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Small Islands Big Picture episode 3: What are the distinctive challenges faced by small non-sovereign islands?

Written by Emily Wilkinson, Matthew Bishop, Jack Corbett


Many Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are non-independent territories or ‘sub-national island jurisdictions’ (SNIJs), meaning they do not possess full political independence or sovereignty. For these non-sovereign islands, there are specific challenges when it comes to accessing financing to build climate resilience.

In this episode of "Small Islands Big Picture", Emily and Matt discuss a special group of small islands: non-independent territories or "sub-national island jurisdictions" (SNIJs). They explain the great diversity that exists amongst these non-sovereign islands in terms of levels of development and depth of integration with metropolitan powers like Britain, France, the Netherlands and the United States.

Jack Corbett talks about the trade-offs and tensions that typify life as a SNIJ, and in “Island Voices” Genève Phillip shares her experience of researching Dutch overseas territories and now living in the Cayman Islands.

In “The Big Picture”, Benito Wheatley and Peter Clegg explain what listeners should know about non-sovereign island territories. In “No Stupid Questions”, Emily and Matt ask 'Why are non-sovereign territories not becoming independent?'.


  • Emily Wilkinson (host) | RESI Director and Senior Research Fellow at ODI
  • Matthew Bishop (host) | RESI Director and Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield
  • Jack Corbett | RESI Co-Director and Head of the School of Social Sciences at Monash University in Australia
  • Genève Phillip | Interim Provost and Vice-President of Academic Affairs at the University College of the Cayman Islands
  • Benito Wheatley | Special Envoy of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Government
  • Professor Peter Clegg | Head of the School of Social Sciences at the University of the West of England


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