Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have been recognized as having unique vulnerabilities and characteristics. They are often geographically isolated, located in regions prone to natural disasters with high population densities and limited natural resources.
These characteristics make SIDS among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with sea-level rise and extreme events threatening their very existence. Thus, for many small island states, climate change is an issue of the viability of their nations. Read more+
Sea-level rise is expected to exacerbate inundation, storm surges, erosion and other coastal hazards, thus threatening vital infrastructure, settlements and facilities that support the livelihood of island communities. Some studies suggest that sea-level rise could lead to a reduction in island size, particularly in the Pacific. Island infrastructure tends to be predominately located in coastal regions, and in the Caribbean and the Pacific more than half the population lives within 1.5 km of the shore.
Most SIDS have limited water supplies, thus making them extremely vulnerable to future changes in the distribution of rainfall. Climate change is likely to have serious impacts on coral reefs and fisheries, which provide substantial contributions to gross domestic product in small island states.
What We Do
With salt water inundation, sea water intrusion into freshwater lenses and changing weather patterns, agriculture will be negatively impacted. Many small island states are already experiencing and suffering the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise. SIDS have unique adaptation challenges, including due to their size and location. Read more+
The GEF adaptation program focuses on the following priority areas of intervention:
- building the resilience of coastal zones in order to help reduce the negative economic impacts of sea level rise
- protecting limited freshwater resources and enhancing the ability of SIDS to augment and more efficiently use water supplies
- enhancing food security, as most SIDs are dependent on imported food and thus with reduced global food production and fluctuating prices, SIDS need to put innovative farming practices in place to address the climate change
- promoting access to insurance, as SIDS will need inventive, state of the art insurance products that will help them to reduce the risks of loss and damage resulting from climate change
- strengthening the systematic observation networks and climate information services
- enhancing capacity to address medium- and long-term adaptation needs, as SIDS need to mainstream adaptation planning into national sustainable development planning, in order to build medium- and long-term resilience to climate change.
The GEF works with SIDS to promote innovative adaptation technologies that can respond to the challenges of climate change. SIDS can be ideal places to demonstrate new technologies and ways of implementing projects and programs. If successful, these approaches can then be replicated and scaled up in other developing countries.
The GEF in Action: Sustaining the Water Supply in St. Kitts and Nevis
The Basseterre Valley aquifer in St Kitts and Nevis produces roughly 2.5 million gallons or 60 percent of the daily consumption of Basseterre City. The IWCAM project applied sound principles of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) to the catchment area. This led to the formulation of a Water Resource Management Plan, including appropriate legislation measures and management policies. A major milestone for the demonstration project occurred when the well-field area of the Basseterre Valley Aquifer (approximately 500 acres) was officially designated a National Park of St. Kitts-Nevis. These activities will all be essential in sustaining a future stable supply of drinking water to Basseterre City.