Pacific Islands: GIWA regional assessment

United Nations Environment Programme (2004)

This report presents the GIWA assessment of the Pacific Islands region, which comprises more than 20 Island nations or territories that exhibit enormous geomorphological, climatic, cultural and demographic diversity within a vast ocean expanse. The region is unique because its inhabitants, who have close links with, and great cultural, economic and spiritual dependence on, their terrestrial and marine environment, are often the owners and users of these resources and ultimately govern their conservation and sustainable use. In addition to highlighting the overexploitation of fish and other living resources in densely populated areas, this report emphasises the vulnerability of many of these small Island states to the impacts of climate change, particularly sea level rise and fluctuations in rainfall, which has enormous influence on the availability of freshwater in the region. The root causes of overexploitation and freshwater shortage are illustrated using several case studies and potential policy options and mitigate these problems in the future are discussed.

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