The first session of the Small Islands Developing States conference in Samoa this afternoon will focus on sustainable economic development.
Thousands of SIDS delegates are in Apia, and leaders say more than 300 new partnerships on issues of unemployment, climate change, fisheries, women, youth and renewable energy will be created this week.
Mary Baines is there.
"Leaders will this afternoon discuss how they can create resilient and sustainable economic environments, build their domestic and export markets and raise employment levels. On the panel is the Cook Islands Prime Minister, Henry Puna, who is expected to share knowledge about the country's growing coconut industry, and the New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, who will discuss the importance of development partnerships in the region. Some have criticised the cost and carbon emissions being caused by 3,000 people attending a conference on climate change issues and renewable energy. But leaders here say they need to get together to speak as one voice."