Small Island Developing States: Harnessing the Potential of Migration for Resilience and Prosperity

IOM will participate in the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) in Antigua and Barbuda (27-30 May).  Photo: IOM

Geneva/ Saint Johns, 27 May – Well-managed migration is an essential part of how Small Island Developing States achieve resilient prosperity, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on the eve of the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) in Antigua and Barbuda (27-30 May).  

The Conference will discuss the progress achieved towards sustainable development by the Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The group of 39 States and 18 Associate Members will also ratify the Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS (ABAS), a 10-year plan to build resilient economies and foster prosperous societies.  

“Small Island Developing States are contending with significant challenges, but they also have tremendous opportunities to build sustainable development and resilient prosperity,” said IOM Director General Amy Pope. “Safe, regular migration pathways can help these countries build that prosperity by taking advantage of their workforces to help diversify and strengthen economic progress.”  

Migration is woven into the social, economic, historical and cultural fabric of Small Island Developing States. They are home to 3.81 million international migrants and are countries of origin of nearly 10 million migrants. They also boast significant intra-regional mobility.   

While progress has been made over the last decades, SIDS face unique challenges to sustainable development, requiring innovative approaches to build resilient economies; foster safe, healthy and prosperous societies; achieve water, food and energy security; conserve biodiversity; sustainably use ocean resources; and mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. Migration can be leveraged to address these issues and contribute to greater prosperity for countries of origin and destination.  

Leveraging diasporas’ skills, networks, economic and cultural capital can boost progress and growth for Small Island Developing States. Migrant remittances and investments serve as complementary sources of finance for families and economies. Migrant workers' remittances to SIDS, amounting to USD 22 billion in 2023, help support sustainable development, climate adaptation, and poverty reduction, as well as stabilize economies, including during crises and after disasters.  

Safe, orderly and regular migration pathways, including enhanced labour migration between small islands, can help navigate demographic challenges and support economic diversification.   

Well-managed migration can also be built into adaptation and mitigation solutions for climate and environmental resilience, and drive solutions to displacement.  

IOM is committed to continue working with governments, the private sector, international organizations, academia, civil society, migrants and host communities to harness the potential of migration as a driver of human development and global prosperity.  


Note to Editors  

Since 2020, and with the support of its partners, IOM has invested nearly USD 300 million through 244 new initiatives in SIDS. With a strong operational presence across the three SIDS regions – Caribbean, Pacific, and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea – IOM is in a unique position to put to practice the vision of the new Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS.    


More information here


For media inquiries, please contact:    

In Barbados: Maxine Alleyne,  

In Geneva: Kennedy Okoth,