Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Since 1994, the UN has recognized the specific challenges facing SIDS, in particular, the greater risk of marginalization emanating from their:

  • Small size

  • Remoteness from large markets

  • High economic vulnerability to economic and natural shocks beyond domestic control

However, the UN never established criteria to determine an official list of SIDS. In this context, UNCTAD, for analytical purposes, uses an informal list of 28 SIDS.

Since the early 1990s, UNCTAD has been supporting the plea for putting the issue of vulnerability at the heart of UN attention to the problems of SIDS.

Small Island Developing States  

UN member States have called for "improved and additional measures to more effectively address the unique and particular vulnerabilities and development needs" of SIDS. This call has been actively responded to by UNCTAD, through in two main streams of action:

  1. Identifying possible international support measures of key interest to SIDS
  2. Encouraging the adoption of criteria for defining SIDS, a prerequisite for SIDS status

Main Outputs

  • Conducting policy-focused research and analysis on resilience building
  • Advisory services to graduating SIDS from LDC status
  • Assisting SIDS as a category to enhance the credibility of SIDS as a platform for special consideration by development partners


01 March 2018Solomon Islands customs agency collects record $1 billion
06 June 2017The clock is ticking for world leaders to generate wealth from sustainable fisheries
Small Island
20 December 2016Remote Pacific islands need trade to survive, celebrate 15 years of automated customs
17 September 2014Small islands must explore the value of the "oceans economy" and develop sustainable and resilient transport systems
02 September 2014UNCTAD hears SIDS leaders’ call for special international support measures
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 Events and Meetings


 Documents and Publications

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