Greening the Islands Foundation

Global Island News Roundup: As Islands confront climate change devastation, the global pursuit of Resilience and Innovation continues 

In this round-up, island nations confront pressing climate-related issues, explore innovative financial approaches for sustainable development, and engage in important international dialogues on ocean conservation. This month’s news underscores vital measures being taken to enhance island resilience and safeguard the environment.

Panama evacuates first island in the face of rising sea levels


In the quiet island of Gardi Sugdub, Panama, a significant change is underway as approximately 300 families have to leave behind their coastal homes, marking a pivotal moment in the face of climate change. For generations, the Gunas have thrived in this picturesque haven, relying on the sea and tourism for their livelihood. However, they now need to make the transition to life on the mainland, compelled by the encroaching threat of rising sea levels.


The evacuation of Gardi Sugdub stands as a poignant symbol of the pressing challenges posed by climate change. It underscores the inescapable impact of global warming on the inhabitants of small islands and underscores the imperative for immediate and sustained international action to address environmental degradation and provide unwavering support to vulnerable communities.

This historic relocation not only reshapes the lives of the Gunas but also delivers a sombre reminder of the environmental crises enveloping numerous small islands across the globe. It serves to emphasise the critical nature of international climate commitments and the need for adaptive measures to safeguard the future of these communities.

Governments to meet at UN to discuss first ever “Ocean COP”


This week, governmental representatives gather at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to deliberate on the UN Ocean Treaty, a pivotal gathering since its opening for signatures in September 2023. The meeting focuses on bringing the Treaty to life, ahead of its entry into force which will happen once at least 60 countries ratify it.

As Greenpeace explains, delegates must make decisions to ensure a first “Ocean COP” will be able to progress the first high seas ocean sanctuary proposals and keep the target of protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 on track.

The UN Ocean Treaty seeks to institute a comprehensive framework for marine preservation, addressing pressing concerns such as overfishing, pollution, and the decline of biodiversity. An “Ocean COP” embodies a collaborative approach to protecting oceanic ecosystems and fostering the sustainable utilisation of marine resources.

Deliberations are anticipated to centre on enforcement mechanisms, financing for marine conservation initiatives, and strategies to alleviate the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems. Upon implementation, this treaty has the potential to serve as a cornerstone of international marine governance, ensuring the health and longevity of the oceans for generations to come.

Designing an innovative financial system to attract sustainable investment for SIDS


The Commonwealth Secretariat and Cambridge University’s Centre for Resilience and Sustainable Development (CRSD) have recently convened a joint workshop aimed at formulating a forward-looking financial framework to attract sustainable investment for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The workshop’s primary focus was to devise financial strategies that can assist SIDS in securing the essential investments required for sustainable development. This collaborative endeavour underscored the necessity for customised financial solutions tailored to address the distinctive vulnerabilities of SIDS, including their susceptibility to climate-related disturbances and economic dependence on limited industries.

In summary, diverse and innovative strategies are being implemented by island nations to address the urgent challenges of climate change, sustainability, and economic resilience. These include the historic evacuation of an island in Panama due to climate change, and the search for innovative financial mechanisms to promote sustainable investment in SIDS. Efforts to inaugurate an “Ocean COP” underscore the critical need for ongoing global assistance and cooperation in supporting island communities.

Jacques Damhuis

Jacques Damhuis

On Key

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