Side Event: Harnessing digital economy in Asia and the Pacific

May 28
12:00 pm
 – 1:30 pm
St John’s
Antigua and Barbuda

The fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States dubbed ‘SIDS4’ will be held on 27 – 30 May 2024 in St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda. The Commonwealth Secretariat in partnership with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and The Pacific Community (SPC) are hosting a side event at SIDS4 in Antigua and Barbuda.


At the mid-point of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the recovery from the pandemic in the context of climate change and geopolitical tensions has adversely impacted the lives and livelihoods of people and communities in the Asia-Pacific. The countries are not on track to achieve any of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. In this regard, the upcoming Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in 2024, has also been providing another important stage for SIDS to meet the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

In this backdrop, to accelerate SDGs advancement, the digital economy and its transformation for sustainable development is critical for stakeholders to remain solutions-focused. The governments recognise the importance of prioritising digital technologies, harnessing innovation and establishing enabling legal frameworks to accelerate development outcomes with the broader objectives of the SDGs to improve synergies and effectiveness across the sectors, including digital trade, e-commerce and connectivity and regulatory reforms for spreading the content of digital public infrastructure for goods and services.

Importantly, members and policymakers need to invest more in digital transformation and work together to promote alignment and regulatory coherence in order to diffuse the outcomes of the prosperity and economic benefits in the Asia-Pacific region. The event will also hear perspectives from SIDS and development partners and call on the international community to support and cooperate on critical issues of digital transformation in line with spreading the partnership.


Bringing together a diverse panel, this side event aims to draw attention to the emerging opportunity among multi-stakeholders to take action through the regional frameworks. The discussion will highlight issues that are critical to advance digital economy towards resilient prosperity for the Asia and the Pacific SIDS. With the engagement of policy makers and other stakeholders, the discussions will identify pathways forward for the governments to synergise with the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the advancement of the SDGs target.

This side event will examine the following key guiding questions:

  1. What are the main policy actions to ensure national development frameworks support the digital economy?
  1. What are the essential legislative frameworks and regulatory building blocks that are necessary to come together to create an enabling environment to allow small island developing states to fully benefit from the digital economy?
  1. How would you mainstream digital economy in national development priorities and strategies through digital finance and fintech to advance sustainable development goals across SIDS?
  1. What can be done by Regional Commission (such as ESCAP), International organisations (such as Commonwealth Secretariat) and other development partners to facilitate digital transformation for the people and prosperity?


To attend the side event, all registrants must also register and receive accreditation for the SIDS4 Conference.