@UNESCO Pavilion COP22

Date: 12 November 2016 (10 AM to 4 PM)

Venue: UNESCO Pavilion, Green Zone

UNFCCC COP 22, Marrakesh, Morocco



Small island developing states (SIDS) have contributed little to greenhouse gas emissions, but they will bear the brunt of climate change impacts that are a threat to their very existence. In the face of such adversity, the SIDS have responded with determination and solidarity. They have given voice to a global conscience that strives to protect the planet and challenged the world’s governments, large and small, to be ambitious in setting targets for global climate policy. From the Paris Agreement to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its related Sustainable Development Goals, the SIDS have been a guiding force for all humankind and our collective future.

SIDS are exceptional in terms of their unique biodiversity and their rich cultural diversity. While constrained by their size, isolation and vulnerability to natural hazards, their communities have learned to cope and adapt to challenging circumstances. While SIDS have made considerable advances towards the achievement of sustainable development, in the face of change they need more than ever the support of the international community to continue their progress.

Following the Third International Conference on SIDS in Samoa in September 2014, UNESCO has responded to the outcome document, the Samoa Pathway, by identifying priority policies and actions within its mandate to be set in place at national, regional and international levels. These have been captured in the UNESCO SIDS Action Plan that was adopted by the Organization’s Member States in April 2016.

The Action Plan mobilizes UNESCO expertise from all of its programme sectors to address the unique vulnerabilities and challenges faced by SIDS: reinforcing human and institutional capacities via education and capacity-building; enhancing the resilience and sustainability of social-ecological systems; promoting social transformation, inclusion and justice; preserving tangible/intangible heritage and promoting culture for sustainable development; as well as increasing connectivity, information management and knowledge sharing. The adaptation of SIDS to climate and environmental change, and the strengthening of their preparedness and response to natural disasters, are among the issues of high priority.

Through this Action Plan, UNESCO is committed to build a solid foundation for the sustainable development of SIDS based on mobilizing its support to enhance their resilience and self-reliance. Cooperation is key to ensure that island voices on environment and development issues are heeded and become catalyst for action on-the-ground. By joining forces among its numerous partners (government agencies, NGOs, civil society, academia…) and supporting Member States worldwide, UNESCO commits itself to the major task of implementing the SIDS Action Plan.


Purpose of the thematic Day on SIDS @UNESCO Pavilion COP22

UNESCO’s Section for Small Islands and Indigenous Knowledge will organize a series of discussions on the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and climate change during the thematic day dedicated to SIDS at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22).

Different international and regional agencies, NGOs, experts and governments are invited to a transdisciplinary dialogue to ensure that island voices on environment and development issues are heeded so that they become a catalyst for action on the ground. Special attention will be given to SIDS preparedness and response to natural disasters in combating climate and environmental change through a participatory and multidisciplinary approach.

This event is organized in the framework of the UNESCO’s SIDS Action Plan 2016-2021, approved by its Member States in April 2016. 

For more information on the program, please click here.

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