The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face large economic, social, and environmental challenges compounded by climate change. Two-thirds of the countries that suffer the highest relative disaster losses are SIDS. The distinct characteristics of SIDS, including their size, geographic remoteness and vulnerability to environmental threats, pose particular challenges to their development. Resilient infrastructure is a key driver in not only mitigating these challenges but also in meeting the development aspirations of SIDS. More investment and improved institutional capacity for infrastructure systems is urgently needed if SIDS are to maintain their sustainability and effectiveness in service delivery momentum and respond to disaster and climate change risks effectively
Against this background, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) has proposed a dedicated initiative, Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS), which will work to achieve sustainable development through a systematic approach to promote resilient, sustainable, and inclusive infrastructure in SIDS. While the SIDS are already taking actions to implement the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) pathway, there is a need for broader partnerships for resilient island nations. IRIS can be a timely and urgently needed response to the increasingly hazardous geological and climatic risks being faced by numerous SIDS and their infrastructure that is critical to their economies.
IRIS is envisioned to truly serve the needs of SIDS and truly owned by SIDS. Underpinned on the spirit of co-creation, IRIS is co-curated by SIDS representatives and CDRI partners. The CDRI has been working closely with its members India, UK and Australia and SIDS representatives in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean regions and they have all contributed to the process of co-creating IRIS. Besides this, CDRI has also received support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and US Agency for International Development (USAID) with deep experience in the SIDS in co-creating this initiative. IRIS will work in synergy with other ongoing efforts in SIDS and strive to add value to it.
IRIS is a unique initiative in being a co-curated, demand driven and SIDS governed global programme dedicated to promote resilient, sustainable and inclusive infrastructure in SIDS. IRIS will be launched at the World Leader’s Summit at COP26 on 2 November 2021, with SIDS representatives and donor countries announcing their support and commitment towards this initiative.