Test Design Lighthouse

Global Islands Network (GIN)


Senior representatives from 15 regional organisations met at the Lighthouse Foundation offices in October 2001 to further proposals for establishing a Global Islands Network (GIN). After three days of intensive discussions and workshops it was unanimously agreed that GIN should become a non-profit body set up to conduct and promote culturally appropriate, ecologically sound, economically sustainable and socially equitable development on islands worldwide.


To realise this mission, a Letter of Intent was signed by all those present for GIN to adopt the following basic objectives:


  • facilitating the capacity of islands to acquire, disseminate and utilise knowledge resources
  • improving access and generating original information on islands through the Internet
  • providing technical assistance and supporting initiatives which further integrated development
  • encouraging collaborative projects and comparative studies between islands
  • fostering cooperation by sharing good practices and offering a forum for discussions
  • strengthening the voice of island communities in intergovernmental and policy making bodies




Due to their geographical situation, the development of island communities is subject to certain constraints and limitations which are reflected in their specific economic, socio-cultural and ecological characteristics. Despite the great diversity in terms of geographical position, topography, economy, etc. both within a region and across the various climatic zones, there is a variety of common interests which are expressed in numerous groups such as associations and societies, national and supranational organisations.


Phase I

Until now there has been no common forum for typical island interests covering the different geographical areas and the various levels of development. For some years now, initial attempts have been made in this field to create a broad-based platform for developing a single information service, but these attempts have generally only focussed on individual aspects of insular communities. One example of this is the SIDS-Net (“Small Islands Developing States-Network“) run by the UN, which is restricted solely to small island states and those in need of development support.


Thanks to support from the Lighthouse Foundation, our project partner Habitat Scotland has been able to implement preliminary measures for creating a network and internet service for islands which compiles, provides and distributes information for islands. The target group for this service consists of local governments, communities and organisations, primarily from islands facing typical island situations and related issues, as well as individual persons. The primary focus of this service is the issue of sustainable development for islands and their inhabitants.


Phase II

As the result of the preliminary outline study for the concept of a “Global Islands Network“ (GIN) and a preparatory workshop with representatives from 15 island organisations, it was proposed that a consortium be formed which would both represent the interests of the network worldwide and which would impose legal obligations on its members. This consortium would also provide key financing as well as basic content for the network. A business model was developed and a core workgroup was formed. At present the Global Islands Network is being run as a test operation. The results of the test phase were presented to the public in June 2002 during the VII. Islands of the World Conference in Canada.


The Global Islands Network (GIN) phase II involves implementing the preliminary results from the previous outline study and securing the initial development of the network. GIN will prove especially useful for exchanging information between disadvantaged islands and isolated maritime regions. The project will promote interdisciplinary dialogue on both practical and theoretical aspects of island development targets and sea-related topics. The project therefore serves to impart information on resource-conscious ways to treat seas and oceans (sensitisation). Furthermore it supports development aid via the exchange of development-related information for the strategic support of the independent organisation of deprived island communities.



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