Island Resilience Initiative
Against the backdrop of the “big four” international agreements in recent years - the SAMOA Pathway, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement on climate (COP21), and the Habitat III New Urban Agenda - implementation of resilient, sustainable and equitable development at a local level and strong partnerships are critical to achieving the international community’s shared global agenda.
Islands are on the frontline of global changes and feel the impacts very directly - from climate change and resource depletion, to urban growth, health threats and food pressures. From the densely populated urban centers of the Philippines, Taiwan and Hawai’i to the atolls and archipelagos of the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean, never before have the 600 million plus people living on islands been so at risk. Some of these islands may quite literally disappear. We need a new model centered on strong multi-sectoral partnerships if islands are to both survive and thrive.
Problems in islands are interconnected and require multi-sector solutions. For instance, poor water quality can cause health problems, discourage tourism, and contribute to the decline of coral reefs. Disappearing reefs harm fisheries and also impact tourism. Improving water quality requires investments in energy-intensive infrastructure (like water treatment plants). But energy in the islands is expensive, because it typically is produced by importing fossil fuels. Current development approaches tend to be “siloed,” though, and treat each of these problems in isolation.
To counteract these impacts, over the past decade, there has been a groundswell of island economies that have launched visionary commitments that are delivering significant progress on building resilience and sustainability. Island-led solutions such as Palau National Marine Sanctuary, the Blue Economy vision and Seychelles Debt for Adaptation Swap, the Aloha+ Challenge and the Micronesia Challenge are locally and culturally appropriate models supported by strong partnerships that are driving implementation of the SDGs and other key agreements.
Over the past ten years, the island leaders and their supporters have come together to develop specific, scaleable and replicable solutions and models that are overcoming today’s problems and catalyzing local action. These proven local to regional models can be scaled and adapted by cities, states and countries globally to locally deliver in a culturally appropriate way on the SDGs and other global agreements.
"This Initiative will support islands by helping to establish cohesive and aligned policy efforts around the globe."
H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau, President of Palau and Global Island Partnership Leader launching the Island Resilience Initiative at the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders, 30 August 2016.
Framework: The Island Resilience Initiative will be based on an axis of six pillars that reinforce the global agreements, with a resilience and precovery lens to promote island futures and best practices, primarily at the action and project level -- energy, food, water, community, equity and environment. These six pillars will reinforce ambitious but appropriate and “right-sized” projects and solutions on islands that can be scaled and financed globally. It will also provide a platform for the establishment of larger, innovative impact dashboards and national and regional interventions.
Objective: Work with at least three Pacific islands, and a small number of island champions in other regions, to build capacity for public-private partnerships and local SDG/global agreement implementation, leveraging proven island models to:
• Identify, support and strengthen local collaborative public-private partnerships that can serve as a backbone organization focused on system-level change.
• Initiate the framework to implement SDGs locally, which includes a longer-term process to set high-level goals, develop shared measures to be tracked on an online platform, and develop a project pipeline to achieve 2030 goals.
• Launch a project pipeline development process, the Island Resilience Solution Prize, to catalyze innovative investments in integrated infrastructure on islands that can be financed through sources such as the Green Climate Fund and be a catalyst for public-private partnerships and a financing pipeline.
• Launch a peer-learning network coordinated by the Global Island Partnership and Hawai‘i Green Growth to support island backbone organizations, high-level goal development and commitments as well as public-private partnerships.
The Island Resilience Initiative was announced by the President of Palau during the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders on August 2016. The project pipeline development process, the Island Resilience Challenge, was first announced by Palau as part of the UN Secretary General’s resilience initiative at the UNFCCC COP21, Paris and as a commitment at the challenge.gov five year anniversary celebrated by the White House in Washington D.C. The Island Resilience Initiative has initial financial support from the partners below.
Global Island Partnership, led by the Presidents of Palau and Seychelles as well as the Prime Minister of Grenada, promotes action to build resilient and sustainable island communities by inspiring leadership, catalyzing commitments and facilitating collaboration. The Partnership is an umbrella peer-learning network for islands and their supporters to take collective action. The Partnership has received funding support from the European Commission for the Island Resilience Initiative: GLISPA Impact Dashboard.
Hawai'i Green Growth launched on the margins of the 2011 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu. Hawai'i Green Growth is a public private partnership that coordinates across government, the private sector and civil society to achieve Hawai'i’s 2030 statewide sustainability goals and serve as a model for integrated green growth. Hawai'i Green Growth is a member of the Global Island Partnership.
The GEF Small Grants Programme implemented by UNDP provides financial and technical support to projects that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people's well-being and livelihoods, through “thinking global, acting local.” The Programme is committed to supporting Small Island Developing States around the world to build resilience and is a network partner of GLISPA.
Italian Development Cooperation is a founding member and active supporter of the Global Island Partnership. Italy has a dedicated Global Island Strategy with an overarching approach for investment and engagement in islands, which aims to promote and support sustainable development initiatives on islands and SIDS through technical and financial assistance.
Further resources are needed to support the implementation of this initiative to 2020.
Tags: Islands, SDGs, Resilience, Island Resilience, Island Resilience Initiative