Our Origins

Island Global Research was established to focus on small islands, which typically have populations less than 1.5 million. Some islands are sovereign states, though many are dependencies or overseas territories, with historical ties and complex economic, political, and legal relationships to other islands or mainland countries.

We understand the policy, strategic and practical decisions that government and private sector organisations operating in islands have to consider and the factors that determine an island’s vulnerability and resilience. We believe islands have much to learn from each other, undertake benchmarking to measure performance and identify examples of best-practice.

Common challenges facing small islands

Islands may differ in economic and social development, though many face common challenges that arise with relatively small populations, limited land mass, and geographic factors, such as a remote or isolated location:

  • Limited ability to achieve economies of scale
  • High transportation and communication costs, and costly public administration and infrastructure
  • Vulnerability to global economic events and vagaries of international trade
  • Small domestic markets with limited local competition and a lack of specialist skills in the local workforce
  • High dependence on imports (including food and fuel) and a narrow range of exports, and uncertainties in supply due to remoteness or challenges in air and sea transport
  • High population density, pressure on land resources and ensuring natural resources are used sustainably by productive sectors
  • Susceptible to extreme climate events and other natural disasters.

The distinctive characteristics of small islands should be considered when making policy or investment decisions. Island Global Research offers insights and solutions to common challenges.

Key Lessons include:

  • Collaboration across islands and regional cooperation can lead to economies of scale.
  • Technology can overcome geographical barriers and minimise transaction costs.
  • Migration can fill skills gaps in the local workforce and boost human capital.
  • Economic diversification can be beneficial and make islands more resilient to global events.