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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Emerging Issues for Small Island Developing States

Publication Year: 2014 Publisher: UNEP


The 2012 UNEP Foresight Process on Emerging Global Environmental Issues primarily identified emerging environmental issues and possible solutions on a global scale and perspective. In 2013, UNEP carried out a similar exercise to identify priority emerging environmental issues that are of concern to the Small Island Developing States (SIDS). For the purposes of the UNEP SIDS Foresight Process, an emerging environmental issue is defined as any positive or negative issue that is: critical to achieving sustainable development in the SIDS; related to any of the three dimensions of sustainable development—environment, social and economic—but should have particular relevance to the environment dimension; recognized as very important by the SIDS, but has not yet received adequate attention from the policy community. The definitions of very important and adequate attention are left open to participants in the foresight exercise; evidence-based, including scientific and traditional sources of knowledge; recognized as ‘emerging’ based on newness, which can be as a result of new knowledge; new scales or accelerated rates of impact; or a heightened level of awareness.