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Small island developing states (SIDS) have been at the frontline of debates about climate change. They are among the first to experience its impacts. And this spurs them on to be at the forefront of tackling these challenges through actions such as environmental stewardship; policies on waste, transport, and energy; and lobbying at international meetings.

What does vulnerability to climate change look like in SIDS, and how do they go about adapting to climate change? This image gallery offers a snapshot from islands across the Atlantic, Indian and South Pacific oceans.

The images reveal a tension that can emerge between quick fixes and long-term development. Large-scale resort developments for tourism, for example, may bring in some cash but can also damage beaches and ecosystems, leaving inland infrastructure vulnerable to waves and storms.

The challenges facing SIDS illustrate how development, disaster risk, and climate change are connected, spelling a need to find a balance between improving livelihoods and achieving sustainability. 

This article is part of our Spotlight on Joint action on climate change