Wednesday 28th September 2016                 Change text size:

Small island states threatened by rising sea levels call for sustainability



caribbean island by James Willamor via flickr

Leaders of small island states are to seek investment in renewable energy projects and sustainable food production facilities to gain an economic overhaul at a UN climate summit next week.

The summit will take place on September 1 in Samoa, located in the Pacific. Leaders will hope to gain significant interest from companies, development banks and donations on projects that will not only develop job markets, but also promote the sustainability of the oceans – which currently threaten its island inhabitants.

Multiple islands are already engaged in efforts to prepare for the repercussions of rising sea levels. Recently, authorities on the Solomon Islands have mobilised plans to relocate 1,000 people to an alternative town on a new island as its shores disappeared to the sea. Similarly, inhabitants of the Pacific island Kiribati have also had to purchase land in Fiji in order to escape climate change.

The head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner, told Reuters this week that, “Beaches were disappearing, hotels and port facilities having to move – it is for some countries a very frightening outlook.” 

Island leaders attending the summit will be particularly interested in developing fisheries, promoting eco-tourism at the islands and shifting their energy reliance from imported diesel to wind and solar projects.

Official reports have highlighted a failure on the part of developed nations in curbing global carbon emissions, as well as failing to deliver promised aid to these islands that are directly affected by its consequences.

A recent report has also emphasised the catastrophic risk that rising sea levels pose to coastal megacities, including New York and Shanghai, if the world’s ice sheets and glaciers continue to melt.

Photo source: James Willamor via flickr

Further Reading:

Soloman Islands town to relocate 1,000 people to escape climate change

Pacific island Kiribati buys land in Fiji to escape climate change

Melting Antarctica poses risk to coastal megacities

Marshall Islands minister: 2015 climate agreement ‘a matter of life or death’

World Refugee Day: campaign demands help for ‘human face of climate change’


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