• Himani Nandal


Updated: Feb 2


It is impossible to ignore the grim reality of climate change and the negative effect on our lives. Scientists agree that carbon gases are causing the atmosphere to alternate in such a manner that it is contributing to higher temperatures and global warming. It is the most recent in a long line of environmental factors linked to the human conflict that has been established in the last decade, including drought, desertification, soil erosion, inadequate water sources, fisheries depletion, and even ozone depletion. One example is Australia's forest fire, which was triggered by increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, mostly from fossil fuel combustion, which has resulted in increasingly dangerous but fires, rising sea levels, and fast-rising days where temperatures exceed high levels. Academic security analysts have been warning for some time that climate change affects water and food security, resource distribution, and the coastal community. Threats, which could lead to further forced displacement, increased conflicts, and violence. According to a June 2007 study by the United Nations Environment Program, climate change and environmental depletion have contributed to the conflict in Darfur. Over the last 40 years, rainfall in the area has decreased by 30 per cent, and the Sahara has progressed by more than a mile per year. The ensuing dispute between farmers and herders over dwindling pastures and dwindling water sources explains the origins of the Darfur conflict.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a coalition of 52 countries and territories, mostly islands, named by the United Nations to discuss growth and sustainability issues collectively. Many small islands developing states are remote communities, small in number, and depend on natural resources for a local and paced livelihood, although these countries are among the least responsible for climate change, and they are expected to suffer the most from its adverse effects, and in some cases may become inhabitable. A large number of small island developing countries face various obstacles, and their remoteness affects their ability to be a part of the global supply chain, raises export costs, especially for oil, and reduces their competitiveness in the tourism industry. Many people are becoming more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, ranging from destructive hurricanes to sea-level rise. According to climate forecasts, major climate change and sea-level rise are projected in all regions during the twenty-first century. As a result, the small island developed states face increased difficulties in their attempts to attain sustainable growth. Climate change is expected to have far-reaching impacts on the climate and economic prospects of small island developed nations, as well as on the welfare of the people who live there.


Small island countries are the most vulnerable to climate change, and climate change activities entail significant changes in temperature, rainfall, and/or sea levels. Scientists from all around the world have been discussing the causes of climate change, and based on all of the concerns and analysis, it has been concluded that an increase in greenhouse gas production is one of the primary causes of climate change. The history of climate change is not anything recent, since changes in global climate have been ongoing for a very long time now. The only distinction is that while changes in global climate occurred before, they continued for a very long time, while the latest changes are taken a very short time to reoccur with even further changes. And these dramatic shifts are inextricably linked to human activity-related productivity and consumption.

Climate change is not a hypothetical concept for these islands or the people that call them home; the world is rapidly catching up with them and, in essence, flooding them.

Although global average sea-level rise rates are below three and a half millimeters per year, we have a rare chance to have a glimpse at the future on how we expect the rest of the planet to witness sea level rise by the end of the century. Low-lying coastal areas are often the most densely populated regions of islands, with cities, municipalities, agriculture, housing, and tourism production vying for space; however, coasts are often especially vulnerable to climate disasters and weather events. The Pacific nations are on the frontlines of climate change; spread around the world's largest ocean, these fragile culturally disparate island states are united by similar challenges to their climate. Rising sea levels, shifting climate patterns, more violent tropical cyclones, and warming acidification of coastal waters are all contributing factors. The Pacific Adaptation to climate change initiative has measured the insecurity of fourteen Pacific Island nations and has started to address their needs. Its mission is to strengthen its resistance to climate change by designing adaptation strategies for three critical areas: water, food, and coasts. Coastal areas are the crucible of climate change, with increasing water levels, elevated ocean temperature, and intensified tidal waves all combining to pose significant threats to our conventional relationship with this critical environment. The Pacific's coastal regions are among the most vulnerable in the world, with the majority of inhabitants live in these low elevation areas where land meets water. The Pacific is also a country that relies heavily on coastal zones for shipping and transportation, as well as subsistence and commercial fishing.

The urbanization of the coasts adds to the stresses on this vulnerable region by altering natural drainage flow, causing the seeking of coastal lands, and displacing mangroves and other natural barriers to erosion. Coastal areas are the sole way of entry to the outer world and surrounding nations in small island countries. To supplement efforts on the ground, back is still working to embed climate change adaptation strategies into policy at both the local and national levels, ensuring that sustainable sustainability becomes an integral part of future decision making in the Pacific. Beyond this, the back is converting the experience into a knowledge base that can be used by people facing similar climate change wars.

Climate change affects the poorer communities in the poorest countries first and most deeply, exacerbating any pre-existing economic and political stresses. However, climate change poses both a threat and an opportunity. A low-emission climate change resilience approach will alleviate poverty while still the local economy in the long term. Many small islands' freshwater reserves would be significantly reduced under most future climate-change scenarios. Fresh groundwater occurs on a small island in a focal point-shaped volume of the field surrounded by undrinkable salt water. Increasing ocean levels and decreased precipitation are two effects of climate change that can contribute to the reduction in the scale of this focal point. Rising oceans constrict the freshwater focal point by mixing in seawater at its limits and foundation. Summer precipitation in the Caribbean is expected to be lower. On the Pacific Island of Tarawa, a ten per cent reduction in precipitation by 2050, if it occurs, would result in a twenty per cent decrease in the freshwater focal point. Climate change would have a negative impact on the tourism industry, agriculture, agribusiness, and human well-being. Hotter conditions in coastal oceans, for example, are obliterating coral reefs all around the world. When coral reefs recoil, fish populations and therefore fish catches by island populations plummet dramatically.

The sea level begins to rise at an annual rate of 3mm each year, and although this may seem to be a minor spike, it just tends to worsen. Rising temperatures, glacier melt, ice sheet melt, and changes in land water storage will all contribute to the trend rising to about one meter by 2100. Even at the present pace, we fear losing ten islands that will disappear under rising seas within our lifetimes. The danger of total sinking is very high for those island nations that stand at low altitudes, such as the Maldives, since those islands are created by coral atolls and, in many cases, river deltas. One such live experience is the delta islands of the Sundarbans islands in India, where about 80 square kilometres of land have already disappeared in the last 30 years due to increasing river water levels. And the increasing river levels have been exacerbated by the melting of glaciers upstream of the Himalayas, which is also a result of global warming.

Although small island developing states account for less than 1% of global greenhouse gas pollution and the Pacific islands just a fraction of that, they are and would be adversely impacted by the effects of severe weather. SIDS are known to certain big ocean states, but they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of rising sea levels, which include floods and coastal erosion, among other things, on top of dangers like trade winds and monsoons. These severe weather conditions harm homes and buildings, but most significantly, they jeopardise the livelihoods that you have worked so hard for over the years. However, SIDS' strong partnership with the environment positions them well to provide solutions and they are centres for creativity on resilience and sustainable change, and they can offer innovative innovations and play a significant role in providing climate-smart solutions. At the environment investment funds, we are proud of our sustainability and adaptation fund, which is a demonstration scheme for climate resilience work on SIDS.

These island nations have a lot of potentials, but they face some overwhelming challenges because they are remote, have a high number of unemployed young people, and are vulnerable to rising sea levels and natural disasters without strong partnerships and sustainable development are difficult to achieve, since most small island states have few local outlets, leaving them at the mercy of the glories. Sao Tome, one of Central Africa's small island nations, was once the world's largest cocoa exporter, but the global cocoa price crash in the 1990s destroyed a declining industry and farmers like Rogers almost abandoned the crop. But, 14 years ago, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was working in Sao Tome to revive the island's economy and saw an opportunity in the rapid growth. They invited a French company named Kaoka, which specializes in fair trade organic chocolate, to visit Sao Tome and saw its potential right away. First and foremost, the consistency of Sao Tome's cocoa is very excellent, as is its tradition. So Kaoka collaborated to establish the first farming cooperative on the island, Sea Cab, which provided members with funds and training to grow organically certified high-quality cocoa. Kaoka committed to purchasing all c-care provided at a 40% premium on the traditional market price, resulting in co-operative members increasing in camp by more than 20 times and providing a comfortable life for their families.

The IFAD has now signed new deals with five more European food firms, as these private-public relationships are critical for the future of the island. They allow long-term growth, such as environmental protection, community development, and increased income for citizens. CCAP now has over 2,000 farming families as members, accounting for nearly a fifth of Sao Tome's rural population. Together, they have revitalized the cocoa industry in the country. Not only Sao Tome, but both islands want to revitalize their dwindling industries. Grenada, on the other hand, faces a unique challenge in the Caribbean. There is no sign of hurricane Ivan, which devastated much of the island a decade ago, but agricultural development is only half of what it was. Before Hurricane Ivan, agricultural exports totalled more than $100 million, however, they are now somewhat lower, accounting for less than half of what they were previously. But now, their leaders are attempting to form a new partnership with the goal of changing this situation so that the government of Grenada and the Caribbean Development Bank are collaborating to develop new agricultural markets, with the key being for the people to make better use of what they have. These organizations operating in Grenada assist farmers who grow specific goods and have brilliant ideas in their heads but are unable to gain much, so the organization teaches them business skills, provides financial assistance if desired, and most importantly, assists them in reaching markets outside Grenada's borders. Farmers on both islands must think creatively to develop their markets.

On the other hand, on one of Fiji's islands called Deer Island, people have created their niche based on a much broader theory. Last year, the island's elders proclaimed the deer an organic island, believing that this is the best way to ensure a stable and sustainable future. The most important aspect of this is Kelly Curry to the principal of a local high school, who insists that young people are the answer. Students will learn about organic farming both in and out of the classroom by growing food for their meals using organic techniques. It encourages these students to be more accountable on how they use their money, and they take care of the world and the souls of the environment to get what they need. The people on the island are aware that their organic goods, such as virgin coconut oil, demand a high price on the market. However, they quickly learned that simply being an organic island is not enough; foreign consumers need organic certification, which is much too costly for them. They collaborated with the Pacific Community Secretariat and the Pacific's main organic body, Port Come, to develop another alternative. When communities of farmers gather together, negotiate, and certify together, everything is achieved to a pattern, and in this case, they follow the system of Pacific organic standards; the documents, papers, and everything else is similar to a third-party certification; the distinction here is that they are certifying themselves. To credential themselves, everybody concerned in organics on the island has an eye on each other. Once a month, everybody, including the school administrator, meets to determine when certification can be given. Now the island has progressed to a point where they are negotiating with exporters to sell some of their accredited crudes. All of this contributes to a real reawakening of optimism on these islands, as they seek new opportunities and drive when exporting their cocoa to Europe, and people in Grenada seek new ways to market their herbs abroad. This collaborative effort is critical for these island nations' long-term viability.


To summarise the vulnerabilities faced as a result of climate change by these small island developing states, it has been discovered that their biodiversity is the most impacted. It has been discovered that rising sea levels, major shifts in temperature, and shifts in the amount of rainfall do not have as major an effect on the global scale as much as they do on these small islands. For these small island developing states, the solution lies in economic transition. These small island nations have a small population and lack resources, and therefore don't have segregated primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. Development is limited in these regions, which is why climate change has a severe impact. The developed world is now being forced to take stringent measures to curb climate change because small island countries are bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change as well as the numerous natural disasters that are occurring world over. One of the major moves that the United Nations recently took was to sign the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, which supports the notion that more and more developing nations must work together to combat the crisis because it will affect them all sooner or later. Since establishing a manufacturing base on a small island far from the world market is not a feasible choice, fisheries and agriculture will be the only sources of economic growth in these countries in the future. And these countries have made significant contributions to climate change mitigation, such as the installation of solar planes, the growth of mangroves, the elimination of plastic, and the implementation of stringent anti-climate-change legislation. It is beyond time for every nation to recognize this and work together to save our planet. I'd also like to point out that the influence of climate change transcends borders and is not restricted to small island developing nations. These countries are just the first to bear the brunt of climate change, but it will eventually affect all nations. Nations must recognize that it is time for them to participate not only through legislation but also through financial assistance to small island nations and make efforts to mitigate climate change.

About the author: Himani Nandal is a student of International Affairs, who has a desirous interest in global politics and international security.

Cover image: David Gray/Getty Images

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