The towns and cities of small island and archipelago-based nations are some of the most vulnerable, diverse, and rapidly growing urban centres anywhere in the world, acting as crucial gateways to sustainable development for the citizens of small island developing states. Yet they are often overlooked by international urban resilience policies and programs due to the small populations involved.
To address this gap, ICLEI has launched a special Community for Towns, Cities and Provinces of Small Island States. This initiative was announced by Deputy Mayor Eddie Ngava of Honiara, Solomon Islands, at the closing plenary of the ICLEI Resilient Cities 2016 congress held in Bonn, Germany.
“Cities like Honiara are the first victims of climate change and contribute only marginally to global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet they receive little support and recognition for strengthening their resilience” said Cr Ngava.
He stressed that once priority resilience building actions are identified, cities in small islands need strong leaders who can champion these challenges and rally stakeholders around the topic. They also need finance to take action and, importantly, trained staff with the capacity to implement projects. However, in many of these cities, municipal employees are often already overwhelmed and do not have the capacity – and often the expertise – to take on these tasks. Cities are therefore reaching out for external support and seeking to establish partnerships and knowledge networks.
The ICLEI Community will provide a forum for island leaders to gain access to critical information as well as support tools and programs, to exchange experience and expertise, collaborate in developing resilience-building projects and securing funding, and to advocate on behalf of the Community at regional and global events.
The Community will be supported by the ICLEI global network of cities and programs.
Cr Ngava has been nominated as the Small Islands portfolio holder on the ICLEI Global Executive Committee. He will provide the link from the Small Islands Community into ICLEI global strategies.
Following the launch of the Community ICLEI is now inviting leaders of island municipal authorities to apply to join. Potential partner organizations who may be interested in supporting, endorsing or sponsoring the Community are also invited to contact ICLEI.
For more information or to apply to join the Community go to www.iclei.org/activities/agendas/resilient-city/community-for-towns-cities-and-provinces-of-small-islands-developing-states.html or contact Steve Gawler, firstname.lastname@example.org