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Small Island Developing States (SIDS)


Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a distinct group of developing countries with specific social, economic, environmental, food and nutrition-related vulnerabilities. SIDS include countries relatively rich by developing country standards but also some of the poorest countries in the world.

With a few exceptions, the bulk of the population in SIDS is concentrated in rural areas. Limited land area limits agricultural production, typically resulting in low diversity of crops and food products, and significantly increasing import dependence. Great distance to major import and export markets and high sensitivity to external shocks, particularly the transmission of  food price volatility, further hamper food and nutrition security.

SIDS are threatened by receding land area, ocean acidification and diminished freshwater availability for agriculture as a consequence of both climate change and overexploitation of natural resources. SIDS are also extremely resources rich countries with the oceans providing unique opportunities for sustainable socio-economic development and have a rich cultural diversity. IFAD recognizes SIDS specific challenges but also their untapped potential.

In focus


  • The island of São Tomé is one of the world's biodiversity hot spots, home to hundreds of species found nowhere else on the globe. But farmers struggling to make a living here are encroaching into protected areas. They cut down trees for firewood and clear land for crops, putting the survival of these species at risk. By working with these farmers to produce more sustainably, IFAD hopes to save this unique environment before it's gone.

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