The Problem

Chemicals and Waste Management in SIDS

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) experience unique challenges with managing chemicals and waste due to their limited land mass, high population densities, limited resources, unique biodiversity, high risk of exposure to natural hazards and disasters, vulnerability to the effects of climate change, remoteness from global markets and small economies of scale. Most SIDS are primarily import-dependent countries, and the variety of products being imported into these countries is rapidly increasing, with some SIDS also having high levels of imports of second-hand products. Increasing types and quantities of imported products lead to increased generation of different types of increasingly complex streams of hazardous and toxic wastes, which SIDS typically do not have the capacity to treat and dispose in an environmentally sound manner. Further, large quantities of waste are generated by the tourism sector, which, although being a major economic activity in many SIDS/contributor to the Gross National Income of many SIDS, places additional stress on their already strained waste management systems.

Project aims, components and activities, expected outputs, timeline, participating countries and relevance to a Convention

The Global Programme, Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemical Development in Small Island Developing States (ISLANDS), was approved by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council on 13 June 2019 for five (5) child projects in 27 countries from the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific Regions. A sixth (6th) child project was approved in December 2019 for an additional child project for three (3) Caribbean countries. The execution timeframe for this Programme is five (5) years from July 2020 – July 2025.

$66 million in financing from the GEF as well as co-financing from activities within the participating countries will support the Programme’s overarching objective to support SIDS to enter a safe chemical development pathway through strengthening their ability to control the flow of chemicals, products and materials into their territories and to unlock resources for long term management of chemicals and wastes including integrated chemicals and wastes management in SIDs.

ISLANDS Programme Components

Component 1: Preventing future build-up of chemicals in the SIDS environment

Component 2: Safe management and disposal of existing, historically produced wastes posing an immediate risk to people and natural resources

Component 3: Promoting systems for future management of wastes and chemicals entering SIDS by adopting and putting into practice 3R approaches including increased recovery of resources from wastes by adopting the principles of sustainable consumption and production

Component 4: Sharing knowledge and experience across all regions to address issues common to all SIDS and to stimulate inter regional cooperation to combat major global level challenges posed by wastes such as plastics, electronics, and other major pollutants

ISLANDS Caribbean Child Projects

There are three (3) Child Projects being executed in the Caribbean region, with participation from a total of 12 countries. Implementing partners include the UNEP, FAO and IDB.

For more information on the GEF ISLANDS programme, visit: