LONDON - Some of those people live on islands where they face the prospect of their homes and livelihoods literally being swallowed up by rising sea levels. And according to a report by members of the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament, this is “a crucial year” for the world’s 39 small island developing states as they struggle to secure financing to help them cope with climate change.

The SIDS group will stage an international conference in the Caribbean in the last week of May, to be followed in September by the U.N. Summit for the Future to “address gaps in global governance” in staring down such threats, Devex U.K. Correspondent Rob Merrick tells me.

The report highlights how some SIDS miss out on aid tied to gross domestic product levels — despite their huge “vulnerability” — and underscores the danger of piling on debt if loss and damage funds take the form of loans, rather than grants.

It also calls on the U.K. government to use its influence as a major shareholder of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to ensure SIDS’ leaders are in the rooms where crucial decisions are reached — a point made by the Barbados government’s Bridgetown Initiative one year ago.

“Of the World Bank’s 25 Executive Directors, none are from SIDS at the time of writing. None of the IMF’s 24 Executive Directors are from SIDS,” the report states. “While this Committee recognises that better board representation would not guarantee that SIDS would enjoy seamless access to finance, it would at least ensure that their voices are heard when decisions on how to allocate finance are being made.”