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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Our Planet

Publication Year: 2014 Publisher: UNEP


Year, 2014, was chosen as the International Year of Small Island Developing States in recognition of the need to see the escalating environmental crises facing
these countries as a global challenge. How small island developing states (SIDS)
respond to threats such as sea level rise, freshwater scarcity and biodiversity loss, and the degree of support they receive, is indicative of how we, collectively, will adapt to a host of climate change impacts in the coming decades.
The world’s 52 SIDS boast a variety of endemic species, biodiversity and indigenous knowledge that make them mainstays of our planetary
SIDS produce less than one per cent of global greenhouse gases, yet they are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including
coastal erosion, coral bleaching, ecosystem destruction, and adverse effects on crops and fisheries. SIDS are also disproportionately affected by natural disasters. The cumulative cost of disasters to SIDS’ economies over the
past two decades has been as high as 90 per cent oGDP, reversing years of development gains.
Climate-change-induced sea level rise in IDS continues to be the most pressing threat
to their environmental and socioeconomic development.