Small island developing states, sustainability and the Caribbean Sea
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This study encompasses twenty-seven SIDS and the Caribbean Sea. In order to detennine the pressure on the sea from anthropogenic activities both terrestrial and marine, four major components were investigated. These are (a) how land use activities on the islands are affecting the Sea (b) the effects of coastal and marine based activities on this marine area (c) the influences of natural events on the Caribbean Sea and the SIDS (d) how the region is responding to minimise the pressures on the sea via policies and programmes. In the first component, the DPSIR in combination with GIS was applied to three islands to demonstrate the causal links between economic activities and its effects on the Caribbean Sea. The activities on these islands have resulted in loss of reef covers, reduction and loss of commercial fish species and reduction in water quality. The second component was investigated by using spatial analysis to compose a vulnerability assessment of the Caribbean Sea. This was derived from mapping anthropogenic activities and habitats within the sea. The assessment demonstrated varying levels of vulnerability throughout the sea. This finding reinforces the need to manage the sea as a large marine ecosystem. The third component demonstrated that events such as hurricanes, tsunamis and effects of climate change are affecting the quality of the ecosystems in the Caribbean Sea and increasing the vulnerability of island communities. Data analysed for a 44 year period show that the highest number of successive hurricanes that made landfall in the Caribbean SIDS was in the 1990s. The fourth component was an analysis of the existing legal and institutional mechanisms that are being used in the region to respond to the issues in the marine environment. The analysis revealed that most of the current responses are within geo- political borders which have been less effective in dealing with the issues.
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