 .Improve food security by developing appropriate agricultural practices and technology,

including food processing technology as well as the establishment of firm linkage

between research and extension.

2. Promote cooperation among African SIDS in the field of agricultural research, technology

and development.

X. Energy Resources


African SIDS are currently heavily dependent on imported petroleum products, largely for

transport and electricity generation. The countries will continue to be heavily dependent on

petroleum fuels and bio-mass both in the short and medium term. However, the current uses

of those fuels tend to be highly inefficient. Increased efficiency through appropriate

technology and national energy policies and management measures, will reap both financial

and environmental benefits.

Recommendations for Action

I1. Upgrade national capacity for planning and management.

2. Establish and/or strengthen research development and implementation

projects/programmes for new and renewable sources of energy appropriate to African


3. Improve the efficiency of current energy systems and improve emission standards and


4. Promote and improve energy efficiency, conservation and co-generation in all sectors and

at all levels.

5. Improve management treatment and disposal of waste oils from the transport and

electricity generation sectors.

XI. Globalization, Development Finance, Trade and Investment


Globalization is characterized by the on-going revolution in information technology, the fast

movement of private capital flow and the associated rise in the power of financial market to

influence the value of currencies, the rise of cross-border flows of goods, services and other

factors of production, among other characteristics. Globalization demands appropriate

responses and adjustments from all countries and, even more so, from African SIDS.

Recommendations for Action

1. The African SIDS reiterates their commitment to maintain an enabling economic

environment within their countries for private sector development and to facilitate the

attraction of investment flows.

2. The African SIDS calls on the international community to move more quickly and

decisively on the issue of debt.

3. In view of their specific vulnerabilities the African SIDS call on the major institutions of

global economic governance, including the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade

Organization, to make special provisions in recognition of these vulnerabilities.

4. The African SIDS reiterate their commitment to take appropriate steps to enhance their

co-ordination in taking forward their specific concerns through negotiations of the

successor to the Lomé IV Convention, which is to begin in September 1998 and to the

WTO negotiations, which are due to begin before the end of 1999.

XII. Transport and Communications


The isolation and scattered nature of the African SIDS impose physical constraints on the

development of efficient transport and telecommunications systems. The transportation and

communication difficulties are enormous within the African SIDS, amongst themselves and

with the rest of the world. Travelling from one group of African SIDS to another by

scheduled airlines is time consuming, costs are prohibitive and sea transport among tile

African SIDS is unreliable. Efficient transport and communication therefore is fundamental

to achieve integrated development of African SIDS.

Recommendations for Action

1. Evolve a common transport and communication strategy in view of the fact that these

sectors are the lifeline of SIDS but are often underdeveloped.

2. Call upon international organizations; to take account of the special problems of transport

encountered by islands when devising schemes for technical and financial assistance.

3. Develop the potential for islands to become gateways for international trade and


4. Develop telecommunications both internally and internationally and extend this

development on a regional basis.

XIII. Science and Technology


Shortage of skilled and qualified scientific and technical personnel is a major problem in the

African SIDS. Consequently, capacity for scientific research and technological development

is limited. Therefore, Scientific research capability and technological development are areas

of concern for African SIDS.

Recommendations for Action

1. Develop for small-scale utilization appropriate technology for SIDS, permitting the

combination of small-scale production and efficiency.

2. Encourage technology transfer, sharing and technology co-operation by taking advantage

of information technology using, as appropriate, the technical co-operation among

developing countries (TCDC) modality.

3. Promote national and regional institutions for scientific and technological advancement.

4. Foster science and technology education in SIDS through the promotion of mathematics

and science subjects at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

5. Promote and valorize the traditional scientific and technological know-how.

XIV. RegionaI Cooperation and Integration


Given that African SIDS are isolated and relatively remote from the mainland of Africa and

in many cases, are individually made up of scattered islands, they are virtually trapped by

small market sizes that permit, only limited specialization and inefficient production

techniques. These factors make the effective linkages and integration of African SIDS with

one another and with the continental land mass imperative. Regional co-operation and

integration would expand their collective production possibilities frontiers thus increasing

economies of scale and enhancing sustained growth.

Recommendations for Action

1. Reiterate their support for the objectives of the Abuja Treaty and renew their commitment

to participate actively in the regional and sub-regions organizations, to which they are


2. Promote inter-island co-operation, especially in trade, communications, transport,

tourism, human resources development and other matters of interest to SIDS on a

national and regional basis.

3. Recommend to regional organizations the co-ordination and strengthening of activities in

the interests of SIDS.

XV. Regional Institutions and Technical Co-operation


African SIDS require technical assistance in the area of project and programme development

which can best be rendered by regional institutions and organizations. For proper

implementation, there is also the need for an effective monitoring mechanism for such

projects and programmes. African regional organizations and institutions must play a strong

and effective role in the implementation of the Mahé Programme of Action.

Recommendations for Action

Regional institutions should provide technical assistance to African SIDS to support their

efforts in implementing the Programme of Action. African SIDS should to the extent

possible utilize capacities from other SIDS or developing countries with similar experience.

XVI. Implementation, Monitoring and Review

Effective implementation, monitoring, and review of the present Programme of Action

essential for the sustainable development of African SIDS. The Programme of Action

provides a framework for technical cooperation and coordination of African SIDS in the

development and implementation of joint activities.

At the present time, African SIDS have individual and collective obligations and

responsibilities under various regional and sub-regional arrangements, protocols and

conventions. Fulfillment of these should be consistent with the objectives of their sustainable

development and integration goals articulated in this Programme of Action.

As recognized, African SIDS have primary responsibility for their sustainable development

and in so doing should involve the active participation of all major groups, including women,

children and youth, indigenous people and their communities, non-governmental

organizations, local authorities, workers, trade unions, business and industry, the scientific

and technology community and farmers.

National Level

African SIDS should consider developing a strategic framework for tripartite co-operation, taking into account partnership building with Government, NGOs and private sector, to determine priority areas for intervention for sustainable socio-economic development of African SIDS.

African SIDS should provide an enabling policy environment to facilitate development of sub-regional and regional programmes so as to facilitate implementation of the Programme of Action.

African SIDS should endorse a vulnerability index with the relevant factors that reflect their special economic and environmental fragility.

Regional Level

In addition to the on-going sustainable development programs of the African SIDS and given the need to implement the high priority activities of the Program of action, the supportive role of sub-regional and regional organizations is required to buttress the African SIDS own efforts. African SIDS should share experiences and best practices in priority areas of the Programme of Action and their efforts in this connection should be facilitated with the use of modern information management technologies, involving the systematic expansion of the Information Network (SIDSnet), to include all SIDS and to eventually cover the issues addressed under the Mahé Programme of Action.

In this connection, regional organizations would be expected to provide technical assistance in formulating regional projects in support of the priority programme areas, assist in mobilizing the necessary financial resources to carry out this responsibility and in coordinating programme implementation.

International Level

The donor community and international financial institutions should provide concessional financial resources in support of the major infrastructural programmes that are required for the integration effort of African SIDS and for sustainable development.

Other international organizations should assist African SIDS by providing technical assistance and training and in promoting technical cooperation among African SIDS in the implementation of the Mahé Programme of Action


Reporting and monitoring of the Mahé Programme of Action should be carried out on an ongoing basis at the national and regional level.

Each African SIDS should therefore establish a national SIDS focal point in an appropriate ministry to coordinate, at the national level, activities associated with this Programme of Action.


The present bureau, under the chairmanship of Seychelles, has the responsibility to coordinate activities necessary to operationalise this Programme of Action in collaboration with all relevant regional and international organizations.

Information Dissemination

The Chairman of the meeting is requested to bring the Mahé Declaration and Programme of Action to the attention of all relevant regional and international organizations for appropriate consideration and support.

Pin It on Pinterest