In view with the previous blog post on the same topic, we have discussed the alarming situation that all small islands are facing. We have discussed the impact of climate change on these islands and how their flora and fauna have been affected. Since, SIDS have taken up the responsibility to support small islands and work towards making more efforts to create a better future for those islands. In this blog post, we are going to talk about how each island is adapting to change and what is their stand to fight climate change. We ended with Mauritius and how they have started their fight against climate change and how the government is helping in making Mauritius, a green island.
This archipelago of approximately 80 volcanic islands is located off the north-eastern coast of Australia. With a population of approximately 22,100 individuals, this island is predominantly rural and relies on agriculture, tourism, raising livestock, and offshore financial services. With agriculture as one of its main market, Vanuatu climate is considered to be perfect for businesses that concerns coastal, marine resources. Although Vanuatu is one of the lowest greenhouse gas emitters in the world, it is one of the most vulnerable countries when it comes to the impacts of climate change. The frequency and intensity of natural disasters like cyclones, earthquakes and droughts in Vanuatu have increased in recent years. Between 1969 and 2010, Vanuatu has seen an average of two to three cyclones per season. According to the World Risk Report of 2015, Vanuatu was labeled the world’s most ‘at risk’ country to natural hazards in the world. It is believed that natural disasters will affect over a third of the population each year. The Minister for Climate Change has called Vanuatu residents to change their mindset and cope with the impact of climate change, by altering their way people use climate information to shape their daily lives. The government of Vanuatu is aiming to bring this change in the mindset in the next four years. According to a report published by the International Organization for Migration, there will be an up-rise in the number of climate refugees by 2050.
It is surprising to know that according to a study by Oxfam, the most unfortunate portion of the total populace, that is 3.5 billion individuals out of 7.5 billion on the planet, produces only 10% of carbon emissions. The international community need to acknowledge the suffering of these most vulnerable countries as a large scale displacement occurring can have disastrous impacts in the future.
An island nation that has solid development goals in order to fight climate change. Fiji is planning to introduce one of the world’s most ambitious legislative programs to tackle the climate crisis and has decided to label the global community’s decision to set aside the call for global heating to be capped at 1.5 degree Celsius as grossly irresponsible and selfish. Fiji along with other small island nations, are at risk when it comes to climate change as the Pacific Islands are more at risk. It is believed that more than 10 million people could be displaced due climate change by 2050. Fiji, like all Pacific Island states, faces challenges in fully implementing government policies due to limited technical, human resource and financial capacities. Support for adaptation and resilience-building, especially for the most vulnerable nations, is a priority. Home to over 870,000 people in the central South Pacific Ocean, Fiji’s 300 volcanic islands include low-lying atolls, that are highly susceptible to cyclones and floods. Thus Fiji is no stranger to the devastation wrought by climate change. Sea flooding is usually associated with the passage of tropical cyclones close to the coast. However, heavy swells, generated by deep depressions and/or intense high pressure systems some distance away from Fiji have also caused flooding to low-lying coastal areas.
Is There Enough Support and Help for These Islands?
The SIDS was set up in order to help these small island nations to meet up and discuss on how each country is coming together to sensitize its populace with climate change. Islands are among the world’s most ambitious countries in terms of renewable energy adoption with a number of them already striving towards making these renewable power energy generation a reality. The UN is helping these small islands in doing so by implementing the UNDP program. This program has different goals that need to be achieved before a specific year. There is a gap of 5 to 10 years for each UNDP goals. Seychelles is committed to the 100% renewable goal, which is confirmed by the Minister of Environment of Seychelles. The Maldives is transforming their energy system by adopting renewable energy by rejecting the diesel power. From valuing and managing their natural resources, to putting the right incentives in place to switch to renewable energy, SIDS are leading the blue-green economy transition. The third international conference on SIDS in Samoa, they reaffirmed their commitment to advancing national sustainable development goals in front of a global audience. What they need from the rest of the world is the solidarity, technologies, and resources to act on that commitment on a scale that will radically change their fortunes.
It is hoped that the new international climate change agreement currently being negotiated, and which will be adopted at the Paris conference in 2015, might help to relieve some of their economic burden of adapting to the impacts of climate change, while also reducing the severity of the impacts by reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
Supporting SIDS on this journey of transition provides an unprecedented opportunity to be part of game-changing socioeconomic solutions that can be applied in broader contexts and bigger economies.