Vaccinations and COVID-19 Funding for Small Island Developing States

 

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  • To navigate the pages of the dashboard, click on the page navigation at the bottom of the dashboard <  > to activate the pop-out menu. 

  • The first two pages of the dashboard shows data related to COVID-19 vaccines (at least one dose), followed by data on COVID-19 related funding by international partners and thereafter individual country profiles. 

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US$4 billion has  been  spent by international partners to support Small Island Developing States in tackling COVID-19 

 

Funding by international partners to tackle COVID-19

By April 2021

  • US$4 billion had been spent by international partners to support Small Island Developing States (SIDS), an increase of US$3.9 billion from August 2020. 
  • 6% of COVID-19 related spending for developing countries was spent on Small Island Developing States, an increase of 2% from August 2020.

 

Vaccines

By 29 April 2021

  • Only 0.7% of global COVID-19 vaccine doses (counted as a single dose or more) have been administered in the Small Island Developing States
     
  • 27% of the combined population of SIDS have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (19 million people).
     
  • For every 1,000 people living in SIDS, 273 have received a vaccine dose.
     

There is a stark gap between vaccination roll out in different countries. Several wealthy countries have secured enough doses to vaccinate their populations multiple times over. On the other hand, some of the poorest and most vulnerable countries including those which are least developed, landlocked and small islands have yet to administer a single vaccine dose. LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS are primarily relying on the COVAX vaccine sharing arrangement to provide two billion doses by the end of 2021.

Debt

The combination of shocks in SIDS is severe and many are quickly moving from a liquidity to a solvency crisis. Continued reduction in revenue for SIDS will urgently require international action.  

While revenues collapse, debt servicing costs to developed countries and private companies are hindering essential government spending in SIDS, forcing an untenable choice between salaries and debt servicing in the midst of a global pandemic.  

Only 6% of the COVID-19 funding by the international community for developing countries has been spent on SIDS. There is a real concern that COVID-19 is stretching national budgets to breaking point and forcing countries to choose between paying external debts, responding to the epidemic or bracing for the next hurricane.  

The GDP of SIDS was likely to shrink by 4.7% in 2020, 50% more than the predicted global contraction of around 3%. The Bahamas, Maldives, Seychelles and Palau were expected to shrink by 8% or more, making the current crisis the worst in recorded history.  

SIDS economies are small and vulnerable to external shocks, and many already struggle with high debt burdens. The external debt of SIDS as a group accounts for 72.4% of their GDP on average, reaching up to 200% in the Seychelles and the Bahamas according to UNCTAD. 

Many rely on tourism for large shares of their income or remittances from other economies that are now in lockdown. SIDS face substantial challenges across sustainable development resulting from the pandemic and related policy responses around the world. Urgent support, including financial, technical and material, is needed from the international community.  

A debt crisis would dramatically set back sustainable development globally, but especially in the SIDS.  

 

 

Climate

COVID-19 may have put a pause on many things, but not on climate change. Carbon emissions are quickly returning to pre-COVID levels, and greenhouse gas concentrations have reached new record highs, according to the latest  United in Science report.   
  

In 2019, 12 of the 15 countries with the highest vulnerability to natural hazards were LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. 

SIDS as a group, by their very nature, are especially vulnerable to extreme weather. This is a group that is also ill-equipped to handle yet another major crisis like COVID-19. 

The massive economic contraction will lead to significant increases in poverty and undermine the ability of SIDS economies to withstand natural disasters.  

Cyclone Harold, which devastated four Pacific Island nations in 2020, exposed the extreme vulnerability of these economies as pandemic-induced quarantines and lockdowns impeded the delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance.  

The need to continuously finance recovery from recurring extreme weather events severely hampers the ability of vulnerable countries to address additional shocks. Recovery from tropical cyclones often takes years or decades. For example, Hurricane Dorian in September 2019 caused an estimated USD$3.4 billion in damage to the Bahamas, the government estimated it would take at least five budget cycles to return to pre-Dorian levels of debt.

Tourism

The measures put in place to contain the spread of the pandemic have taken a heavy toll on the tourism sector. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that COVID-19  will result in a contraction of the tourism sector  by up to 30% in 2020. 

SIDS are especially dependent on the tourism sector. The Seychelles in 2018, tourism contributed an estimated 67% to its GDP as well as indirectly and directly hired 67% of the workforce (WTTC 2018). 

Overall, travel and tourism in SIDS is worth some $30 billion per year. According to UNCTAD, a decline in tourism receipts by 25% will result in a $7.4 billion or 7.3% fall in GDP. The drop could be significantly greater in some of the SIDS, reaching 16% in the Maldives and Seychelles.

Health

SIDS are highly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 both to the potentially devastating impacts on human health and to the broader social and economic effects of the virus and containment policies.  

According to a recent policy brief by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the reported number of COVID-19 related deaths per 100,000 people is higher in SIDS compared to other developing country groups and regions, including LDCs and LLDCs.

The icon of the lightbulb How to use the dashboard? 
  • To navigate the pages of the dashboard, click on the page navigation at the bottom of the dashboard <  > to activate the pop-out menu. 
  • The first four pages of the dashboard shows data related to the country group and thereafter the individual country profiles. 
  • The dashboard can be shared using the social media icons on the bottom right-hand corner of the dashboard. 
  • To view the dashboard in full screen mode, click the double arrow at the bottom right-hand corner of the dashboard.