Migration a Key to Achieving Resilience and Prosperity in Caribbean and Pacific SIDS

Migration a Key to Achieving Resilience and Prosperity in Caribbean and Pacific SIDS

Bridgetown/St Johns, 3 June 2024 - IOM Caribbean joined the Fourth Conference for Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) last week in Antigua, as part of the delegation of the International Organization for Migration headed by IOM Director General Amy Pope, and Deputy Director General for Operations, Ugochi Daniels.  IOM hosted a side event, met with Member States, and made interventions at the interactive dialogues and plenary, highlighting that well-managed migration must be a key part of implementing the new Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS (ABAS) in their journeys toward resilient prosperity. 

Patrice Quesada, Coordinator of IOM Caribbean noted that IOM’s high-level representation reflected the importance of supporting SIDS Members, many of whom had the opportunity to meet IOM Leadership during the Conference.  The interest around migration issues was confirmed by the good attendance and rich discussion on Tuesday 28 May at IOM’s side event on “Harnessing the power of migration to accelerate development and for climate resilient prosperity in SIDS”. 

Ministerial representatives from Dominica and Fiji, a youth representative from Antigua-Barbuda, and the mayor of Belize City shared their experiences of migration driven by climate change.  They shared the increased need to relocate communities, the strain on local resources and the need for flexible financial support to build resilience; urbanization, economic integration and leveraging of remittances; and the “hush culture” that prevents honest inclusion of groups from the grassroots in action towards the SDGs.

Quesada noted “What I take from it is this growing awareness among all actors of how migration is essential for the SIDS, not only to support climate adaptation, but also to respond to the specific development needs of the SIDS countries.

IOM also partnered with the Government of Dominica to host a side event on the ambition of resilience - “The Dominica experience”.  In 2017, Dominica was battered by Hurricane Maria, damaging or destroying 90 per-cent of buildings.  The honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Vince Henderson stressed the immense cost of building resilience in the face of climate change and called on donors to fulfill their pledges.   Minister for the Environment, Honourable Cozier Frederick stressed the importance of local and indigenous knowledge, of engaging and investing in communities. 

IOM’s Coordinator for the Caribbean, who moderated this side event, reflected that “What they were showing is a story of resilience that start[s] with the people at the community level, communities that have a long history of working together, and were able to bounce back quickly, to recover even before international solidarity kicked in. We are […] very interested to hear from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Environment, about their experiences with the COP, especially on the need to deliver on climate financing, the need to move beyond promises, to ensure delivery on the ground for the people.

SIDS are in some of the most disaster-prone zones and are at least 35 per-cent more vulnerable to external economic and financial shocks than other developing countries.   Such external shocks have the greatest impact on their development.  Throughout SIDS4, IOM confirmed its commitment to working with community and government leaders, UN partners and other organizations to address the challenges of SIDS and support them to achieve resilience and prosperity.

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Editorial notes:

Panelists at the IOM side event Harnessing the power of migration to accelerate development and for climate resilient prosperity in SIDS:

  1. Dominica: Mr. Cozier Frederick, Honourable Minister for the Environment, Rural Modernization, Kalinago Upliftment and Constituency Empowerment.
  2. Fiji: Representative of Mr. Sakiasi Ditoka, Honourable Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management, Fiji
  3. Antigua & Barbuda - Ms. Joshuanette Francis, Climate change and disability expert at the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN)
  4. Belize - Mr. Bernard Wagner, Mayor, Belize City


🔗IOM side event: