Small island developing States are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In addition to susceptibility to natural disasters, they face the prospect of inundation from rising sea levels, loss of land due to coastal erosion, and contamination of agricultural land due to saltwater intrusion. Low-lying atolls are especially at risk, some from complete submersion.
Because their ecosystems are fragile and their resources limited, SIDS are devising strategies for adapting to climate change as part of a broader framework of sustainable development, with support from DESA. The department organizes workshops to assess the vulnerability of island nations and propose measures to enhance environmental and economic resilience.
Aside from coordinating international follow-up to the 1994 Barbados Programme of Action on SIDS, and Mauritius Strategy of Implementation, DESA is host to the UN Inter-agency Consultative Group on SIDS whose goal is to harmonize efforts across the UN system. DESA also maintains SIDSNet, an online service that raises awareness, promotes capacity building, facilitates information sharing, and coordinates action on the big issues faced by small islands.