Tuesday, March 4, 2014

GLISPA's The Year of Leadership, Commitment & Action by Ambassador Ronny Jumeau

Dear GLISPA friends,

It gives me great pleasure to announce that H.E. Dr. The Right Honorable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister Grenada, has accepted the invitation from my President, H.E. James Michel of the Republic of Seychelles, and H.E. Tommy Remengesau Jr., President of the Republic of Palau, to be a Co-Chair of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA).

Ambassador Ronald Jumeau

In early 2013, Prime Minister Mitchell co-hosted the Caribbean Summit of Political and Business Leaders alongside The Right Honorable Orlando Smith, Premier of the British Virgin Islands, and Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group. This Summit brought visionary political leaders of Caribbean governments and territories together with responsible business leaders to take action to protect at least 20% of the Caribbean’s marine and coastal environment by 2020 (“20 by 20”).

Prime Minister Mitchell was sworn in as PM for the fourth time in February 2013, having held the position from 1995 to 2008. In 2006, at the same event that launched GLISPA, Grenada, under the decisive leadership of Prime Minister Mitchell, committed to conserve 25% of its marine and 25% of its terrestrial areas by 2020[i]. This commitment then inspired the Caribbean Challenge Initiative which has since resulted in “20 by 20” commitments from the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. I continue to be inspired by the leadership of Prime Minister Mitchell as he works with the leaders of the Caribbean to achieve this goal.

We also welcome H.E. Dr. Denis Antoine, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations for Grenada as the representative of Prime Minister Mitchell on the GLISPA Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will also continue to benefit from the guidance of Dr. Spencer Thomas, Grenada’s Ambassador and Special Envoy for Multilateral Environmental Agreements who has been an integral participant of this Committee since the Partnership was launched. As Chair of the Steering Committee I can affirm that the full Committee will look forward to the ongoing contributions and strategic direction from Grenada as we move forward into an exciting year for islands globally.

As a result of the GLISPA Steering Committee meeting held in Washington D.C. last week, I am honored to also announce that H.E. Dr. Caleb Otto, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations for the Republic of Palau, has, as representative of the President of Palau to the Steering Committee, also accepted the new role of Vice-Chair of GLISPA Steering Committee. Ambassador Otto and I will represent the GLISPA Steering Committee at relevant events to ensure our vision for island conservation and sustainable livelihoods is achieved.

This year, the International Year of Small Island Developing States, presents a unique opportunity to celebrate our rich cultures, diversity and heritage of islands. The 22 May International Day of Biological Diversity: Island Biodiversity provides a unique opportunity to showcase the bright spots emerging from islands globally that can be scaled and replicated to achieve global conservation and sustainable development targets. 2014 is a year to recognize our own successes as a Global Island Partnership that has already catalyzed more than $130 million for island conservation and sustainable livelihoods. Let us continue to work together to inspire new leadership from island countries and countries with islands and to catalyze significant new commitments to building resilient island communities towards the Third International Meeting of Small Island Developing States (UNSIDS) in Samoa in September.

The time for action is now:

· Demonstrate your leadership by making, promoting or supporting to implement visionary high-level island commitments

· Invest in What Works: invest in scaling and replicating island bright spots

· Celebrate the International Day of Biological Diversity: Island Biodiversity, 22 May 2014

· Get involved and support the Global Island Partnership http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/connecting-island-leaders-glispa/