‘SAMOA Pathway’ – Outcomes from the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Port-of-Spain (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) welcomes the outcomes of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) held in Apia, Samoa on 1-4 September 2014, and the adoption of the ‘Samoa Pathway’ – Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action, for the implementation of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Guided by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and outcomes from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012, the SAMOA Pathway comprises three interrelated dimensions of sustainable development — environmental, economic and social — of which the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda (DWA) is a key element.

Levels of economic growth and job creation within SIDS have been adversely affected by the ongoing impacts of the global economic crisis, declining foreign direct investment, trade imbalances, increased indebtedness, the lack of adequate transportation, energy and information and communication technology infrastructure networks, limited human and institutional capacity and the inability to integrate effectively into the global economy. Growth prospects of SIDS have also been hindered by its particular vulnerability to climate change, natural disasters, rising sea-levels and the high cost of imported energy.

In order to achieve sustained, inclusive and equitable growth with full and productive employment, social protection and the creation of decent work for all, SIDS, in partnership with the international community, will seek to increase investment in education, entrepreneurial and vocational skills training.

The green economy will be another important tool for achieving sustainable development, incorporating the promotion of green economic policies, and diversifying sustainable tourism in the areas of ecotourism, agritourism and cultural tourism.

The private sector is expected to play an increasingly important role in achieving economic development, with a higher level of emphasis placed on initiatives such as public-private partnerships and corporate social responsibility.

It is crucial for SIDS to improve and maintain infrastructure, including ports, roads, transportation, electricity and power generation and information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure. Improved infrastructure will be a key element in promoting and enhancing the use of ICTs for education, creation of employment, in particular youth employment, and economic sustainability.

Further outcomes adopted at the conference include:

  • Fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, building capacity;
  • Creating local decent jobs through private and public projects and encouraging entrepreneurs to start up environmentally sound businesses through adequate and appropriate incentives;
  • Promoting and fostering an environment conducive to increased public and private sector investment and the creation of decent jobs and livelihoods.

Debt sustainability of both highly indebted SIDS as well as the transition of those that have graduated from least developed country status, must be addressed to ensure their continued eligibility for concessionary financing from international financial institutions.

During the SIDS Conference, the ILO's Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnerships, Gilbert Houngbo held a bilateral meeting with the Right Honourable Freundel J. Stuart, Q.C., M.P.; Prime Minister of Barbados, Senator the Honourable Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Consumer Affairs, Saint. Vincent and the Grenadines; and the Honourable Winston Dookeran, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, of Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

The ILO was also represented at the Third International Conference on SIDS by the Directors from the ILO Country Office for Pacific Island Countries and the ILO Office for the Caribbean. The Caribbean Congress of Labour (CEC), the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) and their respective counterparts from the Pacific were also part of the ILO Delegation.


Editor’s Note:

Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

SIDS include low-lying coastal countries that share similar sustainable development challenges, including small population, limited resources, remoteness, susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to external shocks, and excessive dependence on international trade. Their growth and development is often further stymied by high transportation and communication costs, disproportionately expensive public administration and infrastructure due to their small size, and little to no opportunity to create economies of scale.

Caribbean SIDS members:

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands

For photographs from the SIDS Conference please visit: 

For further information on the ILO Caribbean Office, please contact Dawn Lafond at or Averlon Toussaint at |  Phone: +(868) 623-7178; 623-7704; 625-0524

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