Tuesday, July 08, 2008

SLRF on Socio-economic impacts of climate change

Dr Rolph Payet on behalf of the Sea Level Rise Foundation delivered a key presentation at the "The European Union and its Overseas Entities: Strategies to counter Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss”, which was hosted on Reunion Island from 07 to 11 July 2008, under the auspices of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

In his presentation,Dr Rolph Payet highlighted that in addition to the economic dimensions highlighted by Sir Nicolas Stern in the 2007 Stern Report, small islands face a number of important climate change issues  such as the critical lack of scientific information on the regional and local impacts of climate change. In many cases data sets are sporadic and for short periods, preventing any long-term trends to be determined. This lack of information impacts on islands ability to be able to determine socio-economic impacts of climate change, which is occurring today,rather than in the longer term. He also cited existing human pressure as being an important contributing factor to this socio-economic risk. The main groups that stand to be affected include those living in extreme poverty, as is the case in some islands states and some EU overseas territories.


Panelists: Jean-Christophe Victor, Rolph Payet, Charles Sheppard, Inge Thaulow, Chris Thomas, Jean-Yves Meyer, Oliver Hillel, Eugenio Yunis Ahués; Credits: IUCN/Wiebke Herding 


Economic diversity in many small islands is based upon fisheries, small scale agriculture and growing financial services. This lack of economic diversity makes small islands extremely vulnerable the impacts of climate change, such as coral bleaching. Coral Bleaching caused the loss of millions of dollars to the diving tourism industry in many islands in the Indian Ocean. The highest socio-economic risk stems from the fact that in most islands all infrastructure including human habitation are located in low-lying coastal and indeed highly vulnerable areas. This is particular evident many low lying coral islands as shown in the photo below for an island in the Kiribati.

You can view or download his presentation at: mms://wmp.zonepro.com/liveklicvod/uicn/july-07/rolph_payet.wmv

Web link: www.reunion2008.eu


Betio island in the Republic of Kiribati (source: SOPAC)