The International Science Council at SIDS4

Discover how the ISC is working to mobilize the scientific community in SIDS and ensure that research on and from the SIDS is brought to the attention of global policy-makers.
The International Science Council at SIDS4

Background on SIDS4

The 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4), co-chaired by New Zealand and the Maldives, will take place from 27 to 30 May 2024 in Antigua and Barbuda under the theme “Charting the Course Towards Resilient Prosperity”. The conference aims to assess the ability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to achieve sustainable development, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals. Building on previous agreements for SIDS, such as the SAMOA Pathway (2014), the conference will result in an action-oriented political outcome document.

The ISC’s commitment to SIDS

SIDS are recognized by the UN as a specific priority group of countries. Their small size, remoteness and limited resource bases mean they tend to share a number of unique challenges for sustainable development. SIDS are also particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and to natural disasters, which are likely to become more frequent and more intense in the future.

Against this backdrop, the ISC, with support from the expertise of its SIDS Liaison Committee and its Regional Focal Points for Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean, sees its main role in providing evidence-based, politically independent, and actionable scientific guidance to decision-makers by drawing on the scientific community in Small Island Developing States.

At SIDS4, the ISC will work to mobilize the scientific community in SIDS and ensure that research on and from the SIDS is brought to the attention of global policy-makers. The Council will also emphasize the importance of science and technology for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs in these countries, and the leadership role that SIDS countries play in global environmental governance and sustainable development.

Our side-events at SIDS4

ISC side-event: Amplifying Science in and from Small Island Developing States

29 May 2024 | 16:00 to 17:30 (AST) | Room 3, SIDS4 conference venue

Science remains largely driven by the Global North. As technological advances continue to accelerate, the need to mobilize science more effectively and build scientific capabilities through cooperation and partnerships are key. Regional cooperation and networks therefore play a crucial role if we are to address the unique challenges faced by Small Islands Developing States and enhance the voice of science on the international stage. Using the example of regional networks of science, this panel session will explore the interdisciplinary nature of their work and highlight their capacity to provide evidence-informed advice to decision-makers.

Aerial photo of small islands in the Caspian sea

IPOS side-event: SIDS Perspectives on the Ocean Science-Policy

27 May 2024 | 14:00 – 15:30 PM (AST) | Room 2 , SIDS4 conference venue

Ocean health is declining due to rising temperatures, increasing acidification, overfishing and pollution. In addition, specific and multi-layered challenges, such as sea level rise, present existential threats to many Small Island States. Public decision-makers have a key role to play in navigating these challenges, however, they lack the evidence-based knowledge for effective and rapid responses, proportional to the risks faced. A new mechanism – an International / Intergovernmental Panel for Ocean Sustainability (IPOS) – will be tested with key decision-makers from Small Island States. The IPOS aims to provide a solution to bridge this knowledge to action gap by effectively reconnecting the knowledge and science required to inform appropriate ocean action.

SEI side-event: Unlocking multifunctional solutions: building climate resilience and sustainable blue economies

28 May 2024 | 14:00 – 15:30 PM (AST) | Room 6 , SIDS4 conference venue

How can multifunctional infrastructure be used by islands and low-lying states, including SIDS? This side-event will delve into the potential of multifunctional solutions as a tool for climate adaptation and to foster a sustainable blue economy.


ISC Talent Book for SIDS4

Get acquainted with some of the key people from the ISC community attending the 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States.

Policy Brief: Global Sea-Level Rise
This policy brief sheds light on key considerations for policy-makers on a wide range of issues related to sea-level rise, highlighting the value of engaging actionable, interdisciplinary scientific knowledge in responding to current and future challenges.

The ISC at INC-4: Plastic treaty negotiations must prioritize health
With the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, the scientific community underscores the critical need to prioritize health in the ongoing negotiations.

Policy Brief: A call for a formal scientific voice in the global fight against plastic pollution
The ISC has developed a new policy brief to guide the current negotiations on an international legally binding instrument to combat plastic pollution. The brief aims to advance a science-based approach ensuring the instrument is based on the latest and best scientific evidence available.


James Waddell

James Waddell (

ISC Science Officer, Political Affairs Liaison

Photo by Patrizia Berta on Unsplash

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