Gatokai Island, Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands

IUCN Washington, D.C. and Global Island Partnership (GLISPA)


 IUCN Washington, D.C. is host to the Coordination Unit of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA). As an important GLISPA partner, IUCN agreed to host GLISPA’s coordination unit and to staff it with a Coordinator. IUCN is a member of the GLISPA Steering Committee and supports the GLISPA Coordination Unit. The GLISPA website is available at


The Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) assists islands in addressing one of the world’s greatest challenges — to conserve and sustainably utilize the invaluable island natural resources that support people, cultures and livelihoods in their island homes around the world. Recognizing that islands have unique and isolated natural systems and are particularly vulnerable in a rapidly changing world, this Partnership brings together island countries and countries with islands — small and large, developing and developed — to mobilize leadership, increase resources and share solutions in a cost-effective and sustainable way that will catalyze action for conservation and sustainable livelihoods on islands.

GLISPA is recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as a partnership to advance the implementation of the CBD 2010 target to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss and the Programmes of Work on Island Biodiversity (IBPoW) and Protected Areas. GLISPA was created to help bridge local and global initiatives, build upon existing networks and programmes, and share knowledge among all of islands.

Since GLISPA’s formation in 2005, countries, territories, agencies, organizations and leaders at all levels have made inspiring commitments and taken actions to protect island habitats around the world. Each commitment acts as a beacon to others, offering hope for success and help along the way. All leaders and groups committed to taking significant action to sustain livelihoods, conserve nature and address global change on islands are encouraged to join or participate in the Global Island Partnership.

Up to 2012, GLISPA will be supported by a collaborative Strategy, a small dedicated Coordination Team hosted by IUCN and a Steering Committee of lead partners to support the growing Partnership. GLISPA’s focus for the next three years sees it continuing to work with island leaders and organizations on strategic initiatives to strengthen island action on critical issues, including:

  • Supporting leadership and commitments to action on ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation including the threat of invasive species.
  • Integrating island conservation and sustainable livelihoods into the development dialogue.
  • Supporting current GLISPA initiatives to promote successes and lessons including through exchanges and sharing of effective practices.
  • Supporting the Seychelles with the emerging Western Indian Ocean Challenge—focused on adaptation.
  • The Global Island Partnership is committed to continue supporting the outstanding leadership and extraordinary commitments of all its dedicated participants, and to sharing island successes and lessons with the world. 

IUCN’s Islands Initiative

The GLISPA Coordination Unit works closely with IUCN's Islands Initiative based with the Ecosystem Management Programme in IUCN HQ in Gland, Switzerland. For more information on the Islands Initiative please contact Olivier Tyack, Programme Officer, Islands at and for more information on the Islands Initiative please click here.

The scope of IUCN’s Islands Initiative is those islands, whether large or small, whose conservation and ecosystem management challenges are substantially shaped by “island” characteristics, including high levels of species diversity and endemism, openness of coastal ecosystems to land-based impacts, competition by people for limited resources including land and fresh water, and vulnerability to external forces, both natural and human-induced. The Initiative is thus not solely focused on Small Island Developing States, but looks more broadly at the qualities and issues that islands share regardless of their size or political status.

Island News


Partners in the BEST III project meeting at the launch event in the European Commission

BEST III Preparatory Action project for Europe overseas launched

On Friday 31st January, the contract to implement the third year of the European BEST Preparatory Action was launched at the European Commission. This crucial phase of the initiative focuses on developing measures for sustaining the European BEST Initiative for conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services in EU outermost regions and overseas countries and territories.  

04 Feb 2014 | News story

Global Map

Scientists identify the world’s most irreplaceable protected areas

A new scientific study has identified the protected areas most critical to preventing extinctions of the world’s mammals, birds and amphibians. Resulting from an international collaboration, this analysis provides practical advice for improving the effectiveness of protected areas in conserving global biodiversity. …   | French | Spanish | Dutch

14 Nov 2013 | News story

Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei)

20 years of conservation success for the Jamaican Iguana

The recovery of the Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei) is considered one of the greatest success stories in conservation science. Presumed extinct since the 1940s, a tiny population was discovered in 1990, in the remote tropical dry forest of the Hellshire Hills in southern Jamaica. This discovery inspired the formation of the IUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group, which has worked with local conservation partners over the past 20 years to increase the wild population of Jamaican Iguana. Since 1991, the number of nesting females and annual hatchlings recorded has increased over six-fold, with at least 200 individuals in the wild today. …  

22 Oct 2013 | News story

  • Banaba (Ocean Island). A raised phosphatic limestone island, abandoned after mining. Now 800 inhabitants.

    Banaba (Ocean Island). A raised phosphatic limestone island, abandoned after mining. Now 800 inhabitants.

    Photo: Randy Thaman

  • Moorea, French Polynesia

    Moorea, French Polynesia

    Photo: Randy Thaman

  • Tarawa Atoll, Kiribati

    Tarawa Atoll, Kiribati

    Photo: Randy Thaman

  • Aldabran giant tortoise on Ile aux Aigresstes, Mauritius

    Aldabran giant tortoise on Ile aux Aigresstes, Mauritius

    Photo: Randy Thaman

  • Members of the Adhoc Technical Experts Group on Island Biodiversity on Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain in 2004. GLISPA is a mechanism to implement the Island Biodiversity Programme of Work.

    Members of the Adhoc Technical Experts Group on Island Biodiversity on Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain in 2004. GLISPA is a mechanism to implement the Island Biodiversity Programme of Work.

    Photo: Kate Brown

  • Fagaloa Bay, Upolu Island, Samoa

    Fagaloa Bay, Upolu Island, Samoa

    Photo: Randy Thaman

  • Okinawa, Japan

    Okinawa, Japan

    Photo: Randy Thaman

  • Mauritius


    Photo: Randy Thaman