Islands-led global initiative hosts first Leaders meeting in Palau

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The Local2030 Islands Network held its first in person high-level meeting, co-chaired by Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry in the margins of the Our Oceans Conference, currently being hosted by Palau.

“We are very proud to be part of this Network, and also represented through various US islands and territories such as Hawai’i and Guam. Islands are taking the lead in advancing clean energy solutions and building climate resilience. I am here to connect with island leaders and reinforce our important relationships to further enable the innovations being pioneered by those on the frontlines of the climate crisis.” said Envoy Kerry.

President Whipps and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Kerry were joined at the in person gathering by Leaders, Ministers and other senior officials from fellow island members of the network including the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Grenada, Guam, Hawai’i and Ireland, as well as observers to the meeting such as New Zealand and Australia.

Antigua and Barbuda officially joined as the newest member of the Network. “As Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, we know the value of islands working together” said Ambassador Conrod Hunte of Antigua and Barbuda.

“We are happy to join a Network that is all islands focussed on SDGs, island leadership and island solutions.” he added.

Members shared a wide variety of updates at the meeting, including the adoption of new marine conservation goals, progress on achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the mainstreaming of climate change action throughout governmental policy.

President Whipps announced a new virtual dashboard that tracks his country’s priority Sustainable Development Goals, but with localised metrics relevant to the people of Palau.

“Our dashboard can serve as a model for other islands in how to display their own aspirations and ensure their own internal accountability. We are grateful to the technical support of ESRI in assisting with data storage and building out a central resource to host our dashboard.” said President Whipps.

ESRI, a partner to the Local2030 Islands Network, pledged to make this centralized Data Hub available to all members of the Network through the Secretariat, to create their own island SDG dashboards tailored to individual island needs.

This first Members gathering set the stage for future high-level meetings to be held throughout the year. Members pledged to take concrete action in support of joint objectives, agreeing to:

*Position the network to support policy and action to achieve the SDGs through island values and innovation

*Grow network membership to represent the global diversity of island economies and strategic partners to help achieve goals

*Launch and support Communities of Practice (CoPs) on high priority issues.

Communities of Practice are interactive and member-driven sub-networks organised around specific topics relevant to islands. The Local2030 Islands Network have already established two CoPs around the topics of “Clean Energy” and “Climate Data” and announced the launch of a third on “Sustainable Tourism” at the meeting.

SOURCE: LOCAL2030 ISLANDS NETWORK SECRETARIAT/PACNEWS