Build Green Societies in Small Island Developing States: Addressing Key Vulnerabilities

Rationale

© Paul Diamond
Indian Ocean Sandwatch workshop: participants measure longshore currents in Male beach, Seychelles

SIDS are keenly aware of the importance of the marine environment and its resources to their sustainable development and economic stability. However, as highlighted at the 2010 five-year Review of the Mauritius Strategy for Sustainable Development in SIDS, they are faced with increasing vulnerabilities in spite of progress made over past decades. SIDS remain particularly at risk due to their vulnerability to climate change, their relative geographical isolation and small size, and their exposure to global financial and other crises. In order for SIDS to effectively address these vulnerabilities, human, technical, and financial resources are required to develop and implement cross-cutting approaches to the planning and management of the ocean and coasts. For SIDS, as reiterated at PrepCom II, a Green Economy is a Blue Economy.

After all, nearly all SIDS are coastal zones in their entirety. Consequently, ocean, coastal and fisheries-related issues must be given prominence.
SIDS expect Rio+20 to provide support for sustainable ocean development and protection of resources. Measures could include actions to reduce fishing overcapacity, to establish MPAs, enhance and support local coastal management efforts, improve wastewater treatment as well as solid waste management and recycling. Significantly, capacity development could take place through SIDS-SIDS partnerships based on the sharing and consolidation of unique SIDS approaches to coastal management; such as the Pacific Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA) network, the recognition and transmission of local and indigenous knowledge and customary management of the coastal environment, and community participation in scientific coastal monitoring, management and decision-making as practiced in UNESCO’s Sandwatch programme.

Greater understanding is required of the opportunities associated with economic sectors of particular importance to SIDS economies, such as fisheries, tourism, renewable ocean energy, and waste management. Awareness of where the opportunities lie to identify and reinforce appropriate and useful practices in the SIDS context, and – with a point of departure anchored in SIDS – advance the development of green SIDS societies. This, in turn, will contribute towards planning within the global ocean community for a transition from non-sustainable to sustainable approaches. This will help with poverty reduction, food security, and provide long-term benefits.

Main objectives of the Proposal

1. Understand and plan how unique SIDS approaches to ocean, coastal and fisheries management may contribute towards the perpetuation and reinforcement of Green Societies and sustainable development in SIDS. Undertake an analysis of the key vulnerabilities, challenges and opportunities facing SIDS in areas such as fisheries, tourism, water, energy and waste management; as well as the required enabling technological, policy and institutional requirements to enhance Green Societies in SIDS.

2. Develop plans for capacity building, technology transfer and interregional SIDS-SIDS exchanges in support of strengthened ICZM and ecosystem based management in SIDS, that recognise and build upon endogenous institutions and practices.

3. Provide and strengthen SIDS access to global databases, establish national data management systems, and promote innovative and cost-effective technologies, including community-based observing and management systems, with technology transfer to and between SIDS.

4. Identify and develop sustainable financing plans for SIDS, including though public-private partnerships.

Expected results

A clear plan to address the particular vulnerabilities of SIDS, including their finite natural resource base, while supporting the attainment of sustainable development targets by contributing to poverty reduction, climate change adaptation and environmental management. This work will identify how knowledge relating to science, technology and innovation alongside local and indigenous knowledge can assist in the building of Green Societies. Particular emphasis will be placed on reducing and addressing environmental degradation in SIDS, and on providing economic opportunities from appropriate technologies in areas such as local coastal and marine management, waste reduction, water supply and sanitation, fisheries, and ocean-based renewable energy production.

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