Saturday, April 30, 2011

Implementing a New Regime of Stable Maritime Zones to Ensure the (Economic) Survival of Small Island States Threatened by Sea-Level Rise

Dear Colleagues,

The following article, published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, might be of interest to you:

Implementing a New Regime of Stable Maritime Zones to Ensure the (Economic) Survival of Small Island States Threatened by Sea-Level Rise

Some low-lying small island states are in danger of being rendered uninhabitable or even completely submerged by climate change-induced sea-level rise. However, even before their physical destruction, the socio-economic viability of small island states might be compromised by the current design of the law of the sea which provides for ambulatory baselines and maritime limits and thus the shrinking of maritime zones with sea-level rise. This article examines the legal avenues open to small island and other interested states to permanently fix their maritime zones. Concluding that unilateral strategies are inadequate, it proposes the adoption of coordinated responses such as an Implementation Agreement on Sea-Level Rise or a UN General Assembly resolution on stable maritime zones and explores the precedential basis, scope and possible content of these collective implementation mechanisms for a new regime of stable maritime zones.;jsessionid=65x6poisorv.victoria

Best regards,

Jenny Grote Stoutenburg

Jenny Grote Stoutenburg, LL.M.; Maître en Droit
Visiting Scholar, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley

For those interested in environmental responsibility of hotels/ Caribbean

Dear SIDS colleagues,
For those interested in environmental responsibility of hotels/ Caribbean, please see attached (Policy Sciences Journal).
Strategic organizational drivers of corporate environmental responsibility in the Caribbean hotel industry
Kalim U. Shah   E-mail:
Abstract: This study identifies strategic organizational drivers of corporate environmental responsibility (CER) in the Caribbean hotel sector. Hotels face institutional pressures that question their environmental legitimacy, competitive pressures that force market re-positioning decisions and constraints/advantages based on their resources and capabilities for managing CER. Empirical evidence collected here suggests that CER improves when hotels declare environmental policies; target eco-conscious tourists; are foreign owned; affiliated to MNCs; and experience healthy financial performance. The latter three factors also enable the implementation of environmental policies thereby strengthening CER. They play no such role in how market re-positioning strategies impact CER. Neither did strategic targeting of luxury tourists affect CER. These findings are useful to policy makers in tourism-dependent economies where CER is intrinsically tied to sustainable development and the tourism product is so dependent on the quality of the natural environment in which it is immersed.
I have also authored several more research paapers on corporate social and environmental responsibility in the Caribbean, so please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to get copies.
Kalim U. Shah, Ph.D.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

One Day Conference Institute of Commonwealth Studies

A one-day conference is to be held at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London on Tuesday 17 May considering recent developments in the British, French and Dutch overseas territories. All are welcome.

No pre-registration required. No fee charged. For further information please see:

or contact Peter Clegg.
Dr Peter Clegg
Senior Lecturer
Department of History, Philosophy & Politics
University of the West of England
Frenchay Campus
Coldharbour Lane
Bristol BS16 1QY
More >>>

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sparsely Populated Nunavut Considers Micro-Nuclear to Cut Fossil Energy Costs

Nunavut in Canada spends an extraordinary amount for energy, far more than most other provinces, and it is all fossil energy.  Try as much as a dollar a kilowatt-hour. At wholesale. 

Where consumers in the other Canadian provinces average 8.5 cents, the electric company itself buys diesel for electricity production at between 50 cents and as much as $1 a kwh. Part of the cost is simply transportation. Nunavut has only 33,000 consumers in the cold and sparsely populated province, which is partly made up of an arctic archipelago, spread out over an area the size of Europe.

The Qulliq Energy board wants to find an alternative to buying diesel to make electricity, and according to CBC, it is considering micro-nuclear power: North mulls micro-reactors as solution to rising power costs. More >>>

Climate Change and the Challenges Facing Small States

THIRTY-TWO of the Commonwealth's 53 member countries are small states, defined as countries with populations of less than 1.5 million people. 

They range in size from micro-states, such as St Kitts and Nevis in the Eastern Caribbean with less than 50,000 people and Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique of the Lesser Antilles in the Windward Islands of the Eastern Caribbean with a population of 110,000 inhabitants, to countries like Botswana and Gambia in Africa.

These countries, without exception, are characterised by their extreme vulnerability in the areas of security, environmental disasters, limited human resources and a lack of adequate economic capital.
Despite the threat to the survival of these human-scale societies posed by unstable currencies, military-civil wars, poverty, HIV/AIDS, etc, climate change remains the single most important threat yet facing their prospects for economic development, peace and security and territorial existence. More >>>

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nauru will use UN spotlight to confront developed world over climate change

Last month I returned to Nauru, the smallest member of the United Nations and my home. The island is located in the Pacific Ocean close to the equator, about halfway between Hawaii and Australia. 

Our nearest neighbour is Banaba Island, 300 kilometres to the east. It is one of the most remote places in the world.

I took the opportunity to talk to my community about some of the environmental changes taking place there, and it was a very troubling discussion. The sea around us is getting warmer, droughts have become commonplace, and the coastal erosion is as bad as anyone can remember.

Similar trends are occurring across the Pacific and they have grave implications for the fish stocks we depend on for food, our freshwater supplies, and the very land we live on. Scientists have warned us that the situation will get much worse unless the greenhouse gas pollution responsible for global warming is dramatically reduced. More >>>

Monday, April 25, 2011

Increasing ocean temperature reduces the metabolic performance and swimming ability of coral reef damselfishes

Tropical coral reef teleosts are exclusively ectotherms and their capacity for physical and physiological performance is therefore directly influenced by ambient temperature. This study examined the effect of increased water temperature to 3°C above ambient on the swimming and metabolic performance of 10 species of damselfishes (Pomacentridae) representing evolutionary lineages from 2 sub-families and 4 genera. Five distinct performance measures were tested: a) maximum swimming speed (Ucrit), b) gait-transition speed (the speed at which they change from strictly pectoral to pectoral-and-caudal swimming, Up−c), c) maximum aerobic metabolic rate (MO2−MAX), d) resting metabolic rate (MO2−REST), and e) aerobic scope (ratio of MO2−MAX to MO2−REST, ASC). Relative to the control (29°C), increased temperature (32°C) had a significant negative effect across all performance measures examined, with the magnitude of the effect varying greatly among closely related species and genera. Specifically, 5 species spanning three genera (Dascyllus, Neopomacentrus and Pomacentrus) showed severe reductions in swimming performance with Ucrit reduced in these species by 21.3–27.9% and Up−c by 32.6–51.3%. Furthermore, 5 species spanning all 4 genera showed significant reductions in metabolic performance with aerobic scope reduced by 24.3–64.9%. Comparisons of remaining performance capacities with field conditions indicate that 32°C water temperatures will leave multiple species with less swimming capacity than required to overcome the water flows commonly found in their respective coral reef habitats. Consequently, unless adaptation is possible, significant loss of species may occur if ocean warming of ≥3°C arises. More >>>

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Documentary on President Nasheed’s climate change battle to be premiered this year

MALE, April 24 (HNS) – A Hollywood-style documentary feature film about the Maldives and climate change will be premiered at an international film festival later this year, the President’s Office said today.

‘The Island President’ is a fly-on-the-wall, 90-minute documentary film, which highlights the Maldives’ efforts to combat climate change and rising sea levels.The film has been made by Actual Films, an Oscar and Emmy-winning American documentary film company, based in San Francisco.Actual Films, which the President’s Office said had full editorial control over the movie, spent over two years and US$1.5 million making the film, which is due to be aired in the Maldives early next year.The Office said that Actual Films contacted the government in early 2009 and asked for permission to film President Nasheed, members of the government and others as they prepared for the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change summit.
More >>>

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Is all green energy, good energy?

15 April 2011 [MediaGlobal]: Recent events in Japan illustrate the unpredictable consequences of natural disasters.  
No one foresaw that an earthquake and tsunami would lead to the near meltdown of a nuclear power plant, a water crisis, a food crisis and, most recently, the dumping of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.

Within a century, countries such as Tuvalu and the Maldives may go underwater. Being just above sea level now makes both extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels. Entire populations may eventually flee and become environmental refugees.
Hans Gunter Brauch and Úrsula Oswald Spring from the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) are the editors of “Coping with Global Environmental Change, Disasters and Security,” a handbook focused on global environmental change, climate change, desertification, hazards, and security threats. More >>>

Climatologist Warns of Temperature Changes in the Caribbean

Acting Head of the Climate Branch of the Meteorology Services Clifford Mahlung recently presented at a JIS Think Tank where he discussed a European Union/United Nations Environment  Program-sponsored project aimed at helping to alleviate the effects of global warming on Jamaica and the Caribbean at large.

Unfortunately, global warming has led to a 0.5 degree change in temperature in the Caribbean. In this context, the climatologist stated that the increases in global temperatures lead to a rising of the sea levels and increased sea temperatures, which have caused problems in the Caribbean and other island states, with a devastating impact on our coral reefs. He explained that the increased temperatures cause the coral, which produce the white sand beaches of the Caribbean, to die. He also said that coral reefs provide protection against storm surges on small island states, which means that their destruction can have a devastating effect. More >>>

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries

The Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV) will take place 9-13 May, 2011 in Istanbul,Turkey. 

The purpose of the conference is to:
Assess the results of the 10-year action plan for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) adopted at the Third United Nations Conference on LDCs in Brussels, Belgium, in 2001.
Adopt new measures and strategies for the sustainable development of the LDCs into the next decade.

Preparations for the conference are in progress, with activities at national, regional and global levels. It is an inclusive process involving the participation of all stakeholders, including governments, international organisations, civil society organisations, academia and the private sector. More >>>

Melting ice in Canadian Arctic bigger player in sea-level rise

Washington, April 22 (IANS) Melting glaciers and ice caps on Canadian Arctic islands play a much greater role in sea-level rise than scientists previously suspected. 

For instance, the 550,000-square-mile Canadian Arctic Archipelago contains some 30,000 islands. Between 2004 and 2009, the region lost the equivalent of three-quarters of the water in Lake Erie, found a study led by the University of Michigan.

Warmer-than-usual temperatures in those years caused a rapid increase in the melting of glacier ice and snow, said Alex Gardner, research fellow in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences at Michigan, who led the project, reports the journal Nature.

"This is a region that we previously didn't think was contributing much to sea-level rise," Gardner said. "Now we realize that outside of Antarctica and Greenland, it was the largest contributor for the years 2007 through 2009," a Michigan statement quoted him as saying.

"This area is highly sensitive and if temperatures continue to increase, we will see much more melting," added Gardner. More >>>


April 4, 2011 -- The headof the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) unit of the division for sustainable development within the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Ms  Hiroko Morita-Lou, called on President James Michel at State House on 1st April.

She said she wanted to get first hand information about Seychelles’ vulnerabilities as a SIDS. President Michel shared frankly his views on the SIDS’ issues affecting Seychelles, for example climate change, energy and piracy.

Ms Morita-Lou was also looking for the possibility of Seychelles hosting one of the organisation’s key meetings this year. More >>>

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ocean pollution causes food security crisis in Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Nassau, The Bahamas –  Ocean pollution is threatening to deplete the commercial fisheries stock in the coral reefs of The Bahamas and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) around the world.   

The Living Oceans Foundation chose The Bahamas to launch their research project that examines the coral reef systems of 25 island countries worldwide.   
“We are extremely pleased and we feel privileged that the Living Oceans Foundation has selected The Bahamas as the country to start this five-year incredible exploration to determine the state of the world’s coral reefs,” said Eric Carey, executive director of the Bahamas National Trust.   
“The Bahamas National Trust is working with other agencies like the Nature Conservancy, Friends of the Environment, the Andros Conservancy are really pleased to be partnering with the Foundation and organisations like the Ministry of the Environment, the department of Marine Resources to make this happen.”   More >>>

Seychelles strengthens ties with small island states and establishes diplomatic relations with Nauru

Seychelles has formally established diplomatic relations with the Pacific island of Nauru following an agreement signing held in New York on Friday last week. 

Seychelles' Permanent Representative to the United Nations Amb Ronny Jumeau accompanied by Mr. Selby Pillay, the new Principal Counselor at the Seychelles Permanent Mission to the UN, lead the exchange of documents on behalf of Seychelles.

Signing on behalf of the Republic of Nauru, its Permanent Representative (PR) to the United Nations, Ambassador Marlene Moses, described Seychelles as a “great friend and ally" of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS). Amb. Moses is also the Chair of the PSIDS at the United Nations.

Seychelles and Nauru, the smallest country in the world in terms of population
after the Vatican City, are both members of the New York-based Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). More >>>