The International Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC estimates a one meter sea level rise if global temperatures increase by four degrees Celsius. This could happen by the year 2100 and would render the small island nations of Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu uninhabitable.
The dire situation of low-lying island states has prompted the World Bank Group to announce a Small Island States Resilience Initiative. The Initiative was prompted by the outspoken leaders of the island states who have asked the world for assistance.
“As some of the most threatened people and places on the planet, small island nations are stepping up their efforts to deal with climate change. This Initiative is designed to address the specific needs of small islands and make it easier, faster and simpler to access funding to deal with resilience and climate change,” explains Rachel Kyte, WBG vice president and Special Envoy for Climate Change.
The WBG will also increase its aid to the island states to $190 million from $145 million per year.
Small island developing states have realized that they do not have it within their capacity to prepare themselves for the impending rise in sea level. The increased aid from the World Bank will help preserve the diverse culture, ecosystems and indigenous knowledge that the SIDS hold.
The World Bank Group is not the only organization that recognizes the importance and need of the Small island developing states: many various organizations have donated to projects focused on climate and disaster resilience. However, instead of helping, this has served to overburden the government. Samoa has to manage 14 different projects, while the Solomon Islands is struggling under the load of 22.
“Our hope is that this Initiative will help pool donor resources available now, reduce transaction costs, allow for economies of scale across countries, and above all, lay the ground work for direct country access to global climate fund,” said Kyte.
— Julianne O’Connor