Monday, September 15, 2014

Waste Management Perspectives for Saudi Arabia

By Mohammed Alnuwairan, EcoMENA

Solid waste management is a big challenge for the government and local authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The country generates more than 15 million tons of municipal waste each year with vast majority diverted to landfills and dumpsites. Recycling, reuse and energy recovery is still at an early stage, although they are getting increased attention. Recycling rate ranges from 10-15%, mainly due to the existence of the informal sector which extracts recyclables from municipal waste stream.

Waste management issues in the Kingdom can be resolved by creating a healthy general environment specifically targeting the waste sector which may consist of legislation, technology and socio-economic development. The general environment in Saudi waste sector is ineffective and a major stumbling block for private investors and entrepreneurs. The onus should be on national environmental agency and local municipalities to build the desired environment to increase recycling rates and facilitate sustainable waste disposal.

Environment agency and municipalities should have close cooperation and seek assistance from other agencies as and when needed. Limitations of landfill usage should be created that prevent any wastes that could be recycled and take advantage of it. Although it is written clearly in the environment agency directive, the need of essential collaboration with cities’ authorities to apply it is important.

To begin with, the government should have a clear vision and a forward-looking strategy to be used as guidance for any waste management initiative. A good example is that of Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority in United Kingdom which put forward a Zero Waste strategy and then signed a 25-year agreement with a private company to create state-of-the-art recycling and waste management facilities across Greater Manchester across nine cities.

The second step would be to implement strict legislation and tough laws that are in line with the vision and aims of the waste management strategy for domestic as well as commercial sectors. Another critical step is to increase public awareness in order to encourage society’s collaboration towards environment protection and resource conservation. There is a dire need for concerted environmental awareness campaigns involving municipalities, educational institutions, corporate, Islamic scholars, electronic media and social networking sites.

Another key aspect would be to introduce source-segregation in Saudi Arabia so that household waste is collected in two different streams – recyclables and organic. Recyclables can be sent directly to material recovery facilities while organic wastes can be subjected to composting or anaerobic digestion, whatever feasible.

The steps outlined above should help to create a foundation for healthy economic environment in Saudi Arabia, thereby attracting big investment in waste management sector. A methodical introduction of modern waste management techniques like material recovery facilities, waste-to-energy systems and recycling infrastructure can significantly improve waste management scenario and can also generate good business opportunities. To sum up, a good deal of effort is required to improve waste management scenario in Saudi Arabia. Strong legislations, financial support, public awareness, modern technologies and stakeholders’ participation should be the key in transforming Saudi Arabia into a ‘green’ nation. A strong political commitment and unflinching public support is mandatory for implementing a sustainable waste management strategy in the country.

Waste Management Perspectives for Saudi Arabia

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Groups Slam 'Corporate Takeover' of UN Climate Summit, Call for System Change

Representing over 200 million people around the world, groups declare: "To deal with the crisis, we must address the root causes and change the system"

Ahead of the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, which trumpets itself as an event to "catalyze ambitious action," grassroots organizations from around the world are warning that the global gathering, in fact, has been hijacked by corporations that are pursuing "false promises" and "exploiting the tragedy of climate change."

"The undersigned social movements that all together represent more than 200 million people around the world, denounce [the] corporate takeover of the UN and the climate negotiations process and call for a deep systemic change," reads a statement, released Tuesday by international social movement groups, including La Via Campesina, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, and more.

"There will be no going back from the climate chaos if we do not fight for real solutions and do nothing to confront and challenge the inaction of our governments’ policy-making being hijacked by polluting corporations," the statement continues. "It is crucial for us to unify and strengthen our economic, social and environmental struggles and focus our energies on changing the capitalist system."

But this capitalist system will be heavily represented at the upcoming UN summit, which will take place September 23 at the New York City headquarters of the UN. The meeting was convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to showcase "government, finance, business, and civil society" solutions to the climate crisis, according to a UN announcement. The summit, which President Obama is expected to attend, will not host negotiations for binding climate commitments, but rather will provide a platform for the announcement of voluntary commitments to cut emissions, as well a host of so-called private-public partnerships.

While the summit is not open to the public, corporations have been invited to play a large roll in its numerous events and plenaries, which will include a "Private Sector Luncheon," the launch of the "We Mean Business" corporate coalition, and heavy participation from the Caring for Climate "UN Initiative for Business Leadership"—which was established in 2007 and includes numerous corporate backers from the oil, gas, and coal industries.

Critics charge that this and other UN climate meetings have devolved into platforms for corporations, while civil society participation and protests are excluded and forcibly silenced.

"The Summit has been surrounded by a lot of fanfare but proposes voluntary pledges for emission cuts, market-based and destructive public-private partnership initiatives such as REDD+, Climate-Smart Agriculture and the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative," reads the Tuesday statement. "These are all false solutions of the green economy that seeks to further commodify life and nature and further capitalist profit."

The groups argue that real solutions require binding commitments, plans to leave fossil fuels in the ground, a "transition to renewable energy," and the development of public transportation and community-based agriculture and food security models. Ultimately, they urge that a real solution will require a shift away from the capitalist economic system and the "dismantling" of war and military industries and infrastructure.

Leading up to and during the UN gathering, organizations from around the world will offer a different message outside the summit's closed doors by staging a number of events, including: a People's Climate March on September 21; People's Climate Justice Summit September 22 and 23; Converge for Climate Conference from Sept. 21-23; and the Religions for the Earth Conference September 19 through 21.

Cindy Wiesner, National Coordinator for the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, told Common Dreams, "People on the front-lines of the climate crisis know what action needs to be taken and are ready to make change happen. We need our governments and global leaders to catch up with the people on the ground."

Groups Slam 'Corporate Takeover' of UN Climate Summit, Call for System Change

Thursday, September 11, 2014

ClimatePrep » Is Adaptation an Option for Small Island Nations and Coastal Regions?

By Manishka De Mel, WWF ClimatePrep

Small island nations and low-lying coastal regions are facing the imminent threat of sea-level rise. For many who live in landlocked areas, fears of the rising sea may seem as unrealistic as science fiction. Picturesque islands with white sand and turquoise waters are often a dream vacation for most, but for island residents the grim reality is that the lifespan of their native lands is numbered due to climate change. As the sea level rises, millions will lose their homes. The geographical nature of these areas makes them vulnerable to salinity intrusion that will stress freshwater availability. To make matters worse, storm surges, rising temperatures, drought and other extreme events will exacerbate existing issues.

Adapt or move?

Some question whether adaptation is a viable option, given that many of these countries could lose some or all of their land. Some island nations, such as Kiribati, are already thinking long-term, and are considering a mass migration of its population as a last resort. Others, such as the Marshall Islands have made firm statements they are not looking to migrate. Professor Michael Gerrard, Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, has penned some of the few books on climate change law that exist today. He’s been working with small island nations, assisting them with legal options. According to him there is certainly a focus on adaptation both in the short and medium term, and “for the next several decades, the hope is that they will be able to stay and try to make their lives as tolerable as possible during that time before they absolutely have to leave.”

Nations under water?

It is not expected that the current generation will live to see small island nations completely submerged due to rising seas. The situation however is likely to be different a few generations down the line, if emissions are not significantly cut down. What would become of small island nations if rising seas were to eventually drown them out completely? Would they still be considered countries? According to Professor Gerrard, “there are generally considered to be four attributes a place must have in order to be considered a state. It must have land, a permanent population, a functioning government, and recognition by other countries.” He goes on to explain that in terms of the permanent population there is some precedent that a number as few as 50 is sufficient and can be built up artificially to maintain a population. There is some academic discussion about a ‘nation in ex-situ’ when a nation is displaced all together. “Never in the history has a nation disappeared due to physical problems … there is no precedent for it”.

The ethical debate

Not surprisingly, small island nations and some low-lying areas are among the countries that have contributed the least amount to climate change. They are disproportionally affected, even though their emissions are negligible.

A mitigation goal of 2°C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) was the non-binding target adopted in Copenhagen in 2009 to prevent dangerous climate change. This level was objected to by small island nations who stated that a target of 1.5°C is more likely to keep these islands above water. However if business as usual continues, warming is expected to exceed 2°C well before the end of the century.

Some attempts have been made to address the issues faced by small island nations using legal mechanisms. About two years ago there was an attempt to bring the plight of small island nations before the International Court of Justice. This would have required a majority vote of the members of the UN General Assembly, which it failed to achieve. According to Professor Gerrard, “The decision they were seeking was a declaration that they have a right to continue to exist, and the major emitting nations should make every effort to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to ensure that existence. It probably would not have been any more specific than that. It’s not like a court order that is readily enforceable. It’s a statement of international law that people would listen to and care about.”

Legal options for displaced countries and climate refugees

Currently there are no international agreements that allow citizens of any nation to migrate legally due to impacts of climate change. Nor are there legal precedents for climate change-driven migration at present. A few countries have agreements with developed nations that allow their citizens a legal pathway to live and work, but are based on other non-climate change factors.

Climate change is predicted to result in refugees and internally displaced persons, of which a significant proportion would be due to rising sea levels (droughts and floods will result in the same). However ‘climate change refugees’ do not have international recognition under the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.

Recently a family from Tuvalu claimed refugee status in New Zealand on the grounds of climate change. Although this was initially rejected, in June 2014 the New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal granted the family residency. Although this has received media attention as a success story for climate refugees, climate change was not singled out as the reason for granting residency. It was granted based on strong family ties to New Zealand, and the decision does not provide legal support for a claim of refugee status based on climate change. Gerrard states, “The sorts of problems faced by political refugees which the refugee convention is aimed at are very different to the conditions faced by climate. Political refugees have the hope of return, which is not the case for people affected by sea level rise. There is discussion about whether there should be a separate definition for climate-displaced people, [there’s] nothing happening officially … there is a long way to go before people affected by climate-induced migration will have a legal mechanism to facilitate migration.”

The future

The best hope for small island nations and low-lying countries is if emissions are drastically reduced to prevent further warming. Vulnerable countries should also be given as much assistance as possible to adapt to climate change and increase resilience. While every attempt should be made to mitigate climate change, it is essential that adaptation plans are prepared using the latest climate projections, and are implemented as a matter of urgency. Additionally, both domestic and international laws need to be assessed and updated so that there are legal provisions to support these actions. This will probably be the best safeguard against climate change, allowing inhabitants of vulnerable regions to continue existing in their homelands.

ClimatePrep » Is Adaptation an Option for Small Island Nations and Coastal Regions?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

UN votes for rules to stop vulture funds • Jubilee Debt Campaign UK

Jubilee Debt Campaign UK

The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution to create new legal rules to stop financial speculators like vulture funds from undermining debt restructurings. The motion, passed by 124 votes to 11, has decided that the UN will create “a multilateral legal framework for the sovereign debt restructuring processes”. At present, there are no rules regarding how to restructure the debts of countries when they can no longer be paid, leading to prolonged debt crises and expensive bank bailouts, and an open door for vulture funds extortion of countries in debt crisis.

The creation of such rules could, amongst other things, solve the current impasse over Argentina’s debt, where two vulture funds NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management are seeking a gigantic profit after speculating on the South American country’s debt, have refused to accept a debt restructuring agreed by 93% of other creditors, and have had their claim backed by a US court, preventing Argentina from paying their debts.

Sarah-Jayne Clifton, Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said:

“The resolution represents an important step forward in fixing the broken global debt system and developing countries have shown fantastic leadership in pushing it through despite the opposition of the UK and a handful of other rich country governments.

“In opposing the motion George Osborne and Danny Alexander have shamefully once again prioritised the interests of big finance over the public good, backed the status quo of devastating debt crises, bank bailouts and gigantic vulture fund profits over economic stability and justice for people in countries in debt distress. Fortunately, this time the responsible voices have won out.”

The UK and US voted against the motion, following a joint decision between the Chancellor George Osborne and his deputy, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander. Almost all developing countries voted in favour, including Brazil, China and India. The majority of European countries, including France, Greece, Spain and Italy abstained, indicating a willingness to take part in further negotiations.

The UK’s opposition to the motion contradicts both the Liberal Democrats policy to “lead international calls for the creation of a fully transparent international debt arbitration service”, and the 2010 coalition agreement commitment that the government “will review what action can be taken against vulture funds”. In addition, over 100 backbench British MPs have publicly supported creating “a fair, independent and transparent arbitration mechanism for sovereign debt.”

Despite this, the UK government has continued to oppose new multilateral rules through the United Nations – the only international organisation where the votes of countries carry equal weight – for dealing with debt restructurings. Instead, the UK government wants all discussions on debt to take place in the International Monetary Fund, where the UK has a disproportionate voice, and most developing countries have little say. The IMF is also itself a large lender, so there is a clear conflict of interest for the IMF to both be a creditor and arbitrator over government debts.

Now the resolution has passed, UN negotiations will commence on the modalities and institutional arrangements and modalities of the legal framework.

The eleven countries which voted against were Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, the US and UK.

UN votes for rules to stop vulture funds • Jubilee Debt Campaign UK

Sunday, September 7, 2014

On Recycling of Fluorescent Bulbs

By Mark Ceaser, EcoMENA

All fluorescent bulbs contain mercury. In fact, the standard fluorescent bulb has about 20 milligrams of mercury. It is clear that these lamps must be managed properly to protect human health and the environment. The risk of leaving mercury deposits in landfill is high; therefore, recycling seems the most conscientious and environmentally safe recourse. A national fluorescent bulb recycling strategy will not only help in environment protection but can also promote new business growth and job opportunities.

An analysis of the lighting industry shows a trend shifting from the usage of incandescent bulbs to fluorescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs use more fossil fuel energy, are more costly and are less effective than fluorescent bulbs in the amount of artificial light they produce as fluorescents produce more lumens than incandescents.

Usage of fluorescent bulbs, however, is not entirely without risk because they contain mercury, a chemical compound that can have debilitating effects on humans upon prolonged exposure.Because of its unique properties, the most effective way to dispose of mercury-bearing wastes is through recycling.

Continued illegal disposal of mercury wastes continues, resulting in unnecessary exposure to people and the planet; however, a grass roots movement to protect the environment has created momentum to generate a national law prohibiting the disposal of fluorescent bulbs in landfills.

en.lighten Initiative and Middle East

The UNEP/GEF en.lighten initiative was launched in September 2009 as a globally coordinated effort to accelerate the transition to efficient lighting and mitigate climate change, The objective of the initiative is to calculate the potential electricity savings, CO2 emission reductions and the economic benefits that could be realized from phasing out inefficient lighting and replacing them with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Around 100 countries were analyzed globally, with 19 hailing from the MENA region.

Several countries in the Middle East are already taking measures to promote efficient lighting. Six countries (Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, Morocco, and UAE) have already distributed more than 100 million CFLs in total. Countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Lebanon have announced ban on the sale of all incandescent bulbs by specific target years. Likewise Qatar has already announced plans to phase out use of incandescent bulbs. However, the promotion of CFLs demands a viable strategy to counter broken and disused fluorescent bulbs in order to prevent its harmful effect on the environment and public health.

Recycling Strategy

Proper disposal of mercury-contained fluorescent lamps is essential to prevent release of toxic materials into the environment. The manufacturers of fluorescent tubes are responsible for the proper labeling of mercury-containing lamps to alert customers to their hazards. With the labeling of the symbol “Hg” on each lamp, individuals should recognize these products contain mercury. In United States, fluorescent bulbs and other types of energy-efficient lighting as well as nickel-cadmium batteries, pesticides and thermostats are regulated under the Universal Waste Rule (UWR).

The UWR allows businesses, government agencies and other generators an opportunity to recycle bulbs and other types of universal waste at the end of life rather than manifesting and disposing of them as a hazardous waste. This can result in significant savings for the business or property owner. Recycling also helps protect our environment from potentially toxic materials.

Many governments and retailers are offering CFL recycling schemes that safely handle the mercury. Private industry has to partner with government to develop a plan to eliminate fluorescent bulbs in landfills. To further encourage recycling, the cost of recycling should be initially absorbed by the manufacturers, who in turn, may pass the costs to the consumers. The consumer can then return the spent bulbs to their purchase point of origin. This has worked in other recycling sectors, and it can also work with mercury-containing devices such as fluorescent lamps.

On Recycling of Fluorescent Bulbs

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Solar bottle lights in the Philippines

A Social entrepreneur of Philippines has come up with an indigenous
solution for lighting problems in the low income areas. He use Plastic
bottles to lighten up the dark homes of poor. The solution is green and
cheap. CCTV-9 Report

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

30% of Small Island States Population Threatened By Sea Level Rise

By Marianne de Nazareth,

The horror hit like a jack hammer, while we sat through a UNFCC Congress of the Parties event in Copenhagen a few years ago. Dwarfed by the massive stage she was standing on, a little girl brought the crisis being faced by her country to the world stage. " Why must my country, The Solomon Islands be submerged and swallowed up by the sea? " she asked, " just because you richer nations do not want to cut back on your carbon emissions? What have we done to lose our country? I want my own country, I do not want to have to run away from it, incase it is swallowed up by the rising seas." He voice rang out clear and true, and I am sure many in the audience squirmed at her questions. Images of her drowning country flashed behind her and it is only then we, who do not face her problem got shaken out of our complacency.

The new Global Environment Outlook report released by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)says, Governments and the world at large are being confronted by accelerating climate change and environmental challenges to their economies and society. For many Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the experience is even more dramatic and is felt more rapidly because of their small physical scale, geographic isolation, unique biodiversity, exposure to natural hazards and disasters, high population growth coupled with outmigration and significant seasonal in-migration from tourism, limited resource base, remoteness from global markets and small economies of scale.

There are multiple drivers and pressures, beyond global economic stagnation and population growth, affecting the outlooks for SIDS. These include vulnerability to climate change, local access to water, nutrition and food security, energy and transport demand, exploitation of natural resources, local sectoral development, poor management of waste and pollution, coastal squeeze and loss of ecological resilience. SIDS are also threatened by a range of emerging issues, such as social disintegration, and in some instances the disappearance of their national territory.

SIDS in the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea region, range from the volcanic archipelago of Cape Verde with a semi-desert climate, the savannah and mangrove swamps of Guinea Bissau and the rugged volcanic rocks of São Tomé and Principe located off the west coast of Africa, to the coral islands of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, to the urbanized-tropical rainforest mix of Singapore. All face significant threats from climate change, sea level rise and natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, heavy rains, floods and drought. Many have globally high endemism, and are home to important marine resources including sea turtles and dugongs. With the exception of the wealthy Singapore, these are among the poorest countries in the world.

Invasive species

Marine invasive species have become a focus of concern in many SIDS. In less than a decade, the Indo-Pacific lionfish (Pterois volitans) has become widely established in the southeast United States and throughout the Caribbean. This highly predatory fish is spreading rapidly and reducing the abundance of key herbivores, thus altering fish communities in reefs. Lionfish occupy the same trophic position as economically important species (e.g. snapper and grouper) and may hamper stock rebuilding efforts and coral reef conservation measures. Longer-term impacts of lionfish abundance could be growth rate reduction of the wave breaking reef crests, which help to protect coastlines from erosion. Across the Caribbean, people are being encouraged to consume lionfish as a means to lower their numbers.

The blue-green economy

Small Island Developing States Need ‘Blue-Green Economy' Innovations to Adapt to Climate Change Island Nations at a Crucial Turning Point, says the new Global Environment Outlook report released by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). SIDS have in short to learn to help themselves and the report brings out various measures which are critical to SIDS self sufficiency.

According to the report, a blue-green economic strategy, that targets resource efficiency and clean technology, is carbon neutral and socially inclusive, will stimulate economic stability, facilitate job creation, provide a clean and healthy environment and help conserve resources. By focussing on balanced development and the linkages between small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, water, tourism, renewable energy and waste, some of the most critical challenges facing SIDS, such as land and water scarcity, dependence on imported energy, high costs of waste management and the vulnerability of the key sectors, can be addressed.

Cultured pearl farming

Today, cultured pearl farming in the Pacific offers an economic activity in which sound environmental management and conservation are prerequisites to economic success. Pearl oysters are remarkably sensitive organisms and environmental deterioration or sudden ecological changes affect the oyster and hamper its potential for producing a high-quality pearl.

Estimates suggest that 95% of a pearl farm's income comes from only 2% of its pearls. The more pristine an environment, the healthier the oysters are and the higher the likelihood of harvesting valuable, high-quality pearls.

Pearl farming can be carried out in isolated islands where there are otherwise very limited economic opportunities. Cultured pearls have become important economic pillars in French Polynesia and the Cook Islands as a major source of export revenue. In French Polynesia, pearl farming has reduced pressure on fish stocks, stemmed outer-island emigration, and provided economic alternatives for an economy otherwise heavily reliant on French financial assistance and tourism. At its peak in 2000, the pearl sector provided employment to 7,000 people in French Polynesia. In the Cook Islands, black pearl production is carried out within existing forms of indigenous socio-economic organization.

Small-scale pearl farming contributes so effectively to ecosystem health that it has been sanctioned inside of marine protected areas, such as off Pakin in the Federated States of Micronesia. Now a new integrated marine plan is being implemented in which pearl farming is compensating for the lost income that artisanal reef fishing communities have incurred due to the introduction of no-fishing zones and marine protected areas. This new source of income has created an incentive for conservation by reducing pressure on reef fish stocks, and is increasing the resilience of these communities in the face of climate change.

“Small Island Developing States presently face a number of major challenges and hardships,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “Many suffer from isolation and high costs associated with long distances from global markets, and lag behind in the adoption of new technologies and innovation. Growing populations concentrated in urban areas are putting stress on island resources and the health effects of unsafe water, poor sanitation and increasingly unhealthy diets. Meanwhile, climate change threatens biodiversity, livelihoods and even the very existence of some island nations.”

“As the world enters the post-2015 era, significant changes both in global policy and on islands themselves were identified by the GEO expert teams from SIDS. Improvements in line with the blue-green economy would include, among other things, economic diversification, economic approaches to improve the management of biodiversity, resource efficiency, and sustainable consumption and production,” he added.

Along with the blue-green economy outlook, the report recommends an ensemble of three other island-centric elements: “technology leapfrogging”, priority to island community and culture and reconnecting with nature.

A blue-green economy outlook requires the development of economic tools to improve the management of biodiversity, using indigenous and local knowledge in decision-making and monitoring. Such tools as the UN System of Environmental and Economic Accounting, natural capital accounting, payment for ecosystem services and carbon trading schemes would contribute to establishing the “right” market prices for natural resources.

information and communication technologies

The report also suggests that SIDS should envisage rapid technological innovation, especially in information and communication technologies, that will help overcome island isolation, create new ways of maintaining social and cultural ties across the island diaspora and help evolve new economic activities.

Some of the hallmarks of technological leapfrogging in the context of SIDS include Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enablement for the benefit of society, phasing out of inefficient technologies and increasing the penetration of renewable sources of energy and materials, as well as the use of traditional knowledge to create scale-appropriate technologies.

Digital technologies have enormous potential to benefit everyday life in SIDS and to tackle disaster risk management and a variety of social challenges. A digital agenda, focused on ICT capabilities to support social cohesion and connectivity, will help improve access to information, reduce energy consumption, support citizen's lives, revolutionize health services and deliver better public services.

Brain circulation

SIDS will continue to face many challenges when dealing with climate change. For example, in the western Pacific –where the rates of sea level rise on islands such as Tuvalu and Funafuti have been recorded up to 3 times the global average of 2.8-3.6 mm/year – islands are susceptible to extreme sea level events such as storm surges and tidal waves.

In order to deal with such challenges, a very high level of skill and education will be required. Therefore, policies should encouraging “brain circulation”, or the return of skilled people who have emigrated away from the island. In addition, traditional knowledge and activities such as fishing can be combined with other sectors to create new business opportunities.

Healthy traditional and modern elements

There is great potential among SIDS to encourage a healthy island culture combining traditional and modern elements, evolving with the times while maintaining roots in island heritage. Each island community and culture should select what it wants from globalization within island limits, without being passive consumers.

Giving priority to island community and culture involves the promotion of participatory community and indigenous conservation and management; communities that are resilient; widespread collective action and partnership and the development of an island-centric demand side in the global marketplace; and education that has sustainability at its core.

Among participatory and community approaches described in the report is that of building community resilience as a key element in successful climate change adaptation and risk management.

This involves four critical strategies: building coping capacities to withstand and counteract shocks; strengthening existing and developing new early warning systems; strengthening disaster risk reduction capacity in SIDS, for example, through ecosystem-based adaptation such as restoring beaches and mangroves; and actively engaging the international community in reducing the anthropogenic causes of the increased frequency of extreme events, including global warming and environmental degradation.

Reconnecting with nature

Connections with nature have long been important to island peoples. In a blue-green economy outlook scenario, traditional knowledge of the environment would be combined with modern science to increase the integration and harvestable capacity of island ecosystems to restore biodiversity. Coral reef growth could be maintained by careful management and supported by citizen science and monitoring.

A number of SIDS have emphasized improving management and expansion of protected areas (PAs) as a strategy for dealing with biodiversity loss. Between 1990 and 2009, however, only a handful of SIDS showed an increase of over 4 per cent in protected areas. A related strategy is the promotion and implementation of community or indigenous conservation and management areas, which respect and incorporate local and indigenous knowledge.

Similarly, empowering local communities and devolving power to them for managing and restoring forested areas has proven effective in places like Palau and Vanuatu.

The report recommends investments in organic agricultural policies and agritourism – which connects sustainable agriculture with tourism – as ways to increase food self-sufficiency, and notes that many SIDS are already successfully investing money in improving and developing water and wastewater treatment infrastructure. It also stresses that, as part of a blue-green economy outlook, SIDS should place themselves at the forefront of sound coastal zone management policies.

Hopefully all this does help SIDS recover and not just slip under the sea and be a lost home to that little girl forever.