The fourth international conference focused on supporting sustainable development of small island states, will take place May 27 – 30, 2024, in St. John’s Antigua.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a distinct group of 39 States and 18 non-independent territories that face unique social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities.  SIDS were recognised as a special case both for their environment and development at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Factors like small population size, remoteness from international markets, high transportation costs, vulnerability to exogenous economic shocks and fragile land and marine ecosystems make SIDS particularly vulnerable to biodiversity loss and climate change because they lack economic alternatives.

SIDS are located in 3 regions: the Caribbean, the Pacific, and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea (AIS).

Under the theme ‘Charting the course towards resilient prosperity’, governments have negotiated the political document for SIDS4 – the Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS (ABAS).

Read more here:


CANARI has been mobilising civil society to have a strong voice calling for people’s priorities on the ground to be included in the new 10-year sustainable development agenda and for this to be translated into real action on the ground.  As part of this, we facilitated dialogues with Caribbean civil society and developed The Caribbean We Want position paper which we have been using to advocate at inter-governmental meetings and directly with Caribbean governments.


Three regional preparatory meetings were held in the Caribbean, Pacific and Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Seas (AIS) regions, as well as an inter-regional meeting.1 Each meeting resulted in an outcome document laying out priorities which would feed into negotiation of the final SIDS agenda. Twelve governments are members of the Preparatory Committee, including Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda from the Caribbean. Building on work in 2023, the Preparatory Committee will meet January 22-26 and April 1-5, 2024, to further development of the SIDS agenda.2

More meaningful opportunities for effective civil society participation in the process of development of the agenda are needed to ensure that civil society priorities are included, and that civil society is recognised as a partner in subsequent implementation of the agenda. The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is committed to working with partners to create and support opportunities for such participation, leveraging support provided to CANARI via a grant from the Open Societies Foundation (OSF).3


The dialogue series aimed to:

  1. Convene and facilitate dialogues with Caribbean civil society towards development of shared civil society priorities for sustainable development which should be considered in the inter- governmental agenda
  2. Produce a succinct document on “The Caribbean We Want: Civil society recommendations for transformative pathways to Caribbean sustainable development” and submit to SIDS governments and the Preparatory Committee
  3. Encourage civil society allies engaged in consultations (virtual or otherwise) and interactive dialogues on the Zero Draft of the inter-governmental agenda to advocate on these shared priorities.


Dialogues: CANARI facilitated a virtual dialogue series on themes identified based on its work with Caribbean civil society and other stakeholders for the past 10+ years in areas related to its mission of promoting and facilitating stakeholder participation and collaboration in the stewardship of renewable natural resources in the Caribbean. Caribbean civil society through participation in four dialogues have shared perspectives and priorities on key themes.  The themes identified can drive a transformative approach to deliver more inclusive, just, environmentally sustainable, and climate resilient development in the Caribbean.

  • Local green-blue enterprises as a pathway to inclusive, environmentally sustainable and climate resilient economies.
  • Nature-based solutions for restoring and conserving biodiversity, delivering ecosystem services including climate adaptation and mitigation, and supporting nature-based livelihoods
  • Intersectional environmental and climate justice for equity and justice in development
  • Whole of society approach to deliver a new eco-social contract, via partnerships with civil society, delivering finance to local levels, and integration of local knowledge in decision-making

Dialogues concept prepared by the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI)

Dialogues’ Outcome Document

The Caribbean We Want: Civil society recommendations for transformative pathways to Caribbean sustainable development

Based on the discussions at the dialogues, CANARI produced the The Caribbean We Want position paper, which was submitted to Caribbean governments and the Preparatory Committee overseeing development of the inter-governmental agenda, and available for use by civil society allies in their advocacy during the process.

Read The Caribbean We Want position paper, including civil society’s recommendations for transformative pathways to Caribbean sustainable development, here:

Civil society’s four key recommendations for delivering sustainable development in the Caribbean outlined in The Caribbean We Want
1. Optimise the contribution of civil society through strong, mutually beneficial partnerships.
2. Promote and support locally owned environmental and social enterprises.
3. Incorporate environmental, social, climate and gender justice at all levels of governance.
4. Pursue only development and disaster mitigation options that are in harmony with nature
and aligned to social development objectives.

CANARI’s Executive Director, Nicole Leotaud, explains why advocating for these four key recommendations at the SIDS4 Conference is critical for achieving The Caribbean We Want:

Nicole Leotaud, Executive Director, CANARI

Calling on Governments negotiating the next 10-year Plan of Action for sustainable development in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to expand and deepen collaboration with civil society to address critical sustainable development challenges, CANARI’s Executive Director, Nicole Leotaud, made a statement and presented The Caribbean We Want to the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee meeting at the United Nations in New York, April 1-5, 2024. Read the full press release here.

CANARI’s Pre-conference Summit

CANARI facilitated the Caribbean Civil Society Summit on May 23-24 in Antigua and Barbuda; a preparatory workshop for Caribbean civil society allies engaged in developing The Caribbean We Want to build capacity and readiness of civil society to engage at SIDS4.

The Summit aimed to mobilise and prepare Caribbean civil society to effectively engage in dialogue on the new 10-year sustainable development agenda and its implementation at SIDS4.


The desired outcomes were:

  • Identification of shared civil society priorities for sustainable development in the Caribbean
  • Commitment among Caribbean civil society to continue collaborating to deliver shared priorities for sustainable development
  • Collective advocacy to Caribbean governments by civil society on their priorities and their role in delivering sustainable development

Ahead of the Fourth International Conference for Small Island Development States (SIDS4) in Antigua and Barbuda, over 40 civil society representatives from 14 Caribbean states and overseas territories called for transformative and inclusive pathways to sustainable development at the Caribbean Civil Society Summit.

Read the full Summit press release, to find out more.

CANARI’s SIDS4 Side Events

CANARI will collaborate with key partners to jointly host in-person side events as part of the official SIDS4 side event programme.

See details of our events here:
  • 27/5/24 – 4-5:30pm: “Delivering Finance and Partnerships for Just and Inclusive Caribbean Climate Ambitions”. More details here:
  • 28/5/24 – 12-1:30pm: “The Right to a Healthy Environment: A Prerequisite for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean”. More details here:
  • 29/5/24 – 12-1:30pm: “Unlocking Community Based Blue Tourism in the Caribbean: Trends, Challenges, and Policy Pathways”. More details here:

The SIDS Civil Society Action Plan and Roadmap

Developed by a coordinating group including CANARI, the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs, SIDS Youth AIMS Hub (SYAH) and others, the SIDS Civil Society Action Plan and Roadmap is aligned with and complementary to the new 10-year Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS (ABAS), and outlines strategic roles for civil society in delivering sustainable development priorities and actions to strengthen enabling institutional frameworks, practices and partnerships to better support these roles.

The SIDS Civil Society Action Plan and Roadmap was launched at a SIDS4 special event, the Civil Society Forum, on May 29, 2024. See here for more information:

Read the SIDS Civil Society Action Plan and Roadmap here:

CANARI’s Board Chair, Cletus Springer, presented plenary remarks at the SIDS4 Civil Society Forum, highlighting unmet challenges and four actionable recommendations for more inclusive, resilient and sustainable development in Caribbean SIDS:

Cletus Springer, Board Chair, CANARI

CANARI’s SIDS4 News and Highlights:



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