AGS Hosts Special Talk on Small Island Developing States

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

doyle16nov12_300x225.jpgOn November 16th, AGS hosted a guest talk by Dr. David Doyle, Permanent Delegate of St. Kitts and Nevis to UNESCO, who discussed the subject of Small Island Developing States. The event was part of a lecture series entitled "Ambassador's Perspective", where career diplomats share their knowledge and experience with AGS students, alumni, faculty, and outside guests.

Dr. Doyle's presentation focused on the specific issues dealt with by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in a context of globalization, economic crisis across the globe, and climate change. He explained how these countries, that make up 20% of the UN membership, are particularly vulnerable to external shocks, often prone to environmental disasters, and have limited ability to use budget cut policies in the way larger countries do.

"Historically, economic and social development in SIDS has been cast in a unique perspective. This is related to the fact that small islands face particularly challenging economic, environmental and logistical features. Smallness brings with it a certain inability to exploit economies of scale; indeed a combination of remoteness and insularity compounds the smallness and heightens the risk of adverse economies of scale." (excerpt from Ambassador David Doyle's article in the International Journal of Island Affairs).

Dr. Doyle also emphasized the flexibility of those states and their ability to re-orientate their economic policies in a swifter way than larger states with heavier structures would. In that light he discussed the transformation of St Kitts and Nevis's from a sugar cane-based economy to one of tourism, inward investment and social change.

"Being from a Small Island Developing State myself, it was particularly interesting to hear Ambassador Doyle's perspective because he wasn't born in the Caribbean and therefore his process of thinking was not confined to that region of the world. He brought a fresh ideology to the current problems normally dealt with by local diplomats, with a very realistic approach. He stressed the growing importance of regional collectivity and togetherness to gain strength and stability, which was an appealing idea because in my view, the Caribbean states are currently very divided," says Stefan De Las, M.A. Candidate 2014, from Trinidad and Tobago.

Read Dr. David Doyle's article in the International Journal of Island Affairs



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Omar Shamiya United States
School of International Relations
Class of 2011

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