The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc worldwide, especially in small island developing states (SIDS). Economies have contracted, health systems have been overwhelmed and social life as we know it, has been drastically disrupted. Pre COVID-19, SIDS struggled with weak economies, high levels of poverty; inequality and debts, and heavy dependence on overseas development assistance (ODA); large informal sectors; and the impact of climate change. The virus has exposed deeply-rooted structural problems and heightened existing vulnerabilities in SIDS.
While the Caribbean as a region has been exemplary in the containment of COVID-19, the long-term impact of the pandemic and the concomitant containment measures are already proving to be disastrous. The virus has exacerbated the region’s fragilities and vulnerabilities. Notwithstanding this, the crisis provides an opportune moment to re-think and re-shape our economic, political, cultural and social systems. In these unprecedentedly precarious times we are compelled to be exceptionally agile and inventive in re-imagining development, during and post COVID-19. The 22nd Annual SALISES Conference, therefore, would like to provide a platform to address these and related development challenges facing SIDS.