Building peace in the minds of men and women

“My World, My SIDS”: UNESCO and UNICEF give the floor to young islanders

UNESCO in partnership with UNICEF have decided to join voices together to ensure that young people of the 40 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific contribute their vision for the future of small islands to the 2014 Global SIDS Conference which will be held in Apia (Samoa) in September 2014.

So that young people’s voices may be part of this process, UNESCO and UNICEF, with support from other UN agencies (1) and regional organizations in SIDS areas (2), are supporting a process for young people to share their issues, envision the future they want, and participate in developing the outcomes of the Apia 2014 Global Conference. Two-hundred young islanders, aged from twelve to thirty years old, will be given the opportunity to take part in three workshops of six days each ofwhich will take place between June and July in Jamaica, the Fiji Islands and the Seychelles.

Over sixty young men and women from the Small Island Developing States have been selected following a call for applications issued towards youth organizations in April 2013. They will have the opportunity to share their issues, envision the future they want for themselves and for the development of their countries.

They are invited to express a common reflection on the destiny of their countries and to issue concrete suggestions that will serve as the starting point for the drafting of an outcomes document that will be the new plan of action for SIDS during the SIDS World Conference, organized by the UN in September 2014.

The young people of the Caribbean will be the first ones to benefit from such an unprecedented and intense experience. Theirs will be the first meeting from a series of three consultations. It will last from 26 June until 1 July 2013 in Kingston (Jamaica). The young islanders from the Pacific will then meet in Nadi (Fiji) to participate in a similar workshop from the 4 until 9 July. Finally, the Indian Ocean youth will meet in Victoria (Seychelles) from the 11 until 16 July 2013.

Several youth representatives elected by these young people will have the opportunity to represent the voices of SIDS youth during various regional and inter-regional preparatory meetings in the coming months.

The Third SIDS Conference, which will be held in 2014, occurs twenty years after the UN Member States gathered for the first time in Barbados in order to identify new challenges and specific needs of SIDS.

In 1994, the first SIDS Conference endorsed the Barbados Program of Action (BPOA) as the blueprint for addressing these special challenges. Fourteen key areas were identified covering the environment, energy and communication, tourism and human resource development.

Twenty years later, the United Nations will convene a review and recommitment to development in Small Islands when Member States will come together in Apia, Samoa. The original Program of Action and the Implementation Strategy developed in Mauritius during the ten year review will be examined to determine what progress has been made in twenty years, what challenges still exist and key priorities for internationally agreed development goals in the post 2015 agenda (linking with the outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference held in 2012 on the theme ‘the Future We Want’).

While the international community will be celebrating in 2014 the International year for Small Island Developing States, the Third SIDS International Conference will also include youth representatives who, for the first time, will voice their opinions regarding the future they want for themselves.





1. International Labour Office (ILO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and UN Women.

2. Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Pacific Community (SPC), Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and Pacific Islands Forum (SPF).