Climate change adaptation for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is a matter of survival. SIDS collectively contribute less than 1 percent towards global greenhouse gas emissions, and yet their water, food, energy and economic security are already extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts.  Blue Guardians is a Programme of SIDS DOCK being developed as a five-year USD 44 million public-private partnership (PPP) proposal to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to achieve the UNFCCC 2015 Paris Agreement and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for six interested SIDS DOCK Member countries. To date, Mauritius, Samoa, Seychelles, and St. Vincent and Grenadines have expressed interest and have been participating in the project preparation process.

While relatively small in landmass, SIDS govern over and serve as the “Blue Guardians” of their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), vast ocean territories extending up to 200 nautical miles from their coastlines. These ocean areas are vital ‘blue carbon’ sinks that also help mitigate global climate change.  The UN Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) provides the legal framework for SIDS to exercise their full sovereign rights over the natural resources, coastal and marine ecosystems throughout their EEZs, and extended continental shelves.  Together, the SIDS have right to govern ocean areas more than 15 times the size of the European Union land mass and represents their largest natural resource endowment.

However, managing, monitoring and protecting these vast oceanic territories and ecosystems, especially from the increasing threats from climate change, have proven financially and technically challenging for SIDS.  Understanding the effects of climate change, and associated impacts due to sea level rise, storm surges, saline intrusion into water systems, habitat and biodiversity loss, coral bleaching and ocean acidification is critical for climate adaptation and resilience of SIDS.

The SIDS Blue Guardians Programme integrates the mandates from the SAMOA Pathway’s call for a “broad alliance of people, governments, civil society and the private sector all working together to achieve the future we want for present and future generations;” considers the UN Oceans Conference call for, “Partnering for the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development),” as well as the UNFCCC Paris Agreement which cites, “Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience…,” as a priority for strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change.

To help design, plan, finance and implement effective climate change adaptation and mitigation Programmes, the four SIDS Blue Guardian nations have identified an urgent need for technical information and data infrastructure capacity building. This includes access to, and capacity building with state-of-the-art Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and satellite remote sensing data and information. These capacity building and technical resources are required by SIDS to adapt and build resilience to climate change and sustainably manage their interconnected ‘Ridge-to-Reef’ terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems. The Blue Guardians Programme will work with SIDS across three overarching areas of activity to directly increase climate resilience and achieve their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs):

1.      Information and Data Infrastructure for Building Climate Resilience and Addressing NDCs

2.      Nature-based Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Projects

3.      SIDS Regional Community of Exchange

These activities will be implemented through Blue Guardian Climate Resilience Centres which will be designated by the national governments. Technical support for these centres will be provided by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs) and the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) will be the Accredited Entity – with SIDS DOCK and GRID-Arendal serving as Executing Entities for the Green Climate Fund Programme.  Blue Guardian technical resource partners include: Clinton Climate Initiative, DigitalGlobe, Esri, Geographic Planning Collaborative, Google Ocean, QLIK and The Nature Conservancy – who are collectively contributing $2.65 million in co-financing for the SIDS Blue Guardians GCF Programme.  The Blue Guardians GCF Programme will serve as a replicable model for all SIDS worldwide.


SIDS DOCK Secretariat
C/o Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre

2nd Floor, Lawrence Nicholas Building                                                   Tel: (501) 822-1104 or 1094
P.O. Box 563, Bliss Parade                                                                         Fax: (501) 822-1365
Belmopan, BELIZE                                                                             







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