A message from The King to the United Nations 4th International Conference on Small Islands Developing States


Your future is our future. Our islands, our oceans, our planet and, ultimately, all of us need bold and determined action.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

You have gathered at a crucial moment for our planet, and for all of us who share it. Small Island Developing States exemplify, in so many ways, the challenges facing our world: from rising sea levels, to food and water insecurity; from ever more intense disasters to the disproportionate impact of global shocks.

Throughout the years, I have been fortunate to visit many small island nations. Time and again - whether in Vanuatu or Barbuda - I have seen the critical challenges you face, and how they can multiply to a terrifying and existential degree. 

I have also seen that islands are leaders. You are continually showing the way in tackling climate change, in protecting biodiversity and in stewarding, incredibly, one-third of the global ocean, which is crucial in the fight against both climate change and Nature loss. Your example inspires us to greater ambition, and your voices galvanize more urgent action, as the world saw at C.O.P.15 in Paris, again at C.O.P.26 in Glasgow, and beyond. 

In addition to the incredible leadership of your nations, I am also increasingly encouraged by the important work being done across the international community in support of S.I.D.S.. The Commonwealth, of which many of you are part, has helped to mobilize 310 million dollars of climate finance for our small island members since 2016.

The Sustainable Markets Initiative, which I founded in 2020, is working to support green economic growth with its corporate members committing over nine trillion dollars globally for climate and Nature investments in carbon mitigation and Nature conservation and restoration. Its members are also exploring and developing innovative ways that insurance can help - not only to support disaster recovery - but also to strengthen opportunities for investing in resilience and sustainability in vulnerable countries. Large investors need scale, and there are clear benefits in you all collaborating, to bring projects together to create the scale that companies need in order to invest in these solutions. And the Bridgetown Initiative has been a clarion call for change across the international financial system.

However, Ladies and Gentlemen, I hardly need to tell you, of all people, that there is much further to go and that we can, together, and in close cooperation, build new partnerships to attract the kind of investment which could deliver sustainable, resilient prosperity for people everywhere.

As leaders, you can build the ambition for practical, on-the-ground actions, and safeguard the future of our precious and singular planet.

I would like to congratulate the government of Antigua and Barbuda, together with the United Nations, for their organization of this conference, and the Alliance of Small Island States for its leadership support. If I may say so, I can only hope that as many of you as possible will be attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa later this year.

Until then, I wish you well with the discussions ahead. The issues before you could hardly be more important. Your future is our future. Our islands, our oceans, our planet and, ultimately, all of us need bold and determined action.

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