Tuesday, September 4, 2012

C'wealth conference on small states in London

London: The Commonwealth Secretariat has convened a global conference here to discuss the unique development challenges of small states in the group and explore policy options to address them.

Thirty-two of the Commonwealth's 54 member countries are small states, with populations of less than 1.5 million.

They share similar challenges such as remoteness, susceptibility to exogenous shocks and high debt burdens, a press release from the Secretariat said.

The Second Global Biennial Conference on Small States will take place on September 17-18 at the headquarters of the Commonwealth in London.

The meeting is a follow-up to the inaugural 2010 conference, whose outcomes Commonwealth Heads of Government endorsed in Perth, Australia, in October 2011.

Besides ministers and officials from small states, the conference will also be attended by representatives from G20 countries, and international organisations like the World Bank and La Francophonie.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said:"The Commonwealth has always exercised a special responsibility to protect and promote the interests of small states in the pursuit of their social, environmental and economic development goals. We are convening this global conference in that spirit."

The key themes for discussion during the conference include: green growth in small states; tourism development and local economy linkages; migration and development; building resilience to external shocks; and enhancing growth through regional integration, the release added.

Conference outcomes are expected to feed into major international meetings, including the Small States Forum that will take place in the wings of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings in October 2012.

They will likely also impact on preparations for the UN 2014 Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, the release said. More