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Small Nations, Dislocations, Transformations: Sustainable Development in SIDS.

This special issue of Social and Economic Studies arises out of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies' 18th annual conference, which was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, from April 26 to 28, 2017, under the theme "Small Nations, Dislocations, Transformations: Sustainable Development in SIDS". The theme aptly encapsulates the current socio-economic realities of Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS) as the region continues to deal with the negative fallout from the global economic downturn, falling tourism demand and commodity prices, threats of de-risking in the banking sector, foreign exchange shortages, rising levels of government debt, low or negative growth, and the accompanying intensification of negative social ills, including poverty, unemployment, criminality, fears of terrorism and overburdened health services, housing and educational facilities. There are also serious threats from natural disasters, some related to climate change, like rising sea levels, the increase in number and ferocity of hurricanes and storm surges. In fact, in 2017, the Caribbean experienced two large-scale category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, a mere ten days apart.

Conference panels included development theory and practice since Lewis; migration, return migration and remittances; macroeconomic management in small states; labour and human capital development; entrepreneurship and Caribbean development; creative and cultural industries; tourism and eco-tourism; the green economy; climate change and small states; the environment--coastlines, fisheries, forests and biodiversity; financial structures and regulations; debt and multilateral agencies; constitutional reform, governance, democracy and development; crime, violence and regional security; natural disasters and disaster preparedness; vulnerable populations, social exclusion, poverty and inequality; children, youth and society; health, ageing and disability; and sex, class, race and power.

The conference was organised by the SALISES, St. Augustine, under the leadership of the then director, Professor Patrick K. Watson, together with the full participation of all SALISES staff. The conference brought together leading scholars from the Caribbean across a wide range of disciplines, as well as international experts. Participants included policy makers, graduate students, professionals, and members of the private sector. A total of 71 academic papers were presented. The conference opened with a feature address by Ms Anya Schnoor, the then President of the Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago. One of the highlights of the conference was the Sir Arthur Lewis Distinguished Lecture, delivered by Professor James A. Robinson, from the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy, titled "The relationship between the quality of state institutions and the quality of life". The conference concluded with its usual "lime" (Trinidadian for hangout) at the Exodus panyard, which offered live steelpan and soca music. The conference proved to be an excellent forum for rich academic discussion with vast implications for policy making, idea exchanges, and networking.

For this special issue, a total of nine articles successfully went through the double-blind peer review process. These articles, like the conference panels, cover a broad range of economic and social development issues facing the region. The articles are as follows:

1. Structural Constraints and Macroeconomic Policies to Promote Sustainable Growth in the Caribbean argues that a macroeconomic policy aimed at sustainable growth must be informed by the underlying factors driving debt accumulation and fiscal instability, and outlines a number of strategies to address the lack of sustained growth in the Caribbean.

2. Finance and Development in the Caribbean: Threats to the Link reviews the link between finance and development, and proposes solutions to finance sector constraints and de-risking for policy makers.

3. Energy Consumption and Economic Development in Caribbean SIDS examines the direction of causality between energy consumption and economic development, with implications for energy policy in the region, given its high dependence on imported fossil fuels.

4. Remittances and Economic Development: Evidence from the Caribbean empirically examines whether and how remittances impact economic development, in light of the fact that they were the second largest inflow of foreign capital to the Caribbean over the last two decades.

5. Do SPS and TBT regulations inhibit Guyana's Food and Agricultural Exports to CARICOM markets? looks at the non-trade barriers inhibiting Guyana's food and agricultural exports to Caribbean markets. This has significant trade policy implications given that forty percent of Guyana's export earnings come from food and agriculture.

6. An Economic Analysis of the Horse Racing Industry in Trinidad and Tobago Given the imperative to diversify in the region, this paper conducts an economic analysis into an unconventional industry, the Horse Racing Industry in Trinidad and Tobago, which has income-generating potential.

7. FDI and Technology Transfer in Trinidad and Tobago's Construction Industry examines the experience of domestic construction companies in the twin-island republic when collaborating with Chinese firms on infrastructure projects, to determine whether knowledge spillovers and technology transfer occurred and lessons were learnt.

8. The Growing Importance of Climate Services to the Building of a Climate-Resilient Caribbean describes the evolution of climate services in the Caribbean over the last fifty years in building resilience. Building national and regional resilience to mitigate the risks posed by weather and climate hazards is essential for SIDS.

9. Debt For Climate Swaps: Lessons for Caribbean SIDS from the Seychelles' Experience extrapolates solutions for the Caribbean based on the Indian Ocean SIDS' experience of implementing climate swaps, which could help the region fund costly climate adaptation programmes and reduce high public debt levels.
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Title Annotation:small island developing states
Author:Mohan, Preeya S.
Publication:Social and Economic Studies
Date:Jun 1, 2018
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