13 November 2013

Small Islands Demand U.N. Protection

Sea level rise threatens Raolo island in the Solomon Islands. Credit: Catherine Wilson/IPS
Sea level rise threatens Raolo island in the Solomon Islands. 
Credit: Catherine Wilson/IPS

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 11 2013 (IPS) - Threatened by rising seas, some of the world’s small island developing states (SIDS) are demanding that the U.N.’s new set of Sustainable Development Goals place a high priority on the protection of oceans and marine resources.

A growing number of SIDS, including Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Maldives, Tonga, Nauru and Kiribati, are making a strong case for a stand-alone goal for the protection of oceans in the post-2015 development agenda known as the SDGs, which is currently under discussion.

Hassan Hussain Shihab, first secretary of the Maldives diplomatic mission to the U.N., told IPS that oceans are a priority for the Indian Ocean island nation, whose 339,000 citizens are threatened by sea-level rise.

“The establishment of an SDG dedicated to oceans is critical to Maldives as the oceans are our source of life, livelihood and the identity of the people,” he said.

Covering more than 70 percent of our planet’s surface, he said, oceans play a key role in supporting life on earth.


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