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Home > ITU-D > Least Developed Countries & SIDS > International Conference on SIDS - 1994, Barbados
In April 1994, a Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States was held in Barbados. One hundred and twenty five (125) States and territories participated in the conference, 46 of which were Small Island developing States and territories. The special value of this Conference is that fourteen priority areas were elaborated into a Programme of Action which is now referred to as the Barbados Programme of Action(BPoA). The Barbados Programme of Action became the first-ever intergovernmental policy document to integrate the small islands into the world economy and tackle their particular socioeconomic development problems.
As follow-up to this landmark conference, the United Nations organized an International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of the Small Island Developing States, that was held in Port-Louis, Mauritius from 10 to 14 January 2005. The major outcome document of the conference, the Mauritius Strategy was adopted. It highlights the plight of SIDS in terms of their exposure to disasters as they are located in some of the most vulnerable regions of the world. The Mauritius Declaration recognizes that international trade is "important for building resilience and the sustainable development" of SIDS, and calls upon the international institutions, including financial institutions to "pay appropriate attention to the structural disadvantages" of SIDS.
In direct reference to the role of telecommunications/ICT, the Declaration notes that telecommunications liberalization brought both opportunities and challenges. Despite its catalytic role in improving access to telecommunications, there are still serious access limitations to basic services resulting in part from the small size of the markets that have tended to prevent the maximization of the full value of liberalization through economies of scale. The declaration calls upon the international community and the International Telecommunication Union in particular to assist SIDS in attaining universal service through the development of community multimedia centres, improving ICT literacy, skill development, and the development of local content and applications for the benefit of society.
ITU was active at the United Nations Mauritius International Meeting for SIDS. As one of its commitments, ITU undertook to help speed up the deployment of information and communication technologies to the small islands and also help these countries to put in place appropriate strategies and policies aimed at attracting investment into the ICT sector.
Just over a year following the holding of the Mauritius Conference, ITU held its fourth World Telecommunication Conference in Doha Qatar. For the first time in the history of the ITU, SIDS were incorporated into a budgeted programme named: Programme for Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States, and Emergency Telecommunications. A number of SIDS have already benefited from concentrated assistance provided under this programme. In 2007 the following countries will receive concentrated assistance:
The assistance will be provided under three key priority areas:
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