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Islands of Climate Ambition

Small island states such as Fiji and Jamaica are using innovative approaches to tackle the existential threat posed by climate change. Developed countries must do more to help them and other islands – including by leading the global effort to mobilize climate finance.

KINGSTON/SUVA – Small island developing states like ours are barometers of the world’s commitment to climate action and sustainable development. Our economies and societies thrive when national ambitions and progress are supported by bold global action. However, global inaction on climate change is threatening our way of life, development achievements, and growth prospects, and jeopardizing our efforts to adapt to global warming.

The existential threat posed by climate change has spurred us, the leaders of two island states, to take decisive action in our own countries. And we urge leaders of developed countries to do more to help us and other islands combat global warming – starting at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on September 23.

Although small islands bear the least responsibility for climate change, we stand to lose the most as a result of its effects, owing partly to our small size and fragile economies. In addition, our populations, critical infrastructure, and key economic assets are highly exposed to extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and other hazards. The recent destruction wrought by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas is the latest example of how vulnerable small island states are.

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