What are Small Island Developing States (SIDS)?

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More funding is needed to support Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the frontlines of climate change, the UN Secretary-General said recently.

About Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

  • SIDS are a distinct group of 39 States and 18 Associate Members of United Nations regional commissions that face unique social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities.
  • The three geographical regions in which SIDS are located are: the Caribbean, the Pacific, and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea (AIS). 
  • SIDS were recognized as a special case both for their environment and development at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 
  • They are highly vulnerable developing countries as they suffer from low economic diversification, often characterised by high dependence on tourism and remittances, volatility due to fluctuations in private income flows and the prices of raw materials, and debt stress situations.
  • For SIDS, the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)—the ocean under their control—is, on average, 28 times the country’s land mass.
    • Thus, for many SIDS, the majority of the natural resources they have access to come from the ocean.
  • UN Programmes of Action in Support of SIDS:
    • Barbados Programme of Action: In 1994, the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA) prescribed specific actions that would enable SIDS to achieve sustainable development. The Conference also adopted the Barbados Declaration, a statement of political will underpinning the commitments contained in the BPoA.
    • Mauritius Strategy: In 2005, the Mauritius Strategy for further implementation of the BPoA was adopted to address remaining gaps in implementation.
    • SAMOA Pathway (2014): The SAMOA Pathway recognizes the adverse impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on SIDS’ efforts to achieve economic development, food security, disaster risk reduction, and ocean management, among other challenges. 

Q1) What is Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)?

Exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as defined under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), is an area of the ocean extending up to 200 nautical miles (370 km) immediately offshore from a country’s land coast in which that country retains exclusive rights to the exploration and exploitation of natural resources.

Source: UN chief appeals for greater support for small islands fighting climate change