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Thanks for reading the Island Innovation newsletter! If you were forwarded this email or accessed it through a link, don't forget to subscribe here and stay up to date on the latest sustainability news from islands and remote regions around the world. 

ReadSmall Islands Do Matter, Here Is Why!

2019 has been a rollercoaster for islands around the world. We witnessed the hottest June in history and then in July the hottest month ever recorded. Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas, forcing thousands from their homes and caused food and water shortages. Parts of the Marshall Islands were evacuated due to king tides, just as a growing awareness in the US media picked up on the serious issue of nuclear waste buried on Enewetak Atoll.

But many island communities have seen great awareness of their unique needs. The launch of a National Plan for Scotland's Islands includes a comprehensive list of commitments and sets a direction of travel for the Scottish Government. It also provides a framework for action in order to meaningfully improve outcomes for island communities. Similar plans are underway in the Republic of Ireland, where the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs launched a consultation process to formulate a new national policy for development on the country's offshore islands.

ReadPrivate capital key to unlocking the energy transition in the Pacific Islands

Elsewhere, Dominica took steps towards tackling hurricanes proactively and to become the world’s first ‘hurricane-proof’ country. Nine countries in the Caribbean also came together to manage and eliminate toxic waste and chemicals as part of a $450 million initiative in partnership with the Global Environment Facility.

Many islands put sustainable development and climate change at the forefront of their governance, regional integration, and diplomatic decisions. Pacific Island leaders put climate change first at the China-Pacific islands forum held in Samoa. A number of summits, including the Caribbean Community conference in July, and the UN Summit on SIDS were also instrumental in rekindling sustainable development challenges specific to island nations, as well as a review of the SAMOA Pathway among many other measures.

ReadUSAID Commits $10M for Disaster Preparedness in the Caribbean 

Island nations will face climate change and sustainability challenges head-on as we move to 2020. The genesis of how these nations will tackle their future relations with the rest of the world already started when the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) ambassador Lois Young launched a rebuke to the world’s biggest polluters at the recent COP25 Summit held in Madrid - which was widely viewed as unsuccessful.
To create a platform for sharing these experiences, Island Innovation brought together island leaders, organizations, and communities from around the world to share their challenges, talk about solutions and share ideas on the way forward at the Virtual Island Summit in October. This event was free and entirely online, designed to connect global islands to share their common experiences through a digital platform.

As we enter 2020, we will continue to bring islanders together to share lessons and actions taken by that will help to chart the way forward. Keep an eye out for the upcoming announcement of dates for the Virtual Island Summit 2020 and more big opportunities in the year ahead!

Read: Indo-Pacific island states face increasing maritime security threats

Please take advantage of discussing today's topics further in the members-only Island Innovation Facebook Group and LinkedIn Group.

Thank you for reading,
James Ellsmoor

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Thank you to our top tier patrons for their kind support:
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Stockan (Orkney Islands Council) and Robert Stewart (Geophysx Jamaica).

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News coming soon on the
Virtual Island Summit 2020!

2019's unique event included almost 4,000 participants from over 250 islands participating from places as diverse as the Caribbean, Pacific, Arctic, Patagonia, Europe, Asia, the Indian Ocean and many more.

Click here to read the full report.

Watch the 2019 Recordings

Caribbean unites to tackle poor-quality medicines

At the Medicines Quality Control and Surveillance Department of the Caribbean Public Health Agency, medicines are tested to confirm their quality. Read More

Climate Action from the Islands: Mitigation and Adaptation Opportunities For Ambitious Islands.

Islands by nature being isolated, having relatively large coastal zones and marked by smaller low-lying landmasses are one of the most vulnerable to impacts of extreme and frequent weather events triggered by climate change. These have been disrupting islanders ways of life, creating water shortages, impacting their livelihoods and threatening their very existence.

Some energy stories from 2019

Interesting stories about energy from around the world: 

  • How hydrogen is transforming Scottish Orkney's islands into a mecca for renewable energy and lessons for the rest of the world.
  • The world’s most remote solar photovoltaic plant is supplying clean energy to the inhabitants of Easter Island.
  • The Caribbean island of Bonaire rolls out a battery storage system with plans for solar energy - as part of its journey to a 100% renewable energy.
  • Power Balance: Transitioning Solomon Islands from diesel to majority renewable energy by 2022.
  • Hydro Review: Small islands of Samoa lead renewable energy efforts.
  • The Caribbean’s untapped renewable energy potential.
  • How the island state Hawaii has positioned itself as a pioneer in the quest for a fossil-fuel-free future.
  • The Bahamas launches family islands solarization program.

Seychelles: The island nation with a novel way to tackle climate change

The East African nation swapped 5% of its national debt for a cash injection to fight the effects of climate change on the ocean. Read more.

How a heart-shaped island at the bottom of the world became home 

Grace Walsh on leaving her urban life in Dublin to run a farm in Tasmania, and work in community development. Read more.

Other stories worth sharing

A selection of stories relevant to innovation and sustainable development from around the world:

  • Caribbean member states endorse the first-ever Regional Strategic Framework for cooperation with IAEA.
  • The great power game in the Pacific: What Japan can do.
  • The lesson from China? "The Solomon Islands is not ready to deal with this giant."
  • These corals in Kiribati could survive climate change — and help save the world’s reefs.
  • Kiribati promises leading role on sustainable fisheries.
  • The Marshall Islands’ national crypto was inspired by the work of Block.One.
  • Chinese tourists are vital for tourism development of Pacific island countries.

Notes from a small island: the Syrian refugees who went to Bute

Once a popular holiday destination, the Scottish isle where Emma Irving hails from has suffered in recent decades. But four years ago, at Christmas, things started to change. Read more

Norfolk Island: The South Pacific island lost in time

The former penal colony's remnants in Kingston and its cemetery have been recognised as a World Heritage site – and for good reason.        Read more.

Thank you to everyone who has read, shared, supported and donated to help make this newsletter happen. I cannot thank you enough for your help and encouragement and look forward to seeing where this project will go!

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