The Special Programme extends technical assistance to SIDS in the following two main areas of work.
- In the framework of the periodic review of the list of LDCs, SIDS that are potential or declared graduation cases have been calling on UNCTAD for support in formulating national strategies to secure "smooth transition" modalities in anticipation of the loss of concessionary treatment. In recent years, Cape Verde, Maldives, Samoa and Vanuatu have been the main beneficiaries of UNCTAD cooperation in this area. Other least developed SIDS such as Kiribati, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu received substantial help from UNCTAD in their preparations for the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in 2001.
- Whether least developed or not, SIDS have sought UNCTAD's support in various trade-related or investment-related policy matters. This has brought the Division to cooperate with interested countries in partnership with other relevant Divisions of the UNCTAD secretariat. Several SIDS in the Atlantic (Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe), the Caribbean (St. Lucia), and the Pacific (Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu) have benefited from such technical assistance.