Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

Small island developing States are particularly vulnerable to climate change, climate variability and sea-level rise. As their population, agricultural land and infrastructure tend to be concentrated in the coastal zone, any rise in sea-level will have significant and profound effects on their economies and living conditions. For some low-lying SIDS, their very survival is threatened. Global climate change may damage coral reefs, alter the distribution of zones of upwelling and affect both subsistence and commercial fisheries production. Furthermore, it may affect vegetation, saline intrusion and may adversely affect freshwater resources. The increased frequency and intensity of the storm events that may result from climate change will also have profound effects on both the economies and the environments of small island developing States. The basic principles and specific actions that are required at the national, regional and international levels to support sustainable development in small island developing states in the area of climate change are outlined in Chapters 1 of the BPoA and MSI.

Thirty eight SIDS have ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Due to their status as Least Developed Countries (LDCs), eleven SIDS have also submitted National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA). Additionally both the Kyoto Protocol and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer have been ratified by thirty eight SIDS.