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10:00 am, 28 May 2024 to 11:30 am, 28 May 2024 Saint John Time, AST (GMT -4)

Fostering Resilience: An Intergenerational Dialogue on Health and Climate in Small Island Developing States

4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face a unique set of challenges. Their vulnerability to the effects of climate change is acute—including to rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and changing precipitation patterns. As the climate crisis escalates, severe effects on human health are being documented, including an increase in the spread of infectious diseases, heat-related illnesses and deaths, worsening maternal and child health outcomes, and disruptions to healthcare infrastructure and services.

Children and young people are among those most vulnerable to the effects of these dual crises, and it is those countries on the frontline of the climate crisis, especially SIDS, that are expected to bear the greatest burden. Strategic investments that target young people in SIDS, including in employment, education, and training, are crucial to addressing their layered vulnerabilities and bringing this key group to the forefront of advocacy for change.

The event

This event—a partnership between the Government of Samoa and the Commonwealth Foundation—will seek to facilitate an intergenerational dialogue to address the pressing challenges faced by SIDS communities and explore sustainable and actionable solutions that involve young people. It will provide a platform for sharing documented good practices of youth leadership and engagement in climate and health justice initiatives; lessons learned about what has worked and what has not; and ideas for innovation and investment to foster health and climate resilience in SIDS. It will also explore how the Commonwealth—an intergovernmental body that counts most of the world’s SIDS among its members—and Commonwealth institutions can support the youth population in SIDS to address health challenges linked to climate change. The event will include perspectives from wider civil society via video contributions commissioned to give a voice to key sectors of SIDS civil society. Some key questions that will be addressed in this dialogue are:

• What are the most pressing health concerns (both physical and psychological) arising from climate change in SIDS, and how do they differ across regions?

• What policy measures can be implemented to enhance healthcare infrastructure and services in SIDS, with a focus on the needs of young populations?

• How can regional and international partnerships, particularly with institutions like the Commonwealth, be leveraged to support youth-led initiatives addressing health challenges arising from climate change in SIDS?

This in-person side event is organised in partnership with the Government of Samoa as part of the UN’s 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (UNSIDS), hosted by Antigua and Barbuda. It is also part of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Year of Youth Initiative.

Please note that to join this side event, you must have official accreditation to attend the conference. You may register your interest by clicking here or on the link above. For any other information about the event, kindly contact us at events@commonwealthfoundation.com and our organising team will get back to you.

Image credit: Rick Jamison

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Dr Terri-Karelle Johnson
Dr. James Hospedales
Ashley Lashley
Alisi Rabukawaqa
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