On behalf of the Directors, staff and students of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) and our conference partner, The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC), I warmly welcome you to the 22nd annual SALISES conference. This annual conference is hosted each year by one of the three campus units in Cave Hill, St. Augustine or Mona and is usually held face-to-face in one of the three host countries.
Due to the current pandemic, the 2020 annual conference was held virtually. As much as we would like to resume our face-to-face attendance, we will host the 2021 conference virtually to ensure the safety of all our participants. The 22nd annual SALISES conference is being held virtually on September 28-30, 2021 under the theme: “Re-imagining Development for Small Island Developing States (SIDs): Post-Pandemic Transformations.”
SIDS are highly vulnerable to external shocks. The June 2021 edition of UNCTAD’s Development and Globalization: Facts and Figures reports that the pandemic is likely to increase unemployment (especially in the informal sector) and intensify poverty and inequalities. The same report noted that in the wake of the pandemic, SIDS experienced an estimated fall in GDP of 9% in 2020, and that in 2019, external debt accounted for 62% of their GDP, a record high which was mostly driven by increases in short-term debt and private debt. Undoubtedly, the economic, political and social impacts of the pandemic have been devastating.
We are extremely pleased that UNECLAC has agreed to be our conference partner and we thank them for this important collaboration. At this conference, we will examine the challenges and opportunities that the pandemic has presented. We hope to provide concrete recommendations for the improvement in the quality of life of citizens in SIDS.
We have prepared an exciting programme that will enable reflective conversation and intellectual discourses. We invite to join us; students, members of the public, policy makers, academicians and members of non-governmental organizations. All presenters are also invited to submit their papers for peer-review by October 15, 2021. All peer-reviewed papers will be published in a special issue of the Journal of Social and Economic Studies.
Welcome again and please enjoy the conference.
Aldrie Henry-Lee, Professor