DigitalGlobe and the Blue Guardians commit to providing the geospatial data, information and planning tools, technical assistance, and financial support as requested by specific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in order to develop national climate resilience strategies and attract sustainable investment into coastal communities, marine and fisheries conservation, and clean renewable energy projects. The goal is to promote the development of 39 sustainable island economies while increasing their resilience to climate change.
The Blue Guardians partnership includes multilateral development banks, leading private sector geospatial technology and data providers, and conservation NGOs. Each member of the Blue Guardians will commit in-kind technology or data to SIDS, along with technical support.
A key initial activity of the Blue Guardians partnership will be to conduct a climate change hazard and vulnerability assessment to identify and map the most vulnerable states, provinces, and cities for each SIDS. The vulnerability assessments will help SIDS governments identify priorities for coastal, marine, and energy resource management and investment. Ultimately, these priorities will inform national climate resilience strategies and a pipeline of sustainable investment projects to be developed by each SIDS government with support from the Blue Guardians.
To enable this work, the Blue Guardians will raise a $100 million multi-donor trust fund to be managed by the World Bank and an Executive Steering Committee comprised of SIDS members states. The trust fund will provide financial and technical support to SIDS to prepare their blue economies for sustainable investment. The Fund will be used in three ways: (1) The majority of funds will support individual SIDS in establishing or refining their climate resilience strategy. The strategy will be informed by the climate change hazard and vulnerability assessments, and additional environmental, social, and economic data provided by the Blue Guardians. The strategy will capture priorities for coastal, marine, and energy resource management. (2) The fund will also support the provision of specialized technical assistance, training, and capacity building (such as information technology, socio-economic and environmental data, and legal services) delivered by the Blue Guardians to SIDS government ministries of finance, environment, energy, tourism, disaster preparedness and response. (3) Finally, the trust fund will facilitate collaborative learning through peer-level expertise and resource exchange between SIDS governments, NGOs, and local, national, and regional private and public organizations via a web-based platform developed and maintained by the Blue Guardians. There will also be a focus on community education related to environment, natural resource management, and building resilience to climate change. In all cases, special emphasis will be placed on the inclusion of women in planning, leadership, and capacity building activities.
The goal of the trust fund is to create a management and policy foundation for SIDS to establish their own development priorities while having the necessary tools to make informed decisions regarding their blue resources as an engine of inclusive growth. Donors will benefit by leveraging a small investment (on average less than $2 million per SIDS) to ready SIDS for much larger and strategic investment into coastal areas, marine and fisheries conservation, and renewable energy projects.
Blue Guardians proposes an initial three-year program to catalyze a global process for climate smart planning, adaptation, and mitigation across all participating SIDS and coastal communities:
TRACK 1: Conduct a climate change hazard and vulnerability assessment to identify and map the most vulnerable states, provinces, and cities for each SIDS.
- Formalize Blue Guardians partnership and begin working with the SIDS community to develop a global map illustrating priority target coastal areas and SIDS of critical climate importance and need (Oct 2015 - May 2016);
- Conduct initial engagement with all participating SIDS country leaders through SIDS DOCK (Oct - Nov 2015);
- Prepare SIDS climate vulnerability and planning readiness criteria (Oct Nov 2015);
- Develop and apply geographic information system (GIS) and statistically based global model and index for SIDS climate vulnerability (Nov 2015 Mar 2016);
- Publish and socialize global SIDS vulnerability map and index across SIDS community and develop country staging strategy based on vulnerability and readiness (Mar May 2016);
TRACK 2: Establish Blue Guardians multi-donor trust fund and initiate process for each SIDS to build their national climate resilience strategy (Jan 2016 Sep 2018)
- Develop Fund strategy and promote with selected donors (Jan Sep 2016);
- Develop national climate resilience strategy for each SIDS according to the previously developed staging strategy (Jul 2016 Sep 2018);
TRACK 3: Provide online access to geographic data and climate planning tools, methods, and capacity building resources (Oct 2015 Sep 2018);
- Collect and compile publicly available, climate-relevant data sources (Oct 2015 Mar 2016);
- Develop training and capacity building curriculum (Mar Jul 2016);
- Support training and capacity building programs throughout SIDS via online and other channels (Jul 2016 Sep 2018)
TRACK 4: Build a communications and knowledge sharing platform to raise awareness and provide access to resources and expertise (Nov 2015 - Sep 2018)
- Develop initial web-based platform (Nov 2015 Mar 2016);
- Administer and maintain platform (Mar 2016 Sep 2018)
TRACK 5: Utilize climate resilience strategies to catalyze investment and support for planning and implementation projects for specific SIDS and coastal regions (Jan 2017 Sep 2018).
- Compile and publish a project pipeline of both nation-specific and collective regional investment opportunities (Jan 2017 Sep 2018);
- Promote investment opportunities through multiple channels (Mar 2017 Sep 2018);
- Conduct ongoing monitoring and evaluation of national climate resilience strategies and resulting investment initiatives (May 2017 Sep 2018).
December 2015 Political buy-in from the UN Forum Convention on Climate Change 21st Conference of Parties in Paris, France.