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Small island economies’ resilience at the core of the next Brussels Briefing

July 2, 2014

"Building resilience of SIDS through trade and agribusiness development" is the focus of the next Brussels Development Briefing to be held on11 July 2014 at the Borschette Centre in Brussels. The Small Island Developing State (SIDS) is a distinct group of developing countries facing specific social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities. There are more than 50 million inhabitants of SIDS, 43 of them located in the Caribbean and the Pacific regions. Due to their small size, isolation and the fragility of island ecosystems, their renowned biological diversity is among the most threatened in the world. Currently the United Nations classifies 52 countries and territories as SIDS.

According to the gross national income (GNI), 64 percent of SIDS are middle-income, 29 percent are high-income economies and 7 percent are classified as low-income countries. Moreover, the importance of the agricultural sector varies across countries. For example, in Papua New Guinea, agriculture contributed to 36 percent to GDP in 2012, whereas in the Bahamas and Puerto Rico this figure was only 2 percent and 1 percent respectively.

This 37th Briefing is being organised by CTA, in collaboration with the European Commission, the ACP Secretariat and the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs (CONCORD). It will address issues related to vulnerabilities and opportunities for ACP small island economies. In addition, the Briefing will raise awareness on economic challenges in SIDS, increase exchange of information, expertise on economic and trade resilience of small islands while facilitating networking among development partners.

Around 150 ACP-EU policy-makers and representatives of EU Member States, civil society groups, research networks, development practitioners, and international organisations based in Brussels will attend the briefing. The first panel will be moderated by Her Excellency Dr. Len Ishmael; Ambassador of Eastern Caribbean States (ECS) will provide an overview of the main challenges and opportunities for the development of agro-industry in SIDS. The second panel focuses on best practices in agro-industry in the regions and the strategies of ACP countries will be lead by His Excellency Fatumanava Luteru, Ambassador of Samoa.

They will discuss the vulnerabilities and challenges experienced by small islands, and explore new opportunities especially through innovative partnerships and achievements of the agritrade sector in ACP SIDS.

In the context of 2014 as the "International year of Small Island Developing State" and the upcoming UN Conference on SIDS (1-4 September 2014) in Apia, Samoa, this Brussels Briefing could highlight new perspectives and give an overview of the main challenges and opportunities for agribusiness development to better strengthen small islands economies.

The Brussels Briefing is a regular event in Brussels organized bimonthly by CTA, the DG DEVCO from the European Commission, the ACP Secretariat, Concord to improve information sharing and promote networking on key issues and challenges for rural development in the context of EU/ACP cooperation.

For info on how to register or follow the live webstream, visit: http://brusselsbriefings.net/