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Resilient and Sustainable Islands Initiative (RESI)

RESI is a global advisory network based at ODI, working with Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and their partners to frame policy problems, influence international institutions and find solutions to growing sustainability challenges in small islands. RESI aims to improve the conditions under which SIDS can achieve financial sustainability, environmental justice, international alliances and equitable societies.

RESI Directors

  • Portrait of Emily Wilkinson

    Emily Wilkinson

    Senior Research Fellow and Director, Resilient and Sustainable Islands Initiative

  • Portrait of Courtney Lindsay

    Courtney Lindsay

    Senior Research Officer

  • Portrait of George Carter

    George Carter

    Research Fellow in Geopolitics and Regionalism at the Department of Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University

  • Portrait of Michelle Scobie

    Michelle Scobie

    Senior lecturer and researcher, Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine

  • Portrait of Jack Corbett

    Jack Corbett

    Professor and Head of the School of Social Sciences at Monash University, Australia

  • Portrait of Rachid Bouhia

    Rachid Bouhia

    Economic Affairs Officer, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

  • Portrait of Matthew Bishop

    Matthew Bishop

    Senior lecturer in International Politics at the University of Sheffield

RESI Affiliates

Watch now: Climate justice and the role of international law

In November 2022, Vanuatu published a draft UN resolution requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on states’ legal obligation for climate action, and the consequences of causing harm. While ICJ, which is the UN’s main judiciary arm, has no binding authority, it could strengthen vulnerable countries’ position in international negotiations.

This online event, hosted in February 2023 by RESI, brought legal, human rights, climate change and international development specialists together to discuss this and other multilateral initiatives, as well as lessons from national climate litigation. The Spanish version is available here.

Insights on Small Island Developing States

In this blog series, RESI Directors examine the particular challenges facing Small Island Developing States. They highlight opportunities for creating more favourable international conditions for their resilience and sustainable development.

RESI Reports

RESI Podcasts

Think Change podcast: climate loss and damage – who should pay?

Think Change episode 14: climate loss and damage – who should pay?

This episode explores why loss and damage is a key focus of COP27 negotiations through the perspective of Small Island Developing States.
Listen now

Caribbean Comeback

How Caribbean countries are recovering from hurricanes and volcanic crises, adapting to climate change, and producing lessons for Covid-19 recovery around the world.

This podcast is hosted by Jamaican journalist Paula-Anne Porter Jones, in conversation with co-directors of the Caribbean Resilience and Recovery Knowledge Network (CRRKN) Emily Wilkinson from ODI, and Donovan Campbell from The University of the West Indies.

Listen now

Caribbean Comeback logo

RESI Events

Small island nations call for deep reform of climate finance

The Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout have been disastrous for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which were already highly vulnerable to climate change and other shocks and stresses. A policy roundtable at ODI on 28 July 2021, convened by Courtenay Rattray, High Representative, UNOHRLLS, and Dr Emily Wilkinson, Senior Research Fellow, ODI, examined SIDS’ special case for finance and debt relief – and highlighted specific action areas that international donors and financial institutions could take to support SIDS, on the road to COP26 in Glasgow and beyond.

Find out more

Katina Rogers fishers Trinidad

At this online event, climate and trade negotiators discussed what’s on the negotiating table at COP26, the trade related implications and how development friendly outcomes can be secured.

Find out more

Shipping containers

H.E. Courtenay Rattray on how the international financial architecture could be adjusted to reflect SIDS’ realities

Mr Rattray of UNOHRLLS has suggested that sustainable access of SIDS to development finance cannot be achieved without progress in reforming the international debt architecture.

Coordinated action at the international level is key to addressing SIDS’ debt crisis: Baroness Patricia Scotland QC

At a recent ODI policy roundtable, Baronness Scotland said: “Simplified and more accessible global climate finance architecture, mechanisms and tools are needed to deliver international financial assistance and debt relief."

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, H.E. Gaston Browne, on why the run-up to COP26 is a critical moment for SIDS’ development partners

“The international community (should) create the enabling environment for us to climb to greater heights and achieve our ambitions."

In the media

Why a chain of tiny Pacific islands wants an international court opinion on responsibility for the climate crisis

Vanuatu and its partners are pursuing a ground-breaking diplomatic strategy and others will likely follow.

Read more
Drone in Vanuatu

The Caribbean must think carefully about how and where to ‘build back better’ after the hurricanes of 2017

"Building back better” to create more resilient societies is a laudable goal, but every country is different and there are no quick fixes.

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Opinion: To finance resilience in small states, governments and development partners must take some risks

After Hurricane Maria swept through Dominica in 2017, causing extensive damage to crops, livestock, and 90% of homes, and generating losses of 226% of its gross domestic product — this island of some 70,000 people set out a bold vision to become the world’s first climate-resilient nation

Find out more