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Small Islands Big Picture episode 1: Why do small islands matter?

Written by Emily Wilkinson, Matthew Bishop, Courtney Lindsay


Small Islands Big Picture” is a new podcast from ODI and the Resilient and Sustainable Islands Initiative (RESI), which shines a spotlight on the unique challenges and remarkable resilience of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) around the world.

Small Island Developing States are vitally important to earth. They are custodians of some of the largest exclusive economic zones in the world, and are home to 20% of all plant, bird and reptile species. Despite producing less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, SIDS are disproportionally influential in international climate change negotiations – having played a key role in the inclusion of the 1.5 degree global warming threshold in the Paris Agreement.

However, SIDS are being hit hard and fast by the effects of climate change. Many are located in the tropics, meaning they are low lying, with high temperatures and extensive rainfall. Despite often having high income levels – which further hinders their access to concessional finance – many SIDS have small single-focus economies based on tourism, and their exposure to exogenous shocks mean SIDS are amongst the most heavily indebted countries in the world.

In this first episode, hosts and RESI directors Emily Wilkinson and Matthew Bishop explain the ways in which SIDS are some of the most distinctive societies on earth – and why a podcast that helps to amplify SIDS' voices is needed. In "Island Voices", Courtney Lindsay explains why the RESI programme is important. In "The Big Picture", Michai Robertson speaks from behind the scenes at the Bonn Climate Conference. In "No Stupid Questions", Emily and Matt debunk the all-too prevalent myth that many SIDS are not deserving of international aid.


  • Emily Wilkinson (host) | RESI Director and Senior Research Fellow at ODI
  • Matthew Bishop (host) | RESI Director and Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield
  • Courtney Lindsay | RESI Director and Senior Research Officer and ODI
  • Michai Robertson | Antigua-Barbuda negotiator at the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)


Listen and subscribe to Small Islands Big Picture on: Acast, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and Spotify