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The Gambia to participate in Commonwealth Small States Conference in London

Sep 12, 2012, 9:42 AM

The Gambia is to take part in the Commonwealth Small States Conference in London on 17 and 18 September 2012.

A news dispatch from Commonwealth has revealed that Swaibou Barry, deputy director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, will represent The Gambia at the conference.

The global forum on small states conference will discuss unique development challenges of small states and identify practical options to build resilience and sustainable growth.

The Commonwealth Secretariat is convening a global conference to discuss the unique development challenges of small states and explore policy options to address them.

“The Second Global Biennial Conference on Small States will take place on 17 and 18 September 2012 at Marlborough House, the headquarters of the Commonwealth, in London. The meeting is a follow-up to the inaugural 2010 conference, whose outcomes Commonwealth Heads of Government endorsed in Perth, Australia, in October 2011,” it states.

Ministers and officials from small states of the Commonwealth and from around the world will attend the conference; so also will representatives from G20 countries, and international organisations like the World Bank and La Francophonie.

The conference will offer small states an opportunity to share experience and best practice and identify practical policy options to build resilience and sustainable growth.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, said that over the last 30 years, the Commonwealth has been at the forefront, championing the interests of the smallest, poorest and most vulnerable member states.

“The Commonwealth has always exercised a special responsibility to protect and promote the interests of small states in the pursuit of their social, environmental and economic development goals. We are convening this global conference in that spirit,” Mr Sharma said.

Thirty-two of the Commonwealth’s 54-member countries are small states, with populations of less than 1.5 million. They share similar challenges such as remoteness, susceptibility to exogenous shocks and high debt burdens.

The key themes for discussion during the conference include: green growth in small states; tourism development and local economy linkages; migration and development; building resilience to external shocks; and enhancing growth through regional integration.

Conference outcomes are expected to feed into major international meetings, including the Small States Forum that will take place in the wings of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Annual meetings in October 2012. They will likely also impact on preparations for the UN 2014 Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.