Climate change is an existential threat in Small Developing Island States (SIDS) in Asia. Asian SIDS are characterized by their particular vulnerability to sea level rise and subsequent inundation and coastal erosion. For example, a sea level rise of even a meter would cause the loss of the entire land area of Maldives, as over 80% of its land area is less than one meter above mean sea level. The Asian SIDS face risk factors including extreme weather events, deforestation, soil erosion due to sub-prime agricultural practices, and tropical cyclones. Overall temperature and mean rainfall is increasing, while dry seasons are projected to be drier.
This will compound underlying trends of increasing pressure on scarce land resources, and increase physical vulnerability of island populations, infrastructure and livelihood assets. Especially, rural SIDS communities often become isolated when roads and bridges get washed away by localized extreme events. Also, given that the coral reefs surrounding the islands support their tourism and fisheries upon which the island populations depend on almost exclusively, the economic ramification for such threats is profound. Particularly those living in the remote interior of the countries and highly exposed coastal areas suffer more from infrastructure destruction and disrupted water supply.
Therefore, the demand in the region is increasingly growing for improved understanding of climate variability and change induced threats at country level and target industries. Another area of interest is developing systematic adaptation planning within relevant development sectors to protect vulnerable social and environmental assets and natural resources.
Learn more about UNDP's Support to Small Island Developing States.
Sources: Timor-Leste Project Identification Form (PIF), GEF, 2011; Maldives Project Document, UNDP; Review of Current and Planned Adaptation Action: South Asia, Adaptation Patnership/International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2011.