Promoting action to build resilient and sustainable island communities

Articles Tagged ‘Front-line’

Front-line Cities and Islands

Front-line Cities and Islands

Frontline-cropped Photo: Centre President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. of Palau with Mayor Perla Cecilia Tun Pech of Cozumel. Centre Left to Right: Assistant Minister Lorna Eden of Fiji, UN Special Envoy on Oceans Peter Thompson, Steve Gawler and Yunus Arikan of ICLEI. Centre right to Right: Councillor Penny Hulse of Auckland Council, BMZ Franz Marré and the Mayor of Honiara Andrew Mua united in climate and resilience action and solutions.

Islands are at the front-line of climate change impacts. In parallel island urban settlements are rapidly growing and as they grow attention is needed to ensure this growth does not exacerbate vulnerabilities. Resilience building in island towns and cities is critical. Driven by determination and necessity, islands are also at the front-line of spearheading integrated solutions to climate change and sustainable development. This is evident through Fiji’s leadership to mobilize oceans and climate action through to Seychelles pioneering the world’s first blue bond and debt-for-adaptation-swap, to efforts by Cozumel to move towards an innovative sustainable development and smart island model as response to climate change mitigation and adaptation and Hawaii’s statewide efforts as an early leader on how a subnational entity can effectively implement their own climate and sustainable development priorities. These islands can and are building resilience to stressors and shocks and more can be done. They need to learn from what each other are doing but also from others in similar situations including other cities. They can share experiences on integrated water-energy-food nexus projects given their smaller scale, as well as share, aggregate and package together innovative financing and green investment activities that by their nature are discrete but when packaged together are significant, impactful and investment scale.

The Opportunity

During the UNFCCC COP23, mayors and leaders of islands at the front-line of climate change, from the President of Palau to Mayor of Cozumel (Mexico), came together with mayors and leaders of cities around the world to join forces in taking action to address climate change and build resilience through launching Front-line Cities and Islands. 

Front-Line is championed by COP23 President Fiji with the Presidents of Palau and Seychelles, Prime Minister of Grenada, Premier of British Virgin Islands as the Leaders of the Global Island Partnership and mayors and leaders of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability including the Mayors of Cozumel and Auckland to elevate the importance of sustainable urbanization in building resilience across islands and lay the groundwork for targeted and joint action across all islands. 

Front-line Cities and Islands builds a movement of mayors and leaders of island economies at the front-line of climate change impacts with mayors and leaders of resilience working together to champion local action in urban areas to deliver scalable, integrated solutions to urgently build resilience: on islands and globally. 

WATCH the President of Palau launch Front-line Cities and Islands at the GLISPA “Leaders in Island Resilience” high level reception


  • To create a network of coastal cities / municipalities within GLISPA, ICLEI and other regional and international entities to highlight islands and island economies, particularly urban areas, cultivate city-to-city and island-to-island learning and strategic partnerships, determine priority issues that they can work on together, share solutions that have been undertaken and identify and develop funding sources and innovative financing mechanisms for the long term.

  • To develop a special pathway through UNFCCC and other multilateral and donor processes for coastal cities, municipalities and settlements for funding in the short and medium term.

  • To promote dialogue and agreement aimed at achieving innovative resilience solutions.

The Partners

Front-line emerges through two long-standing partnerships - the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) and ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability - joining forces to support cities and islands on this bold action plan. Through their respective networks Front-line is championed by Fiji with the Presidents of Palau and Seychelles, Prime Minister of Grenada, Premier of British Virgin Islands and mayors and leaders of islands from Nadi, Suva and Lautoka (Fiji), Cozumel (Mexico), Honiara (Solomon Islands), Castries (St Lucia), Vacoas Phoenix (Mauritius), and many others.  This influential collective of mayors and leaders will build a coalition of global resilience champions at the front-line to deliver scalable and integrated solutions to implement the SAMOA Pathway, Sendai Framework, Paris Climate Agreement, SDGs and the New Urban Agenda. It provides a platform to identify, learn from and scale solutions from islands and member cities providing greater momentum on resilience building to all engaged. 

The Initiative

GLISPA and ICLEI will work together along with partners on promoting sustainable island and urban development through sub-national and city leadership on a range of issues important to islands including amongst others: resilience and systems planning, climate change and clean energy, healthy oceans and near-shore coastal fisheries management, resilient infrastructure and innovative finance, ecosystems services for resilience and post disaster recovery and sustainable tourism. 


This would include Island champions and leaders from islands

  1. City-To-City twinning and learning.  ICLEI and GLISPA will match island cities with other cities from the ICLEI global network and GLISPA network, from global north and south, particularly coastal and island communities.

  2. Identifying and partnering with local public-private sector platforms, initiatives and collaborations that can engage communities, provide local context and accelerate action.

  3. Developing action plans and project mobilization to support island implementation of sustainable development priorities including through innovative financing.

  4. Mobilising implementation focussed measurable leadership commitments on island urban sustainable development and resilience with a mechanism to support implementation.

  5. Supporting advocacy and outreach on the initiative and relevant issues through the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and other relevant global processes.

  6. Measuring progress - monitoring and reporting of progress will be conducted in reference to the relevant international frameworks, particularly the SAMOA Pathway, Sendai Framework, Paris Climate Agreement, SDGs and New Urban Agenda.

Call for Supporters

Fiji as COP 23 President with the Leaders of the Global Island Partnership and Mayors of ICLEI calls on the support of endorser and founding financial partners as well as prospective members cities and islands to support the design and implementation phases of this Initiative. In securing preliminary financial partners, this Initiative would continue to be implemented toward 2030. 

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The voyage to a resilient and sustainable future is not one that is taken alone, but by a movement of cities, states, islands and countries working together to shape the future we want.”

H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., President of Palau and Leader of the Global Island Partnership