UN report warns small island developing states increasingly vulnerable
2 December – Small island developing states (SIDS), which rely heavily on agriculture, forestry and fisheries exports, are increasingly threatened by a combination of fluctuating commodity prices and trade regulations and the potentially disastrous results of climate change, according to a new United Nations report released today.
"The situation of Small Island Developing States continues to be one of exposure and growing vulnerability due to new challenges and emerging economic, social and ecological issues," the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says in the report.
"In a rapidly changing world, new challenges are emerging which need a harmonized approach to help SIDS adapt to the trade environment and seek opportunities to diversify their agricultural systems," FAO adds.
Many SIDS are increasingly dependent on food imports and the rates of nutrition-related health problems are on the rise. Climate change, including a rising sea level and vulnerability to natural disasters such as hurricanes are of particular concern, according to the report.
In addition, it is estimated that as a result of global warming sea levels will increase by half a meter by 2100, thus severely threatening islands and low-lying coastal states. Global warming is also likely to lead to an increase in maximum tropical cyclone wind speeds and lower central pressures, leading to more damaging storm surges, the report says.
The report coincides with a side event on SIDS hosted by FAO today in Rome to provide Agriculture Ministers and other high-level officials from Member States with the latest developments regarding the implementation of the Barbados Plan of Action on Sustainable Development of SIDS, adopted in 1994 at a global UN conference.
A UN conference in Mauritius to be held between 30 August and 3 September 2004 will review the implementation of the Barbados Plan of Action and reflect on a long-term vision.
have been facing
a series of problems
such as narrow resource
to natural hazards,
high external debt,
difficulties in conforming
to sanitary and phyto-sanitary
of forest and marine
resources, high population
growth and mobility,
limited variety of
scarcity of skilled
manpower and weak