Small island states, facing rising seas, seek economic overhaul

OSLO: Small island states facing a “frightening” rise in sea levels will seek investments in everything from solar energy to fisheries to boost their economies at a U.N. summit next week. Leaders will meet in Samoa in the Pacific from Sept. 1-4 to drum up partnerships with companies, development banks and donors on projects that bring in dollars and jobs while protecting oceans and environments, organizers said. Many islands from the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean are suffering erosion and coastal flooding from storm surges as global warming raises sea levels by melting ice from the Himalayas to Greenland. “Beaches disappearing, hotels and port facilities having to move - it is for some countries a very frightening outlook,” the head of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner, told Reuters. Islands were interested in developing fisheries, moving into eco-tourism and shifting to wind and solar power from imported diesel to generate electricity, among other projects, he addded. Small island states say they are often overlooked by investors, even though Steiner said islands including the Seychelles, Barbados and Mauritius have made strides to cleaner economic growth. 

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