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Policy implementation and the socio-political geography of small island contexts

Working paper

Written by William Waqavakatoga, Jack Corbett

Image credit:Namaka Municipal Market, Fiji. UN Women Asia and the Pacific. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have articulated an impressive development agenda on the global stage – one that belies the limited resources and fragmented nature of this disparate international community. However, getting SIDS’ concerns on the agenda is only the first step. Harder work lies in maintaining buy-in for sustained resources to support development for meaningful change. The success of the SIDS agenda rests on effective policy implementation.

This paper looks at the literatures in public administration and development studies for key insights on implementation, translating these insights for the socio-political geography of small island contexts and identifying the trade-offs that SIDS encounter in managing coordination and capacity for implementation. The paper includes examples of success and failure in navigating these trade-offs in practice to draw lessons for policy-makers in SIDS, and advocates ‘working with the grain’ to improve implementation by: leveraging social networks; collaborating with external actors; and working with existing institutional structures.

Authors: John Boswell, Marlene Jugl, Külli Sarapuu, William Waqavakatoga, Jack Corbett

William Waqavakatoga presented the initial draft of this paper at the SIDS Future Forum in March 2024. Timestamp 1:13:10


SIDS Future Forum 3