Malta and Small Island Developing States
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Malta and Small Island Developing States

Produced By Mr Dennis Grech, Counsellor, Date: Jul 21, 2020

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a group of States spread all over the globe, but which, as highlighted by the United Nations (UN), share common challenges of an economic and geographical nature that hinder their socio-economic progress such as, inter alia, small domestic markets, geographical isolation, exposure to natural disasters and a fragile biodiversity.

 Malta was considered as a SIDS until 2004 when it acceded to the European Union (EU) and was henceforth recognised as a developed country.  Malta has established bilateral relations with SIDS and interacted with them on a multilateral basis through organisations such as the UN, the EU and in particular the Commonwealth. Malta values and nurtures its  relations with SIDS primarily because it believes that common and shared challenges are best tackled jointly, and also because, like them, it supports a rules-based international system.

Malta has already established itself as a centre of training to assist SIDS with capacity-building in several, different areas.  The University of Malta and its affiliated entities have a long-standing experience through the IMO-International Maritime Law Institute, the International Ocean Institute and other niche entities.  Furthermore, since 2018, Malta hosts the Commonwealth Small States Centre of Excellence that has developed capacity-building solutions specifically for SIDS. Affiliated directly with, and supported by, the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs, the Centre is extending the scope of the process of capacity-building to include areas associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals as well as other policy documents for SIDS such as the SAMOA Pathway, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation.

 It is noteworthy that in January 2020, Malta was appointed Co-Chair of the UN’s Steering Committee on Partnerships for Small Island Developing States. Through this appointment Malta shall steer, over a two-year period, this UN process that supports SIDS in the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and the Sustainable Development Goals.