Areas of Focus

In 1987 the Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

At its core, sustainability is about economic growth while responsibly preserving natural and national resources. Thus sustainable development links economic prosperity with environmental stewardship, social equity, and cultural diversity. For small island nations these linkages are even more pronounced due to their geographic isolation.

The Small Island States Foundation funds applied research projects around the world whose findings can be translated into actionable public policy proposals that are widely applicable among small island developing states. Priority is placed on projects that investigate:

Sustainable economic development

  • Best practices that reduce the high cost of energy, transportation, infrastructure, communication, and services on islands
  • Human and institutional capacity building that reduces the marginalization of island economies and increases their competitiveness in international trade
  • Opportunities to expand the private sector and decrease small island states’ reliance on the public sector

Environmental protection

  • Means of decreasing the pressure on freshwater and other island natural resources, more effectively processing wastes, and reducing pollution and the destruction of fragile ecosystems
  • Ways to mitigate small islands’ susceptibility to natural disasters

Social justice

  • Effective methods and policies to alleviate poverty within an island context
  • Means to preserve and promote the cultural diversity of small island developing states