Mr. Wu’s Blog on Climate Change
Climate change is threatening the prospects of sustainable development of SIDS on multiple fronts. It is very much on the minds of delegates and other participants in the ongoing preparations for the SIDS conference. Indeed, at the recent inter-sessional, which saw two rounds of consultations on the zero draft of the outcome document, climate change figured prominently. There is a clear sense that climate change represents a vital threat to human societies and the planet, and that the international community must urgently address it. The global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible cooperation by all countries in an effective global response.
This recognition is in line with the latest IPCC assessment. As far as SIDS are concerned, current and future climate risks include sea-level rise, cyclones, increasing air and sea surface temperatures, and changing rainfall patterns. As a result of these risks, SIDS are likely to face loss of adaptive capacity and ecosystem services that are critical to their lives and livelihoods.
I am confident the SIDS Conference in Apia, Samoa this September will bring about strengthened action and partnerships in support of SIDS’ fight against climate change
UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General
Secretary-General for the Third International Conference on SIDS
Of these risks, sea-level rise is perhaps more broadly associated with the impact of climate change on SIDS, including low-lying coastal areas on islands and atolls. Another impact of climate change on SIDS relates to coral reef. Sea-surface temperature rise will result in increased coral bleaching and reef degradation. Given the dependence of island communities on coral reef ecosystems for a range of services, including coastal protection and subsistence fisheries and tourism, degradation of coral reef ecosystem will have multiple social, economic and environmental impacts.
At Rio+20, the international community stressed once again the unique and particular vulnerabilities of SIDS and their exposure to a large range of impacts from climate change and potentially more frequent and intense natural disasters. I am confident the SIDS Conference in Apia, Samoa this September will bring about strengthened action and partnerships in support of SIDS’ fight against climate change. As one SIDS delegate stated at the inter-sessional, SIDS have consistently taken the leadership on climate action over the last two decades. It is time the international community as a whole step up our response.