Around 80% of the most damaging disasters since 2000 have been tropical storms, over 90% of them have been in Small Island Developing States, with over 60% being in the Caribbean. In contrast to suffering disproportionately from climate-related disasters, Small Island Developing States have made little contribution to climate change. 29 Small Island Developing States, with 0.7% of the global population are together responsible for just 0.2% of global carbon dioxide emissions.
Many small, impoverished states are already heavily indebted. The IMF conducts debt sustainability analyses for 21 impoverished Small Island Developing States. Of these, two are in default, 11 are at high risk of debt default, eight at medium risk and none are at low risk.
There needs to be a comprehensive debt relief scheme for small states to get debt down to a sustainable level to allow for better preparedness ahead of disasters hitting, as well as a permanent, effective, automatic debt relief process in response to disasters.