Issue 67 | 1 December 2022
In times of increasing climate pressures and economic uncertainties, business as usual is not an option for Small Island Developing States. SIDS are taking advantage of their strengths to transform these challenges into opportunities. Unique human capital, agile governance, and less legacy infrastructure than larger countries are all opportunities for innovation that leverages digital technologies and related assets such as data. Key innovations have been emerging from SIDS including the digital nation concept of Tuvalu, the legal identification of digital governance with DAO organizations in Marshall Islands, or Mauritius’s position with the highest Global Innovation Index rank in sub-Saharan Africa, supported by their National Innovation Framework.
The importance of innovation for SIDS cannot be understated, particularly recognizing the very tangible and immediate threats of climate change. These urgent threats could propel SIDS to become leaders in leveraging innovation to demonstrate a truly inclusive Green Transition, using technology to advance prosperity, sustainability, and social equity. Innovation, therefore, can be SIDS’ greatest asset and opportunity - as long as it is founded and driven by the needs, realities, and aspirations of their citizens.
For SIDS, six key innovation catalysts can be identified: reduced barriers to participation in innovation, the potential afforded by data and insight, a focus on citizen needs and leaving no one behind, foundational digital innovation infrastructure that is driving change, the role of leadership within—and beyond—government, and the importance of governance. These catalysts for innovation are key to advancing a new mode of development based in the accelerators of climate action, digital transformation, and the transition to sustainable and inclusive blue economy.
Image: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Flickr
Read the full SIDS Bulletin 67 here.