There are 38 countries in the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean and the South China Sea that belong to the distinct group of small island developing States. The need to review and enhance the effectiveness, coherence and coordination of United Nations system support for small island developing States has been recognized by the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council in various resolutions. Most recently in its resolution 68/238, paragraphs 5 and 22, the General Assembly reiterated its call for the strengthening of United Nations system support to small island developing States, as well as for the Secretary-General to ensure inter-agency cooperation and effective participation and coherence within the United Nations system in the upcoming third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, to be held in Apia in September 2014.

At its second regular session in November 2013, CEB decided to hold a high-level side event in support of the Conference theme the “sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships”. The side event will demonstrate what the United Nations system, working together, can tangibly contribute to the sustainable development of small island developing States. In 2014, in the lead-up to the Conference, the High-level Committee on Programmes will consider how it may best promote efforts to strengthen coherence among United Nations system activities in support of small island developing States and make recommendations for consideration by CEB.