Last February OCTA participated in the GLISPA (The Global Island Partnership) Steering Committee (SC) which took place in Arlington, Virginia. Mira Kleist, Co-chair of OCTA Environment Working group, and Benito Wheatley, Deputy Director of the BVI office in London, attended as representatives of OCTA.
GLISPA is a global platform that enables islands to work together to develop solutions to common problems and to take high-level commitments and actions that address these global challenges. One of its main objectives is to ensure conservation and sustainable use of island natural resources that support people, cultures and livelihoods in their island homes around the world. Until now more than 60 governments of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), large island countries, countries with islands, overseas territories, as well as multi and bilateral agencies, and international, national and regional organizations have worked with GLISPA to advance high-level commitments and on the ground action for island conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
Thus far, GLISPA activities have focused on outreach sessions to entities in the UN, the EU and NGOs with Ambassador Jumeau as the official representative of GLISPA, Permanent Representative of the Seychelles to the United Nations and Ambassador to the United States since 2007.
OCTA therefore, recognized the importance of participating in the GLISPA SC to explore the possibility to establish a strengthened partnership with GLISPA. The GLISPA platform, in fact, could provide a valuable channel for international outreach, a wider network and possibility to promote island leadership and knowledge sharing. In this regard, it is important to notice the key subject chosen for the GLISPA Strategy 2014-2016, “Building resilience and sustainable island communities through innovative partnerships”, which recalls important cooperation priority areas shared by OCTs.
The 2014 Steering Committee meeting was organized in Working Groups covering different themes such as: Italian EU Presidency contribution to GLISPA, Blue/Green Economy, Ecosystem Based Adaptation and Ecosystem Based Mitigation and Invasive Alien Species. Under this latter working group special attention was given to GLISPA’s proposal to develop a joint regional strategy to address the issue of invasive alien species in the Caribbean region.
The agenda of the GLISPA SC also highlighted the important events planned for 2014 including: the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Conference taking place in Samoa in September during which GLISPA plans to organize a high-level side event to put island partnership in focus; the World Wide Voyage (WWV) initiative has the primary aim to create awareness of the impacts of climate change on islands and the International Conference on Biodiversity and Climate Change in the EU Overseas, taking place in Guadeloupe.
All in all, the GLISPA SC meeting brought light to their forthcoming strategy wherein some events and objectives could be of interest and in alignment with OCTA.