Mauritius - National Report for Third International Conference
The vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) arise from a number of physical, socio-economic and environmental factors. SIDS small size, limited resources, geographical dispersion and isolation from markets, place them at a disadvantage economically and prevent economies of scale. For instance, due to the small size of their economies, SIDS are highly dependent on trade but lack the factors that are decisive for competitiveness. Similarly, international macroeconomic shocks tend to have higher relative impacts on SIDS small economies. The combination of small size and remoteness leads to high production and trade costs, high levels of economic specialisation and exposure to commodity price volatility. Furthermore, in SIDS, the following natural resource base: energy, water, mineral and agricultural resources are limited and resource extraction tends quickly to meet the carrying capacities of the small islands. The latter also face unique threats related to global environmental issues, mainly climate change, biodiversity loss, waste management, pollution, freshwater scarcity, and acidification of the oceans. As a SIDS, much progress has been achieved in Mauritius due to benefits derived from the Welfare State, namely: free access to education from pre-primary to university levels, transport to students and the elderly and health services to all and also from bilateral and multilateral trading agreements, the skilled work force, entrepreneurship, a stable democratic government and peace. However, despite its performance, the country is now facing the brunt of a number of global challenges, namely, the global economic, financial, energy and food security crises. The impacts of climate change, sea level rise, natural disasters and biodiversity loss are also having their toll on progress achieved so far.