Small island developing States remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities to climate change and sea-level rise continue to pose a significant risk to small island developing States and their efforts to achieve sustainable development and, for some, represent the gravest threat to their survival and viability.
Small Island Developing States is widely recognized as heavily exposed to natural hazards including floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. Although there is a high level of uncertainty related to the projected impacts of climate change, it is overall anticipated that this exposure will increase over the coming decades. For example, it is expected that climatic changes will raise ocean and land temperatures, intensify tropical cyclones and increase storm surges in Pacific Islands Countries (PICs). This will adversely impact agriculture, fisheries, coastal zones, water resources, health, and ecosystems and thus threaten entire communities and economies. People and economies in the Small Island Developing States are particularly vulnerable to hazard and climate change impacts because of geographical remoteness and isolation, dispersion across a large area of the Small Island Developing States, economic and social challenges and the degradation of natural resources. Vulnerability to extreme climate events is also increasing due to population growth and migration (internal and external), poor coastal development and land use planning, unplanned urban growth, and water and ecosystem degradation including pollution of sub-surface and coastal waters.
Roads, ports and airports are among the region’s vulnerable infrastructure assets in the Small Island Developing States. This is because in many vulnerable countries, like Tuvalu, critical transport infrastructure is adjacent to the coast. In some areas, primary roads are less than one meter above sea-level, and the majority of the population lives within one kilometer of the sea. In addition, securing budget for maintenance is a challenge, often leading to neglect in maintenance, making transport assets even more vulnerable to extreme weather events. Transport networks and their respective users already suffer regular temporary breaks of serviceability – sometimes for hours, but occasionally longer – as vulnerable links or locations can be frequently rendered impassible due to flooding, debris deposit, culvert, and bridge and/or pavement damage. This impacts in particular access to critical infrastructure (e.g. hospitals, schools, and power plants) and services. Expected climate change effects will place coastal assets and communities at an even higher level of risk.
Small Island States are a group of 39 countries that share small sizes, geographic isolation, and a high vulnerability to shocks. They include two thirds of the countries that suffer the highest relative losses due to natural disasters (between 1 and 9 percent of their Gross Domestic Product each year). These costs are being further exacerbated by climate change. The recurrent losses caused by disasters and climate variability create a
‘leaking bucket’ effect that undermines growth and adds to national debt. Jamaica’s economic growth, for example, could have approached 4 percent per year in the absence of tropical cyclones—instead, it experienced an average of 0.8 percent growth over the last 40 years. Resilience is therefore at the core of the Small Island States development challenges. Small Island States have consistently called for adequate, predictable and more effective financing to help them address their unique vulnerabilities and the rising challenge of climate change. The Small Island States Resilience Initiative (SISRI) was designed to specifically respond to these needs.
During COP21 in Paris leaders from Small Island Developing States had called for limiting global average temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels to ensure their survival. The global agreement committed to holding the increase in temperature to well below 2°C. In addition to the increasing temperature trends, recent El Niño event contributed to hottest year on record, drought in many Small Island Developing States, intense cyclones and storm surges in many Small Island Developing States. It was thus no surprise that the first 14 countries to ratify the Paris agreement were Small Island Developing States. Addressing the impacts of climate change and disasters, enhancing resiliency of the people, economies and ecosystems is becoming increasingly urgent for the small island states.
Supporting climate and disaster resilient development in Small Island Developing States is a priority for the European Union,
Global Bank and DRRRF, the OECD and the members of its Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Small Island States Resilience Initiative (SISRI) Big Challenge The Global Bank Group notes with grave concern the significant gap between the aggregate effect of mitigation pledges by parties in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with having a likely chance of holding the increase in global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, or 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
The Global Bank Disaster Risk Reduction and Reconstruction Fund – An Umbrella Trust Fund will support for the efforts of small island developing States:
To build resilience to the impacts of climate change and to improve their adaptive capacity through the design and implementation of climate change adaptation measures appropriate to their respective vulnerabilities and economic, environmental and social situations; To improve the baseline monitoring of island systems and the downscaling of climate model projections to enable better projections of the future impacts on small islands; To raise awareness and communicate climate change risks, including through public dialogue with local communities, to increase human and environmental resilience to the longer-term impacts of climate change; To address remaining gaps in capacity for gaining access to and managing climate finance. The Global Bank and the Global Bank Disaster Risk Reduction and Reconstruction Fund – An Umbrella Trust Fund recognize that the phasing out of ozone-depleting substances is resulting in a rapid increase in the use and the release into the environment of hydrofluorocarbons with a high potential for global warming. The Global Bank and the DRRRF supports the gradual phasing down of the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons. Disaster risk reduction The Global Bank and the Global Bank Disaster Risk Reduction and Reconstruction Fund – An Umbrella Trust Fund recognize that small island developing States continue to grapple with the effects of disasters, some of which have increased in intensity and some of which have been exacerbated by climate change, which impede their progress towards sustainable development. The Global Bank and DRRRF also recognize that disasters can disproportionately affect small island developing States and that there is a critical need to build resilience, strengthen monitoring and prevention, reduce vulnerability, raise awareness and increase preparedness to respond to and recover from disasters.
In consideration of the special case of small island developing States and their unique and particular vulnerabilities, we are committed to supporting their efforts:
To gain access to technical assistance and financing for early warning systems, disaster risk reduction and post-disaster response and recovery, risk assessment and data, land use and planning, observation equipment, disaster preparedness and recovery education programmes, including under the Global Framework for Climate Services, and disaster risk management; To promote cooperation and investment in disaster risk management in the public and private sectors; To strengthen and support contingency planning and provisions for disaster preparedness and response, emergency relief and population evacuation, in particular for people in vulnerable situations, women and girls, displaced persons, children, older persons and people with disabilities; To implement the Hyogo Framework for Action and work for an ambitious renewed international framework for post-2015 disaster risk reduction that builds on previous achievements, prioritizes prevention and mitigation and incorporates implementation frameworks to address implementation gaps if and when they exist; To mainstream policies and programmes related to disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and development, as appropriate; To harmonize national and regional reporting systems, where applicable, to increase synergies and coherence; To establish and strengthen risk insurance facilities at the national and regional levels and place disaster risk management and building resilience at the centre of policies and strategies, where applicable;
To increase participation in international and regional disaster risk reduction initiatives.
To learn more about the
Global Bank Disaster Risk Reduction and Reconstruction Fund, What we do and How we do it and Management and Organization, visit the About DRRRF and the Frequently Asked Questions Section of the DRRRF Website Section.
For more information about the Global Bank, what we do and how we do it, please go to the
section of the Global Bank Website. About Us http://www.global-bank.org