In no other countries are rapid transformations currently more critical than in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). While these 57 maritime nations share similar development challenges to improve their standards of living and embark on paths of sustained economic growth, they also face the repercussions of global economic competition and natural disasters caused by Climate Change. SIDS are the forerunners into a future of extreme weather, technological change, innovative solutions and shifts in political focus. The rest of the world can learn much from how they build transformative capacity and create new pathways. SIDS are not, however, a homogenous group. It contains a large variation in outcome. The Least Developed Countries (LDC) amongst them are the most vulnerable and they can learn from the success stories.
In this project we bring together structuralist theories of long-term economic change with theoretical insights from institutional theory, demography and innovation studies to investigate the historical underpinnings of nationwide transformative capacity and potential transformation pathways of SIDS. In parallel, we conduct a broader quantitative study of how well the SIDS are achieving the ambitions of the Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) and we conduct in depth mixed methods studies of three LDC – Comoros, Haiti and Solomon Islands – and one success – Mauritius. We aim to contribute both to the research frontier and to policy solutions.