Greening the Islands Foundation

Global Island News Roundup: New Global Advancements in Support of Small Island States

In this round-up: a landmark court ruling that is a major climate justice win for island states; the launch of a new fund aiming to tackle island environmental degradation through nature-based solutions; how well-managed migration can enhance islands’ resilience and prosperity.

Greenhouse gases classified as marine pollution in big court victory for island states

The recent ruling by a global maritime court in Berlin on May 21, which classified greenhouse gases as marine pollution, was met with appreciation and support from small island states. This decision is seen as a significant advancement for these nations, which are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of rising sea levels caused by global warming. By acknowledging the environmental challenges faced by island nations, this ruling not only sets a legal precedent but also demonstrates a commitment to addressing global climate issues. It serves as a noteworthy example of environmental justice being upheld on an international platform. Importantly, it establishes a legal framework for holding those responsible for marine environmental damage accountable. Furthermore, the ruling has the potential to inspire similar legal actions worldwide, contributing to broader efforts to address climate change on a global scale.


Fresh $135 million from SIDS4 to tackle island environmental degradation

On May 28, the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) jointly launched the $135 million Blue and Green Islands Integrated Programme (BGI-IP) at the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) in Antigua and Barbuda. This initiative is designed to combat island environmental degradation by promoting nature-based solutions in urban development, food production, and tourism. With a focus on fifteen SIDS, the program aims to facilitate nature-positive transformations. Supported by GEF and overseen by UNDP, it represents a significant new wave of assistance for SIDS during the Decade of Action from 2024 to 2034. Furthermore, the initiative underscores the importance of building resilience against the impacts of climate change and fostering sustainable economic growth. By concentrating on these solutions, the program aims to establish models that can be replicated in other vulnerable regions worldwide.


Harnessing the potential of migration for SIDS resilience and prosperity

As SIDS4 opened, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) emphasised the significance of effectively managed migration in contributing to the sustainable development of SIDS. Migration is tied to islands socially, economically, historically and culturally. According to the IOM, SIDS are home to 3.81 million international migrants and are countries of origin of nearly 10 million migrants. The IOM underscores the potential of strategic migration pathways in assisting these nations in addressing demographic challenges, diversifying their economies, and mitigating the impact of brain drain. Leveraging skills, networks, economic and cultural capital can boost progress and growth for SIDS. Safe, orderly and regular migration pathways, including enhanced labour migration between small islands, can help navigate demographic challenges and support economic diversification.  Well-managed migration can also be built into adaptation and mitigation solutions for climate and environmental resilience, and drive solutions to displacement. 


In summary, these advancements signify important strides in tackling the complex challenges encountered by SIDS. As island nations persist in managing the effects of climate change, environmental decline, and demographic changes, international endeavours of this nature are imperative for fostering their sustainable development and resilience.

Jacques Damhuis

Jacques Damhuis

On Key

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