Adaptation on Small Islands

Small Island nations, often referred to as Large Ocean States (LOS) or Small Island Developing States (SIDS), constitute a group of 38 United Nations (UN) Member States and 20 Non-UN Member/Associate Members distributed across three regions: the Caribbean, the Pacific, and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and South China Seas (AIMS). Collectively, these islands are home to approximately 65 million people. Despite their small size and remote locations, Small Islands encompass some of the world’s most vulnerable states that are acutely exposed to the dual challenges of climate change and development shocks. They are on the frontlines of the climate emergency and understand the urgency and scale of climate adaptation to secure their survival.  

Their unique circumstances often mean they are highly susceptible to weather related natural hazards, climate change impacts, disasters, and global economic instabilities. In addition, these issues are often compounded with limited domestic revenues and constrained borrowing opportunities, which can result in many of these states facing significant obstacles when attempting to invest in resilient development, severely hampering their growth prospects (OECD).  

The pressures of climate change further exacerbate existing developmental pressures, such as rapid urbanization. Finite water resources and slow-onset disasters also threaten the vulnerable habitats of Large Ocean States' due to their limited land areas and ocean-based economies. Global warming and sea levels rise are expected to result in increased salination of soil and groundwater, further reducing the availability of freshwater, degrading water quality, and increased drought.  

Large Ocean States have sovereign authority over large areas of the world’s oceans. However, tourism and fishing economies are threatened by climate change due to its impact on the oceansoxygen levels and temperature. This could have an adverse effect on local biodiversity and marine ecosystems. 

The WAC Community of Practice for Island Adaptation will deliver dialogue exchanges, webinars, and other knowledge-sharing initiatives to support learning across networks and geographies. 

The Water Adaptation Community is a supporting partner of the International Panel on Deltas and Coasts (IPDC) . Through its involvement in the ‘action holder’ layer of the IPDC, one of the three key layers of the panel, this partnership aims to foster innovative solutions, insights, and knowledge sharing via the WAC’s Communities of Practices. Together, the IPDC and the Water Adaptation Community strive to cultivate resilience and foster sustainable water management practices in deltas globally. 


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Small Islands



Webinar: The climate emergency on Small Islands – challenges and opportunities

05/07/2023 - 14:00 to 15:30

 The climate emergency on Small Islands – Challenges and Opportunities webinar highlights the unique climate adaptation challenges that small islands face and will share some hands-on opportunities that have proven successful to deal with these challenges.  

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island of fiji

Large Ocean States (Small Islands) Webinar - On the frontlines of the climate emergency

29/11/2022 - 06:00

LOS/Small Islands on the frontlines of the climate emergency - webinar" was held on Tuesday 29 Nov 2022 CET 6.00-7.45  / FJT 17:00-18:45 

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