The Global Island Database aims to enhance the participation and role of islands in international decision-making through identifying and bringing together existing sources of data and information relevant to island systems, and presenting new analyses to aid resource managers and decision-making at the island, national, regional, and global level.
The GID also aims to develop linkages, partnerships and collaborations with the wide array of organisations involved in island conservation and decision-making to ensure that the database is up-to-date and relevant, and so it provides a platform for communication and networking.
Islands are oases of natural beauty with unique wildlife and varied land- and seascapes, and around the world they are steeped in rich culture and traditions. The Earth is home to more than 130,000 islands which host more than 500 million people. Islands maintain many of the world’s most unique and vulnerable plants, animals and ecosystems, while also playing an important role in the health, welfare and cultural diversity of the people living there.
Island nations and communities struggle with a variety of challenges, which are not unique, but many of which are exacerbated by the particular conditions found on islands. Impacts may be felt more quickly and to a higher degree than on the mainland, and for many islands these challenges are made more difficult by isolation and limited human resources.
At the 2007 workshop of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), attended by a range of stakeholders, NGOs, governments and UN bodies, one of the identified priorities was the need for improved exchange of information and collaboration between islands, and between islands and other international entities. Workshop participants agreed that this could be accomplished through a Global Island Database, and saw this as an opportunity to not only monitor islands, but as a tool for islands to assist in meeting reporting requirements of the various multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), and commitments made in international fora (e.g. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Programme of Work on Island Biodiversity, UNEP Governing Council decisions, UNESCO World Heritage Sites).
UNEP-WCMC, with partners, was requested by GLISPA and its partners to develop a database and strategy for maximising its utility, accessibility and relevancy to inform and advance the global island debate, and to support decision makers and island resource managers.
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