Other Statements Other Statements

ECOSOC Special Event on SIDS, LDCs, and LLDCs



23 April 2021


Understanding the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) – Impact of COVID-19 and road to recovery




Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations



Excellencies and colleagues,


It is a pleasure to be able to join this special event on SIDs, LDCs and LLDCs, and I thank ECOSOC and the UN Secretariat for organizing it.


2. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on countries and regions, particularly on Small Island Developing States. This is an additional battle they must now fight, even as they find themselves on frontlines of climate change.

3. SIDS have been among the worst hit developing economies in economic and fiscal terms, largely due to global contraction in two ocean economy sectors that are key to many SIDS: coastal tourism and fisheries.

4. The fragile health systems, lack of domestic financial resources, slow down in global trade and unsustainably high debt levels all present further urgent challenges. Covid is siphoning away money meant for fuelling economic growth to meeting immediate humanitarian needs.

5. Access to fast and effective support from the international development community is vital, as SIDS’ public spending needs are mounting – both to respond to the health emergency and to counter the economic effects of the pandemic.

6. The potential stress on available international development resources makes it important to have tailored and smart deployment of these resources.

7. This means that support must focus on fostering a recovery that addresses SIDS’ most critical structural challenges, enhancing the resilience and sustainability of existing key economic sectors, building capacity and skill, and fostering economic diversification by unlocking new development opportunities, such as in the digital space and in the Blue Economy, that are aligned with their national priorities.


8. India’s broad-based development cooperation with SIDS has followed this approach long before the pandemic struck. We have been at the side of our SIDS partners in the immediate response to the pandemic, including by dispatching medicines, emergency relief materials, medical teams and vaccines; and by deploying the India-UN Development Partnership Fund to execute a range of specially tailored projects.

9. I will end by recalling what our Prime Minister has said on an earlier occasion: while the world may see you as Small Islands with modest populations, we see you as Large Ocean States with vast potential. We will be steadfast allies in the developmental journey of SIDs, with a consultative and demand driven approach that is always respectful of the sovereignty of our partners.


Thank you.