8 surprising facts about
small island developing states
They are small, geographically isolated, and most vulnerable to disasters, climate change and
sea-level rise. Here are 8 things you may not know about small island developing states.
The United Nations first recognized SIDS as a distinct group in 1994, at the first Global
Conference on the Sustainable Development of SIDS held in Barbados. (Pictured: The
international meeting to review progress of the Barbados Program of Action in 2005)
Eighteen of 57 countries and territories classified as small island developing states are highincome economies — with per capita GDP of at least $12,616 — according to the World Bank.
(Pictured: The Merlion of Singapore)
Human development among SIDS is uneven. Whereas Singapore ranks 18th among 187
countries included in the 2013 Human Development Report, Guinea-Bissau is at 176.
(Pictured: Rice farmers in central Guinea-Bissau)
10 SIDS are classified by the United Nations as least developed countries: Comoros, GuineaBissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu,
and Vanuatu. (Pictured: Students and the teachers in Tibar, Timor-Leste)
Several small island states could disappear in the future due to climate change. Antigua, Cook
Islands, Kiribati, the Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Tonga and Tuvalu “may face
serious threat of permanent inundation from sea-level rise,” according to the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (Pictured: North Male' Atoll, Maldives)
Guinea-Bissau and Haiti are among the 10 countries that face “extreme risks” from the
impacts of climate change by 2025, according to the 2014 Maplecroft’s Climate Change and
Environmental Risk Atlas. (Pictured: Locals of Bafata, Bafata, Guinea-Bissau)
Among SIDS, Haiti received the largest foreign aid in 2011, at $1.7 billion, followed by Papua
New Guinea ($610.7 million), the Solomon Islands ($333.8 million), Timor-Leste ($283.8
million) and Cape Verde ($250.8 million). (Pictured: A Haitian shopkeeper)
Tuvalu received the world’s highest per capita official development assistance in 2011, with
$4,323, followed by the Marshall Islands ($1,568), Palau ($1,340) and Micronesia ($1,294).
(Pictured: A Tuvalu schoolgirl)
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