The Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 marked the first time that the special characteristics of SIDS were paid significant attention and were recognised as a distinct group. In 1994, the first Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of SIDS was held in Barbados, under the auspices of the United Nations. It resulted in the adoption of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA), which recognised the unique and particular vulnerabilities of SIDS and identified the sustainable development challenges SIDS face. The BPOA explicitly identified key areas requiring urgent action.
Small island developing states (SIDS) are a group of countries that “share similar sustainable development challenges, including small population, limited resources, susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to external shocks and excessive dependence on international trade. Their growth and development is often further stymied by high transportation and communication costs, disproportionately expensive public administration and infrastructure due to their small size, and little to no opportunity to create economies of scale”