Highlights from the Panorama: Island Solutions Webinar
On August 8, the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) and The Panorama Initiative of IUCN and the GIZ hosted a webinar on island solutions. The Panorama Initiative recognizes inspiring success stories of conservation and sustainability. The Initiative is building a searchable database of case studies (solutionsexplorer.org), which will be launched at the World Conservation Congress in September. Each of the four presenters in this webinar focused on the key elements – “building blocks” that make a solution successful.
Yabanex Batista spoke as the CEO of the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF), a finance architecture that channels sustainable financing to eight national conservation trusts funds to meet the Caribbean Challenge Initiative’s conservation targets. He highlighted the importance of gathering political will and admitted frankly that there is no way around this lengthy process (in this case eight years). Furthermore, the CBF has done very well at striking a particularly difficult balance between involving government in national conservation trusts, but also ensuring that they remain independent from government to maintain continuity in the face of changing political winds.
Willy Kostka, Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), spoke on behalf of the Micronesia Challenge (MC). He pointed out that for the MC, high level political leadership, strong local and international partners. Having a the Micronesia Conservation Trust as a regional trust fund already in place to become the trustee when the MC was announced was important, as well creating a sustainable financing plan that includes local endowment funds, Green Fees, tourism fees, and other financing strategies.
Celeste Connors is the Director of Hawai’i Green Growth, the backbone organization of over 100 public and private partners that support the the Aloha+ Challenge – Hawai’i’s six statewide 2030 sustainability goals to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. She emphasized that while the Aloha+ Challenge looks at modern challenges, the bedrock of this challenge comes from Hawai’ian cultural values that have a much older history of sustainability. For launching Aloha+ in 2013, it was also essential to have not only the current and former governors sign on to the challenge, but also all four county mayors and the head of the Office of Hawai’ian Affairs, in order to guarantee broad support. An innovative online dashboard tracks the progress towards the 2030 targets, and elected officials and partners now use this dashboard to hold themselves accountable and communicate their progress.
Kate Brown, Executive Director of the Global Island Partnership, emphasized that each of the three solutions have been very successful at mobilizing high level political will and maintaining that commitment over the course of multiple election cycles. Moreover, Aloha+ (2011) and the CCI (2013) were replicated because of the MC’s success (MC was launched in 2006), and all three challenge initiatives continue to learn from each other. Catalyzing that kind of leadership, sharing lessons, and supporting backbone organizations like Hawai’i Green Growth, MCT, and CBF has been GLISPA’s strategic priorities from the beginning. This year GLISPA celebrates its 10-year anniversary and is working towards mobilizing not just conservation, but more whole-island sustainability commitments.