Category Archive: Small Island States

A Surprise Ending for Durban (Almost)

Negotiators work on an agreement late into the night, 10 December 2011. (Photo taken by the United Kingdom's Department of Energy and Climate Change)

The Durban conference on climate change ended on a much better note than many expected, but continued to delay the toughest questions for at least three years. The final outcome of the conference, COP-17, is a two-page, breakthrough document called the “Durban Platform for Enhanced Action” […]

UN Security Council debate inches climate and security forward

The United Nations Security Council in a 2006 meeting (Photo courtesy of the United Nations).

Charged meaningless by some and pathetic by others, yesterday’s debate in the United Nations Security Council on the security implications of climate change disappointed the hopes of those in the policy community who, for years, sought action on climate change by the Security Council in absence of any effective multilateral agreement by the United Nations …

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What is an EEZ worth? High stakes in the Pacific, South China Sea

A Korean vessel investigates possible seabed mineral deposits such as copper, silver and gold in Tonga's EEZ, April 2011. (Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SOPAC))

The value of an EEZ is on clear display in the South China Sea dispute and in the Pacific small island states battling the climate change threat. Despite their differences – one carries the weight of changing geopolitics and possible military force; the other, the disappearance of states altogether from the world map – both …

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Climate change and statelessness: When does a state disappear?

Even with the world map turned upside down, the Marshall Islands and other tiny Pacific nations are hard to find. What if climate change alters the map?

Questions of statehood and statelessness are generally laden with controversy and emotion, yet with Pacific islands such as the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) at risk of becoming gradually uninhabitable and entirely submerged under rising seas, along with losing their sovereignty and lucrative marine rights, there is an urgent need for legal solutions. Solutions …

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Nansen, Columbia raise questions about climate displacement solutions

Conference poster for Mixed Migration Roundtables, Tunisia, 2009. Photo courtesy of UNHCR.

As more people worldwide experience increased storm severity, floods and other climate change impacts, policymakers are growing increasingly concerned about climate displacement and searching for legal mechanisms to assist those uprooted from their homes. Two recent conferences examined the issue of climate displacement and debated possible solutions. The first, the UN Refugee Agency’s Nansen Conference …

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Columbia conference asks: What if climate change submerges small island states?

Kwajalein Atoll - Marshall Islands.

Citizens from small island nations in the Pacific Ocean have known for decades that their geographic isolation, heavy coastal infrastructure, population dispersion across many islands, and low-lying atolls only meters above sea level make them the most vulnerable countries to climate change in the world. However, now changes in the global climate are accelerating, and …

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Achieving Progress Without Addressing the Details: Capacity Building Negotiations at Cancun

Underwater cabinet meeting held in the Maldives, to call attention to climate change in small island states. © Divers Association of Maldives

Article by Guest Contributor: Natalie Antonowicz During the second week of the Cancun Conference, developing countries continued to express their unique vulnerability to climate change, and push for increased involvement and assistance from developed countries. Some progress was indeed made on this issue, but concerns remain about the ability of vulnerable states to address climate …

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