The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has developed the Sustainable Islands Platform (SIsP) to promote sustainability among island territories through innovative development pathways under the following
The goal of the Sustainable Islands Platform (SIsP) website is to serve as a resource for those re-thinking development approaches while creating an online community for those committed to creating more sustainable islands around the world.
This platform is intended to:
- Raise awareness about the challenges and opportunities facing island territories;
- Educate audiences about the blue economy, circular economy and climate resilience;
- Build an online community of innovators and island leaders pursuing sustainable development approaches; and
- Establish a facility to provide financing to island territories in order to implement projects aligned with the SIsP goals.
Given the inherent vulnerability and challenges of islands, the platform emphasizes an “island systems approach” that focuses on achieving and showcasing sustainability while improving regional collaboration to address common challenges and opportunities.
Islands and their residents face challenges that limit their development options and make them highly vulnerable to climate change.
These challenges include:
- Limitation of scale for action;
- Limited access to freshwater;
- Susceptibility to natural disasters while having limited capacity to respond to and recover from such disasters;
- Vulnerable economies dependent on narrow resource bases and reliance on few, distant markets for international trade;
- Reliance on limited economic industries (i.e. tourism); and
- Limited means available to responsibly utilize natural resources on a sustainable basis.
All of these characteristics make islands highly sensitive to external financial and economic shocks. Overcoming these challenges requires a paradigm shift from the perspective of islands as small, land-based economies to significant and essential ocean-based economies. Through this platform, we are encouraging island leaders to re-imagine integrated sustainability solutions that examine the linkages and interactions between their economies, societies, and the environment within the context of an oceanic development space.
Sustainable Islands: Defining a Sustainable Development Framework Tailored to the Needs of Islands
Like other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Caribbean Island economies have intrinsic characteristics that make them vulnerable to external shocks. The recent pandemic highlights the structural problems of small island economies. Due to their remote location and small size, islands lack economies of scale and rely on global supply chains, which are currently disrupted. Islands depend either on service-based economic activities like tourism, which are being affected during the current crisis, or on a single commodity, which makes them extremely vulnerable. Islands must rethink their approach to development, adopting one of sustainable development.
The Sustainable Islands Platform aims to create a new approach that targets the needs of Caribbean islands and prescribes circular economy-inspired interventions in key areas such as sanitation, waste management, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, energy, transportation, and health. Traditional approaches have not proven successful in solving developing problems on SIDS. Therefore, a new concept that considers islands in a new way should be considered