Islands and COVID-19: A Global Survey

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This report is the result of a survey conducted by the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance to better understand how COVID-19 was being dealt with on islands.

On 22 March 2020 the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG) started a survey aiming to better understand how COVID-19 was being dealt with on islands. SCELG partnered with Island Innovation and together they reached out to their island network.

The report highlights trends during the containment phase of the pandemic and lays out some practical recommendations for island policy makers and stakeholders in moving beyond COVID-19. With information from 83 islands in 52 countries around the world, the reports presents some key messages followed by a more detailed analysis of the answers to each of the survey questions. The final part of the report opens a conversation and suggests a practical platform to move beyond COVID-19 in order to promote a more resilient and sustainable future.

Key Messages:

  • Overall, islands have performed very well and their population has been kept safe and away from the worse health consequences of COVID-19. While the island geography has helped, the success of islands during COVID-19 was also due to timely and stringent measures adopted throughout the lockdown period.
  • The pandemic has revealed the fragility of some island socio-economic assets such as, amongst others, tourism, food security, heath and digital infrastructure.
  • An open and transparent debate needs to drive island post COVID-19 recovery packages. The conversation needs to include key socio-economic stakeholders that have driven island society and economy before the pandemic and those that push for moving away from a business as usual model towards a more resilient and sustainable future.
  • Island post-COVID 19 recovery debates need to fully take into account the complexities of island jurisdiction (island states vs subnational island jurisdictions), island localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals and island efforts to drive a green energy transformation.
  • Islands engaging in an open and transparent post COVID-19 recovery debate aimed at promoting a more resilient and sustainable future need to fully embrace the opportunities given to them by digital innovation, without losing track of traditional knowledge and approaches, to bring together island communities.
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