A huge support package for small island nations was announced at COP26 on November 2. Infrastructure for Resilient Island States, to be known as IRIS, was announced by a group of prime ministers with British PM Boris Johnson saying it was ‘harrowing’ to hear of the risk and damage being faced right now by island communities.
Making a commitment of $100 billion a year, Johnson said ‘It’s incredibly cruel that these vulnerable small island states are right in the frontline of the loss and damage that is caused by global warming. They have done virtually nothing to cause the problem. Every country that has contributed to CO2 must contribute to join this campaign.’
He was joined by Narendra Modi, prime minister of India whose government launched in 2019 the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). The Coalition is one of the Resilience Hub partners.
He said, ‘IRIS gives hope, belief and a great sense of fulfilment to the most vulnerable nations. I congratulate CDRI for this. IRIS and CDRI are just not about infrastructure but about responsibility of human welfare. It is the collective responsibility of all of us towards mankind.’
The three aims of IRIS are
- Improve resilience of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) infrastructure to climate change and disaster risk.
- Strengthen knowledge and partnerships for integrating resilience in SIDS infrastructure
- Promote gender equality and disability inclusion through resilient SIDS infrastructure
Frank Bainimarama, prime minister of Fiji said, ‘The world is warming and the impacts are terrifying. It takes resources to build resilience. There is a huge of gap of trillions of dollars which vulnerable nations need and what they have. We can bridge the financing gap between vulnerability and resilience if we fully unleash public and private sector sources of funding.’
See the prime ministers launch IRIS www.cdri.world/iris/
Picture: Islands in the Tuvalu archipelago by Sean Gallagher, The Guardian. Sean is a British photographer and filmmaker based in Beijing