Consultations in Palau, Fiji and Marshall Islands over the Island Resilience Initiative

The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) and the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) held consultative meetings in Palau and Fiji over the Island Resilience Initiative. The consultations in Marshall Islands are planned for early March.

The IRI is 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.

The Initiative defines Island Resilience as “the holistic, multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral approach to a broad spectrum of island challenges and opportunities, focused on a precovery mindset. Locally led, culturally appropriate and globally refined systemic island resilience against shocks and stresses allows islands of all types better plan, respond, recover and flourish.”

Precovery is defined as “the necessary planning and prevention to reduce ill effects of natural and/or man-made shocks or stresses and to preemptively speed the return to a normal state or condition of health, mind, being or strength, particularly within human communities and natural habitat.” It involves “the action or process of networking data, solutions, planning and investments, removing silos and weaving together practitioners and practice in mitigation, adaptation, community planning, sustainability, recovery, resilience and storytelling…”

The initiative aims to work with three Pacific islands (Palau, Fiji and Marshall 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.

    Minister of Fisheries, Hon.Semi Koroilavesau, closing the IRI Consultation in Fiji.

In closing the Fiji consultation meeting, which took place on the 31st January and 1st February 2018, the Minister of Fisheries, Hon.Semi Koroilavesau, said that the theme of strengthening partnership for resilience for these IRI Consultations is very appropriate and reminds us all that effective multi-sectoral partnership is imperative to ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth for Fiji’s economic and social resilience.

Speaking at the opening of the Consultation, Assistant Minister of Environment Ms. Lorna Eden, said that “Problems in our Islands are intertwined and interconnected, and require multi-sector solutions.  For example, poor Water quality can cause Health problems, discourage Tourism, and contribute to the decline of Coral Reefs. Disappearing Reefs harm Fisheries, threatening Food Security, and negatively impacts Tourism. Improving water quality requires investments in energy-intensive infrastructure (like water treatment plants).  But energy in the Islands is expensive, because it is typically produced by imported fossil fuels. And on top of all of this, current development approaches, tend to be ‘siloed’ or ‘tunnel visioned’, treating each of these problems in isolation instead of taking a more holistic approach.” To inspire the participants, Assistant Minister said, “the Region and the World is stronger when we work together – and it is up to us to strengthen our resolve to save our Islands from Catastrophic Consequences.”

Group Photo at the IRI Consultations in Palau.

The Palau consultations took place on the 24th and 25th January 2018. Writing after the workshop, Ms Charlene Mersai (National Environment Planner & Climate Change Coordinator at the Office of the President) said that “prior to the IRI workshop, we did not know how to engage the NSAs without causing more confusion or inadvertently setting up false expectations. I think the exercises we did at the workshop really helped all of us in the room to understand the value of the dashboard to Palau, and the region, how best we need to organize ourselves to get this done, given our existing challenges but also given our existing enabling conditions.”

Development of a Dashboard is a primary outcome of these consultations. The Dashboard will use the six IRI pillars (community, energy, environment, equity, food, water), and will be led by a national host/partner organization.