Sunday, 24 January 2021

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Small developing island states expose global vulnerabilities



4 September 2014 - According to estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a temperature rise by 4 degrees Celsius could raise sea levels as much as 1 metre by 2100, a scenario that would see many small developing island states(SIDS) such as Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu become uninhabitable.

Furthermore, SIDS stand to suffer disproportionately from climate change impacts such as weather-related disasters, declining availability of freshwater and reduced availability of seafood.

The SIDS and UN have thus gathered to address climate change issues and to discuss post 2015-development goals at the UN conference on Small Developing Island States which is taking place in Apia, Samoa from 1st to 4th September.

The official theme of the meeting this year is 'The sustainable development of Small Island Developing States through genuine and durable partnerships.'

"As we are at the final stage of designing a global development agenda beyond 2015, this conference will further provide Small Islands the opportunity to be more involved in this process. It will give them a global stage, to let their voices be heard,“ says Conference Secretary-General and UN DESA's Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo.

In many ways the challenges faced by the SIDS are premonitions of what is going to happen in the rest of the World. The conference in Apia is thus a very suitable warm-up before the global Climate Change Summit at the UN headquarters in New York on 23 September, which is intended to catalyze action and build momentum for a climate agreement in 2015.

“The slogan for the UN conference on Small Developing Island States is island voices, global voices. Island issues affect us all. When we look through the SIDS lens, we see the vulnerabilities we all face and, by addressing the issues facing SIDS, we are developing the tools we need to promote sustainable development across the entire world,” says Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon.

Creating green growth in countries with little or no access to modern and affordable energy sources is challenging to start with – and on top of that, they face energy prices which are among the highest globally. Nevertheless, many SIDS are beginning to develop sustainable energy initiatives in cooperation with the United Nations Environment program in response to the impending climate challenges that the countries face.

“Climate change is robbing island nations of their right to exist. We must save our future together,” says James Michael, President of the Seychelles.

UNRIC's related links:
UNRIC's article on musical culture of small islands
UNRIC's article on risks faced by islands
UNRIC's article on ocean pollution and impact on small islands and developing states


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