For many of us, the devastating effects of climate change and extreme weather events, such as “turbocharged” hurricanes and sea level rise, are already a reality that is imposing socio-economic challenges for our people and communities.
This virtual summit reminds us that we are not facing these challenges alone. The diversity in participating island nations and speakers from around the world also provides a unique opportunity to create a global digital alliance of island communities geared towards innovative solutions for our shared vulnerabilities.”
Former Prime Minister of Aruba, the Rt. Hon. Mike Eman, who is also speaking at the summit, greeted the launch with enthusiasm saying:
“The Virtual Island Summit is bringing together island communities from around the world with a shared purpose of making their islands more sustainable, more prosperous and securing well-being for all of their citizens.
This is a fantastic opportunity to exchange information between islands facing similar challenges and opportunities, and I am looking forward to sharing my own experiences and learning from all attending.”
Confirmed speakers include former Australian Senator Christine Milne from Tasmania, who was the second woman to lead an Australian political party; Godfrey Baldacchino, a world-renowned academic in Island Studies at the University of Malta; James Stockan, leader of the Orkney Islands Council; Laura Watts, author of “Energy at the End of the World: an Orkney Islands Saga”; Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation; and from the OECS Commission Judith Ephraim, OECS Sustainable Energy Coordinator and Crispin D’Auvergne, OECS Climate Change Coordinator.
Other speakers hail from island nations as diverse as Fiji, Jamaica, Greenland, Madagascar, the Isle of Man, Mauritius, Taiwan, Martinique, Tierra del Fuego, Cape Verde and Japan.
Founder of the Island Innovation, James Ellsmoor, said:
“The Virtual Island Summit will recreate an in-person conference experience to the extent possible, maximising opportunities to exchange information between attendees. Not only that, but we are avoiding greenhouse gas emissions by moving to an online platform – demonstrating how technology can now be used to eliminate the need for much business travel.”
The summit is completely free to the public and organisers already expect over 5,000 registered guests.