Due to their special circumstances, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have a rather complex path towards sustainable development. They are especially vulnerable to external shocks, characterised as having a high reliance on imports, high energy prices, limited resources, growing populations as well as many depending on tourism as a main economic sector. Realising sustainable development for the people of SIDS essentially means promoting economic investments, which simultaneously improve local social issues with responsible use of the limited natural resources available.
One main question asked is ‘How do these small islands monitor their path towards sustainable development?’ To measure sustainable development, otherwise also called green economic growth, next to conventional economic indicators, environmental, social and governance factors need to be given importance. At the third United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro Brazil in 2012 nations agreed to explore alternatives to GDP.
Wolfs Company initiated in 2013 a project called the ‘Green Economic Model’ on the island of Bonaire. The Green Economic Model (GEM) project aims to create policy instruments for a sustainable development pathway for the island. The project is currently partly funded by Valley Foundation and WWF-NL.
In line with ‘beyond GDP’, GEM comprises the creation, and the filling in, of a monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) list, for Bonaire, containing the four interconnected dimensions representing sustainability, namely economic development, social inclusion, environmental sustainability and good governance (see pictograph for the conceptual model). It aims to ultimately mainstream these indicators in a national account system. By virtue it further involves the identification of current data collection methods and gaps in realizing a sufficient national account system able to monitor sustainable development.
In addition a System Dynamic Model will be developed serving as a policy tool displaying the interconnection between these four spheres. The model should analyze the impact of certain policy applications of the island on sustainable development and well-being indicators.