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Small island developing states (SIDS) face an uphill battle as they strive to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis amid vulnerabilities worsened by the pandemic.

The 2021 edition of UNCTAD’s Development and Globalization: Facts and Figures reportreleased on 10 June, highlights the numerous strengths and challenges facing these economically vulnerable countries.

The report is published ahead of UNCTAD’s 15th quadrennial ministerial conference to be held online from 3 to 7 October, hosted by Barbados, one of the SIDS. The contributions and vulnerabilities of SIDS will be key elements of the discussions at the conference.

“This report offers a unique perspective on SIDS by combining a wide variety of statistical information to examine these countries from the aspects of trade, the economy, the environment and society,” said UNCTAD Acting Secretary-General Isabelle Durant.

“I hope the report will serve as a useful statistical and analytical tool for the SIDS themselves and for all those interested in understanding these islands,” she said.

Vulnerable to shocks

While SIDS are a diverse group of countries, they share many socioeconomic and environmental challenges. SIDS are highly vulnerable to external economic and financial shocks, at least 35% more than other developing countries, according to the report. It also analyses the concepts of smallness, and islandness as a function of remoteness or isolation.

It says 2020 was a particularly challenging year for SIDS. In the wake of the pandemic, SIDS experienced an estimated fall in GDP of 9% in 2020, compared with a 3.3% decline in other developing countries based on IMF projections data.

Below are other highlights from the report:

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