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With over 600 million people, the world’s island communities and their surrounding oceans cover one-sixth of the earth’s total area. These islands, aside from their varied climates and cultures, have much in common in terms of both the opportunities and challenges they face. Over two-thirds of the world’s nations include islands and out of the 34 richest biodiversity areas worldwide, 10 are on islands. We live on a world of islands, but with long distances and high costs of travel, it can often be challenging for islanders to interact and learn one another.

With online communications and ever-improving digital links, there is now an opportunity to do things differently. That’s why Island Innovation is launching the first-ever Virtual Island Summit, a free and entirely online event designed to connect global islands to share common experiences through a digital platform. We will be bringing together leading experts from islands from the Arctic to small island developing states (SIDS) to discuss commonalities across these islands and how we can build “digital bridges” to better share information. An added value is, of course, that we can claim to be a carbon-neutral conference while also maximizing accessibility for a diverse audience. Keep an eye on this newsletter for your opportunity to register and see below for opportunities to nominate speakers or become a sponsor.

Islands need solutions to pressing issues arising from climate change and globalization. But they can also offer answers. We will continue to push for opportunities for islands to share information and highlight good practices from around the world. We can learn a lot from our partners at the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA). Launched in 2006, GLISPA facilitates leadership for islands, building global partnerships that help island nations to cultivate sustainable development practices, and help gather global support for sustainable development in island communities. Listen to Executive Director Kate Brown, who will also be speaking at the Virtual Island Summit, in her recent interview with Radio New Zealand for some inspiration and ideas about the opportunities ahead!

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This occasional newsletter highlights events and stories about innovation in sustainable development for rural, remote and island regions. We want to change the discourse to demonstrate how islandness can be a driver for innovation.

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