Climate Security and Justice for Small Island Developing States – An Agenda for Action

The “Climate Security and Justice for Small Island Developing States Roundtable” focuses on climate change related threats that are most applicable to and most urgent for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Small island states, especially those developing ones are existentially threatened by climate change. Rising sea levels, stronger storms, floods and erosion are threatening to submerge them or make them otherwise uninhabitable or economically unviable in the foreseeable future.

Leaders of several of these countries have already expressed concerns, especially the small islands of the Pacific, about the security of their nations and the future of their populations.

The roundtable discussion focused on climate change related threats that are most applicable to and most urgent for SIDS. These are manifested through increasing vulnerability, development slowing or being reversed, loss of territory, (forced) migration, potential loss of sovereignty and of exclusive economic zones.

Questions asked included:

  • What strategy are the SIDS pursuing in global and regional fora, what are their expectations and what is their “Plan B”?
  • Do all the SIDS share similar challenges, interests and expectations, and who are their main allies and detractors?
  • How can existing legal instruments be used to seek climate justice and what could actually be achieved through them?
  • What economic or other tools do SIDS have to push for their cause?
  • Is migration the ultimate solution, and what repercussions could that have in the respective regions?

In responding to these question the roundtable participants:

  • Considered the threats posed by climate change on small island states, from a security and global justice angle;
  • Compared the perceptions of threat, relative expectations and intensions of small island states and their neighbours;
  • Identified political, legal, economic and other possible ways of dealing with threats posed by climate change on small island states and their neighbours.

In view of the upcoming Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (Samoa, 1-4 September 2014) the discussion and the policy brief that will be subsequently issued aim to make an action-oriented contribution to the discussions, which have climate change featuring prominently on the agenda.

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