World Environment Day 2014 - Small Island Developing States on “frontline” in Battle Against Climate Change

Jun 5, 2014

Environmental degradation deepens inequity, threatens human development

New York, USA – 5 June 2014 – As people around the globe today commemorate World Environment Day, which focuses this year on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and their particular vulnerability to the effects of climate change, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is renewing its call for an approach to environmental protection that recognizes the intricate and deep connection between protecting the environment and human development.

In its latest report released in April, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated the cost of “ambitious” climate change mitigation would reduce economic growth by 0.06 percent annually. At the same time it is essential to recognize the benefits associated with reduced climate change.

To this end, UNDP is working with countries to put in place climate change risk management systems, including adaptation and mitigation measures that contribute to their development agenda.

“Environmental protection is sometimes seen as an obstacle to economic growth,” says Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Deputy Assistant Administrator of UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy. “But economic growth that strips out the planet’s ecosystems is not sustainable. Advancing human development and protecting the planet’s ecosystems must be approached as two sides of the same coin.”

The impacts of human-induced climate change, including rising sea levels and increased intensity of extreme weather events, are particularly acute for SIDS. In response, UNDP supports a wide range of projects in these vulnerable nations that seek to achieve the “triple win” of sustainable growth, poverty alleviation and environmental protection.

For example, during 2013 there were over 300 UNDP interventions in SIDS at various stages of project cycles. An additional 700+ projects in SIDS were supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme and implemented by UNDP.

The total value of this sizable portfolio includes over US$621 million in grants from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Least Developed Country Fund (LDCF), Adaptation Fund (AF), UNDP, and numerous other bilateral and multilateral donors. Those grants are complemented by more than US$1.4 billion in co-finance from governments and other partners.

In the lead-up to the Third International Conference on SIDS to be held in Samoa in September, as United Nations agencies work together to put a spotlight on their special predicament in the face of climate change, UNDP is also focusing on resource-efficient types of growth that bring not only environmental benefits, but also help lift people out of poverty.

More information

UNDP and World Environment Day 2014:

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Contact information

Interview requests:

Dylan Lowthian - UNDP Office of Communications tel. +1 212-906-5516 email:

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