Small Island Developing States and COP 26

Wednesday 27 October 2021 (14:00-15:30)
Signage on a sandy beach which denote sea levels rising between 2030 and 2050

Small Island Developing States and COP 26

The IDD Guest Seminar Series is delighted to welcome the Overseas Development Institute's (ODI) Resilient Islands Initiative team to discuss their latest policy brief and paper on 'Sustaining Development in Small Island States'.

The ODI 'Resilient Islands Initiative' distils expert analysis on the multidimensional challenges facing Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the strategies and opportunities for collective action in the 21st century to tackle these.


Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have long pursued unconventional economic development strategies, often with great success. Equally, because of their susceptibility to exogenous shocks, which can be disproportionately more destructive than in larger states, their progress remains fragile and can be set back suddenly and dramatically. It has taken some time for donors and multilateral institutions to recognise this, but climate change has brought the unique condition of SIDS to the fore and their ‘special case for sustainable development’ is now enshrined in the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (‘SAMOA Pathway’) and other multilateral agreements. The problem is that, amid a rapidly changing geopolitical and economic landscape defined by the Covid-19 pandemic, the reassertion of great power politics and accelerating climate change, it is less clear what ‘sustainable development’ means for SIDS and what the best route to achieving it is.

Global governance reforms are urgently needed to allow SIDS to exploit new economic niches and sustain levels of development in a post-pandemic and warming world. Key changes include altering the way official development assistance (ODA) is defined, generating new forms of debt relief, reforming climate financing mechanisms and facilitating access to the labour markets of the global north.

About the Speakers:

  • Emily Wilkinson is a Senior Research Fellow in the ODI Global Risks and Resilience Programme and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Climate Resilience Agency for Dominica (CREAD).
  • Jack Corbett is Professor of Politics at the University of Southampton.
  • Matthew Bishop is a senior lecturer in International Politics at the University of Sheffield.
  • Michelle Scobie is a lecturer and researcher at the Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.
  • George Carter is a Research Fellow in Geopolitics and Regionalism at the Department of Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University.
  • Courtney Lindsay is a project development consultant with the Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Rachid Bouhia is an economist in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.


The IDD Guest Seminar Series brings scholars and practitioners working on international development to the University of Birmingham to share their latest research and ideas. All seminars are open to staff, students, and the general public. For details of other upcoming seminars please visit IDD's Eventbrite page and follow us on twitter @iddbirmingham. Speakers will present for 45 minutes, followed by 45 minutes for audience Q&A.

Please register if you would like to attend. A Zoom link will be emailed to participants before the event.

This free event is open to all - staff, students, key stakeholders and members of the public.