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 program pillars:

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.

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