Bahamas to host 2017 SIDS Symposium

The Bahamas will host its fourth major international meeting in Nassau in less than 12 months, during the first quarter of 2017. Delegates representing 37 United Nations member states will engage in high level discussions at the U.N.’s Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Symposium, February 21st through 23rd, 2017 at the Melia Nassau Beach Resort on Cable Beach.

The Symposium will provide a platform for decision-makers from SIDS, to reflect on how they can further integrate the 2030 Agenda and the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway in national plans, policies, strategies and public institutions. It will place a special focus on how best to equip public institutions and mobilize partnerships and cooperation for realizing the 2030 Agenda and SAMOA, in the context of SIDS national priorities. The Symposium will also reflect on the special vulnerabilities of SIDS to the adverse impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

The theme of the Symposium is "Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SAMOA Pathway in Small Island Developing States (SIDS): Equipping Public Institutions and Mobilizing Partnerships", which establishes the focus of the three-day discussion.

Participants are expected to come from a variety of areas including planning, public administration, health, education, economic and finance, the environment, disaster management as well as institutions that are directly responsible for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and statistical offices. The more than 200 delegates representing governments from the small island developing states, national and local governments and the United Nations form the core group of representatives. Other participants include representatives from philanthropic and donor agencies, transit countries and bilateral regional and international organizations.

As the host country, the Government of The Bahamas is responsible for organizing the symposium with the support of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). Director of Economic Planning and Development in the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr. Nicola Virgil Rolle heads the team and has engaged a Local Organizing Committee led by former Permanent Secretary, Janeen McCartney to strengthen the team.

The Local Organizing Committee provides a wealth of knowledge and experience in planning and organizing major international meetings and conferences, having executed three events in 2016 - the Inter-American Development Bank and Inter-American Investment Corporation’s Annual General Meeting in May, the CICAD Conference in September and the International Civil Aviation Negotiation Conference in December.    

The Symposium comes at a time when The Bahamas is in the advanced stage of developing its own National Development Plan.

This commitment to national planning has embraced the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals as vital pillars to help guide the country’s strategic planning initiative. The planning team is convinced that alignment with the SDGs help to establish the focus, that together with widespread national consultation will result in the creation of a new vision for The Bahamas.