Coastal communities Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are unique in their position of vulnerability towards ocean-derived risks. They have high levels of exposure and sensitivity to these risks, in part owing to the heavy dependency on the sea for fisheries and tourism – core sectors that support their GDP, livelihoods as well as food security. The situation in these countries is changing rapidly, as is their exposure to different types of risks, and their ability to adapt and respond. The high dependence of many developing countries on tourism and imports and concomitant effects of the current pandemic and tropical cyclone Harold, for instance, are examples of how fragile some of the existing means of livelihood and food security are to external forces.
Through a synthesis of peer-reviewed and grey literature, empirical data, and case studies from SIDS and LDCs, this report describes the prominent biophysical and anthropogenic stressors and their impacts on SIDS and LDCs, highlights the key social-ecological features of SIDS and LDCs that shape their vulnerabilities to these stressors, and suggests potential ways that can support SIDS and LDCs to mitigate ocean risks and build resilience.
Additional reports in this series are Blue acceleration: an ocean of risk and opportunities and Gender dynamics of ocean risk and resilience in SIDS and coastal LDCs.