Local2030 Islands Network

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Local2030 Islands Network image
Local2030 Islands Network image

report from Sammi Gowthorp
Community Services Coordinator

I recently returned from an incredible trip where I was invited to attend the Local2030 Islands Network gathering in Honolulu. My trip was generously funded by the Network and their US government technical partners NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). The event brought together over 180 participants, including organisations and government representatives from more than 42 islands around the world.

The Local2030 Islands Network provides a platform for islands globally to collaborate on achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It focuses on the unique challenges and opportunities of islands, promoting resilience and sustainability through both local and global partnerships. A hub for sharing best practices, through the exchange of innovative ideas to suit the geographic, cultural, and economic contexts of islands.

At the gathering for the Community of Practice in Sustainable and Regenerative Tourism, I had the privilege of presenting our 'Islander Way' project. The presentation and sharing of our island stories were well received, especially the aspects highlighting how communities can lead through community-led and community-driven initiatives.

Throughout the gathering, and through numerous conversations, it became evident that many island communities worldwide are grappling with the challenges of overtourism. We explored topics and concepts such as visitor taxes, carrying capacities, the circular economy, cruise ship visits, food security, improving infrastructure, community health and wellbeing, and preserving cultural heritage.

While tourism brings important economic benefits, it can also strain local resources and communities. This reflection brought me back to the core question of our Islander Way project: 'How can we protect all that is precious to us, while sharing it with people from away?'

I was particularly inspired by several island projects that benefit communities economically and involve visitors to create a positive impact:

  • 'Regenerative Vanua' in Vanuatu an agritourism project, revitalising traditional practices for environmental and cultural sustainability.
  • 'Guam Green Growth' is advancing entrepreneurial initiatives based on the circular economy, aiming to minimise waste by repurposing resources.
  • '4VI' on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, is a social enterprise committed to ensuring that travel is a force for good.
  • 'Terraformation' at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, where endangered, endemic seeds are collected, saved and rewilded.

I look forward to continuing the conversations and building upon the relationships that I formed in Honolulu. The Local2030 Network also has Communities of Practice in Clean Energy, Climate, and Water, providing a framework for sharing knowledge and resources that can help us tackle some of the most pressing environmental challenges.

Hobart City Council is actively participating in the Network, leveraging these opportunities to enhance local sustainability initiatives. I am hopeful that Flinders can join as well. As islanders, our unique challenges and experiences grant us a vital and enriching perspective in these global conversations.

Sammi Gowthorp
Community Services Coordinator

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