Today, marks the Barbados??? 20th anniversary of hosting the first Global Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The country will also join in the global celebration of 2014 as the first United Nations designated International Year of Small Island Developing States (IYOS).

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, in a statement issued today, urged the Church, schools, civil society and the private sector to join in the celebrations of the International Year of SIDS and World Environment Day 2014. The latter is being co-hosted by the Government of Barbados and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Today also marks 20 years since the signing of the Barbados Declaration and the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS at the then Sherbourne Conference Centre, in Bridgetown.

Those agreements elaborated principles and set out strategies for development that would protect the fragile environments of small island states.??Among the priority areas identified for specific action were climate change and sea level rise; natural and environmental disasters; biodiversity resources; management of waste; transport and communication, and human resource development.

In addition, the BPOA also identified cross-sectoral areas of capacity building; institutional development; cooperation in the transfer of environmentally sound technologies; economic diversification and finance as being among the areas requiring attention.??In a bid to further implement the elements of the Programme of Action, Mr. Stuart announced Government???s plans to reinstitute the National Council for Sustainable Development.

He has also called on the relevant authorities in Culture, Heritage and Tourism to determine the appropriate means to memorialise the site of that historic 1994 conference, at the now Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

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