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World - Small Island Developing States Do Not Have the Luxury of Time

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned Small Island Developing States (SIDS) economies and livelihoods on end.

Many of these island states depend heavily on tourism to drive their development. With international travel severely restricted this year as well as global supply chains disrupted, economic contractions of up to 15 percent are predicted.

SIDS, while individually distinct, share a set of common social, economic and environmental characteristics making them a unique case for sustainable development. This puts them in a particularly difficult position to face the COVID-19 pandemic and its ripple effects on socio-economic welfare.  

They are also at the frontlines of climate change. Since 1970 it is estimated that SIDS have lost US$153 million to climate-related events. As a result, many also struggle with exceedingly high debt-to-GDP ratios, threatening their capacity to withstand these compounding crises.

Despite these challenges, island leaders have shown no lack of ambition to recover better and safeguard progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. They are at the forefront of climate action, appealing for enhanced global ambitions and efforts ahead of COP26. The unambiguous message coming from island leaders is that time is not a luxury they have.

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