Small Island Nations are the first and most vulnerable societies to face the challenging conditions of sea level rise, acidification, extreme weather, and other dramatic manifestations of climate change and the ocean. Some island nations already face the prospect of complete submersion and loss of place and national identity. Many are now engaged in innovative strategies to respond to these challenges, and to them we may look to see the future.
|How Are Small Islands Being Impacted By Climate Change? (vid)
|Saving Paradise: Ensuring Sustainable Development (pdf)
|The SIDS Caribbean Project: Preparedness for Change (pdf)|
10 Things You May Not Know About Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
1. They are highly vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters.
Six of the top ten countries with the greatest proportion of resources at risk during hurricanes or cyclones are small islands. These losses will only increase due to sea-level rise, water scarcity, drought, and other factors.
2. SIDS rely heavily on a close relationship with the sea.
SIDS benefit in varying ways from a close relationship to the ocean. Some make use of strategic geographic positioning within the global trade system while others depend largely on their natural marine resources.
3. Tourism is vital to the economies of SIDS
Most small island developing states derive more than 30% of their GDP from tourism-related services. For instance, the Caribbean receives more than 21 million visitors per year.
4. SIDS are biodiversity hotspots
Islands make a huge contribution to global biodiversity. It is said that this contribution is out of proportion to their land area. SIDS contain some of the richest reservoirs of plants and animals on Earth.
5. “Climate Neutrality” is on the table
Several SIDS (including Maldives, Tuvalu, and some Caribbean states) are working to achieve “climate neutrality” through use of renewable energy.
6. Climate Change is creating climate refugees now
Sea level rise is hugely disruptive to the economies, livehoods, and stability of many island nations. Migration caused by climate change is estimated to cause the world very big problems in the near future.
7. Costs vs. GDP
Very often, the financial costs of disasters cost countries much more than their gross domestic product. Oftentimes countries are hit more than once per year, causing more millions in damages.
8. Fish, it’s what’s for dinner
For many SIDS, fisheries contribute more than 10% of GDP and in some cases comprise 50% of exports. Fish contribute at least half of the total animal protein intake in some SIDS.
9. Climate change isn’t the only thing threatening SIDS
Many if not most small island developing states are remote places. Challenges similar to them all include limited resources for expanding populations, water resources, threats to coral reefs, income from tourism, and agricultural resources, and an excessive dependence on the international community for trade.
10. SIDS are not waiting for the next storm
The 38 SIDS are not waiting around for the next disaster to strike. They are taking measure to adapt to, manage and mitigate risks posed by climate change. Though SIDS do very little to contribute to climate change, they stand to be most effected by it.