19 Jun 2019 - 27 SIDS have come together in a bid to manage and eliminate toxic chemicals and waste in some of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems.
19 Jun 2019 - Twenty-seven Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have come together in a bid to manage and eliminate toxic chemicals and waste in some of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems under a new initiative announced on 13 June in Washington DC.
Backed by $61 million in funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), with partner co-financing of over $389 million, the Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemical Development in Small Island Developing States program – or "ISLANDS" – will support island states across the Caribbean, the Pacific, and the Indian Ocean to manage the growing impacts of chemicals and wastes on their unique environments.
Addressing the 56th GEF Council meeting in Washington DC, GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii highlighted the ISLANDS program as “one of the exciting programs to address emerging issues which require immediate action through the creation of effective platforms.”
Ms. Ishii said that while environmental challenges were growing, the world's ability to address them was also becoming stronger, presenting “an historic opportunity to come together to make a difference".
While their small size, relative isolation and unique biodiversity place many SIDS amongst the world’s most sought-after tourist destinations – with the sector representing more than 30 per cent of SIDS' total exports – they are also especially vulnerable to environmental threats.
In the Caribbean for example, the approximately 75 million nights the island is visited by tourists per year are estimated to generate as much as 166 million tons of waste annually. Meanwhile, economic development and growing populations are squeezing many islands’ natural resources, straining waste management infrastructure and putting pressure on the fragile ecosystems – like beaches, reefs, and other coastal resources – that the islands rely on to survive.
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