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The world is more interconnected than ever thanks to the internet and digital technologies. The internet today connects roughly 4.5 billion people around the globe, enabling a digital revolution that has become an integral part of our personal and work life – for better and for worse. As a result, digital concerns are at the heart of many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Good health, gender equality, sustainable cities, and quality education among others, at least partly require a strong digital economy as information becomes the “New Oil” that drives the modern world. For island nations, digital technologies present even bigger opportunities.

For the world’s largely dispersed islands with common ocean resources and similar economic challenges, leveraging digital technologies advancing their economic development agenda and tackle climate change. As nations and communities that are already at the forefront of climate change advocacy and initiatives, despite their meager contribution to CO2 emissions, digital connectivity could be yet another avenue for island communities to contribute towards fighting climate change.

The road to digital connectivity for island nations has already begun with the recent Virtual Island Summit. The event brought together over 100 experts from around the world with nearly 4,000 participants to discuss the best sustainable practices and relevant issues for island nations. Ultimately, we demonstrated how technology can be used to reduce the need for travel and increase the opportunities for participation of diverse groups from the grassroots to national political leaders.

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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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