UNU-WIDER the challenge of Small Island Developing States.

Author:Naude, Wim
Position:United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research - Report
 
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The Challenge of Small Island Developing States

A vital part of WIDER's research agenda has in recent years focused on the challenges faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS)--a group of countries and territories often neglected in the mainstream development discourse. Understanding the challenges faced by SIDS is important, particularly given the impact of global crises and natural disasters on their development prospects. In many ways, SIDS are bearing the brunt of crises in climate, food and finance and their responses and efforts at building resilience may provide valuable lessons for other countries and regions. In this article, we provide a brief overview based on three journal special issues and sections emanating from the WIDER research project on Fragility and Development, dealing with the core concerns of SIDS.

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A Diverse Group

SIDS is a diverse group in a number respects--in fact the United Nations currently classifies 52 countries and territories as Small Island Developing States (SIDS). More than 50 million people live in these countries. Forty-three of them are located in the Caribbean and the Pacific regions. The group includes countries that are relatively rich by developing country standards, such as Singapore and Bahamas, but also some of the poorest countries in the world, including Comoros, Haiti, Kiribati and Timor-Leste.

As Figure 1 shows (comparing GDP per capita in the Caribbean and Pacific) that, GDP per capita ranges from $US 28,000 in Singapore to only $US 369 in the Comoros.

As Figure 1 shows (comparing GDP per capita in the Caribbean and Pacific) that, GDP per capita ranges from $US 28,000 in Singapore to only $US 369 in the Comoros. Caribbean Bahamas 18,380 Barbados 17,297 Trinidad & Tobago 14,603 St. kitts & Nevis 13,307 Antigua & Barbuda 12,500 Dominican Rep. 8,217 Grenada 7,843 Suriname 7,722 Caribbean 7,722 Belize 7,109 St. Lucia 6,707 St. Vincent & Grenadines 6,568 Dominica 6,393 Guyana 4,508 Jamaka 4,291 Halti 1,663 Pacific Tonga 8,177 Samoa 6,170 Fiji 6,049 Vanuatu 3,225 Pacific 2,894 PNG 2,563 Solomon Islands 2,031 Marshall Islands 1,970 Kiribati 1,475 (Source: adapted from Naude, McGillivray and Santos-Paulino, eds. Vulnerability in Developing Countries, Chapter 10). Note: Table made from bar graph. Sharing a Common Vulnerability to External Shocks

Despite this, all SIDS are vulnerable to economic shocks and natural hazards to a degree that few other countries or regions...

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