Breakout Session

Host: Local 2030 Islands Network

Impacts of COVID-19 and the prospects for SDG realization are hitting islands hardest, affecting tourism economies, food systems and food supplies. At the same time, island communities are the engines of solutions, innovations, and culture. This event will showcase how islands, in coming together and working within and across island communities around the world, can drive commitment to the SDGs and climate action in response, recovery, and the world’s determination focused on helping to advance the SDGs.


Partnerships (SDG 17) and culturally-relevant solutions are necessary to achieving the state of the world we want and need. Since its pre-launch during the high-level week of the 74th UN General Assembly (UNGA), The Local2030 Islands Network has operationalized a partnership platform that brings together diverse partners committed to accelerating island-led solutions to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while promoting an island worldview. Network partners agree to pursue four principles on identifying local goals, measuring progress through data, strengthening partnerships, and implementing concrete initiatives and seek to elevate diverse voices and forms of leadership such as youth voices. This event will bring together top island experts to share bright spots in SDG Actions supported by Network partners that can be scaled as models by islands and for islands. Further, this event will showcase how the Local2030 Islands Network has evolved since its pre-launch in 2019 and serve as an example to the world on how to create a successful international partnership that leaves no one behind



Kate Brown - Moderator
Executive Director, Global Island Partnership

Kate Brown is the Executive Director of the Global Island Partnership, a platform that enables island leaders and their supporters to take action to build resilient and sustainable island communities. Kate is a passionate advocate for islands who is a valued and trusted international partnership and collaboration leader. She has previously served for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and Agriculture Western Australia. While Kate is originally from New Zealand, she also lived in Apia, Samoa for 8 years.

Kalani Ka'anā'anā
Director of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs & Natural Resources , Hawai‘i Tourism Authority

Kalani is the Director of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs & Natural Resources for the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. Born and raised on Oʻahu with roots in Kailua going back generations, Kalani brings his lifetime of experience into his role at HTA, which encompasses advising a worldwide team of marketers, managers, and the industry at large. His responsibility is to ensure the visitor industry operates in a manner respectful to and supportive of our natural resources and Hawaiian culture, that strengthens tourism’s contributions to Hawaiʻi’s communities and economy.

Celeste Connors
Executive Director, Hawai‘i Green Growth Local2030 Hub

Celeste Connors is the Executive Director of Hawai‘i Green Growth. She previously served as the Director for Environment and Climate Change at the National Security Council and National Economic Council in the White House where she helped shape the Administration’s climate and energy policies, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Prior to joining the White House, Celeste served as a diplomat in Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Germany. Celeste serves on the Board of Hawaiian Electric Industries, the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), and Icebreaker One. She is a Senior Fellow at the East-West Center.

Dr. Spencer Thomas
Grenada’s Ambassador and Special Envoy for Multilateral Environmental Agreements

Dr. Spencer Thomas, the Local2030 Islands Network’s Steering Committee Chair, is Grenada’s Ambassador and Special Envoy for Multilateral Environmental Agreements and the country’s lead negotiator for climate change and biodiversity. He is a former Financial Secretary and Economic Policy Adviser in the Ministry of Finance, Grenada. Ambassador Thomas holds a doctorate in Energy Economics, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Economics and a post-doctoral master’s degree in Telecommunications Regulation and Policy. He is a board member of the Global Island Partnership.

Vanessa Tore
Director of the Foreign Economic Cooperation Division, Ministry of Economic Development, Curaçao

Vanessa Toré MBA was born and raised in Curaçao, Dutch Caribbean. She is the Director of the Foreign Economic Cooperation Division of the Ministry of Economic Development of Curaçao and was previously acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development. She is a former Policy Advisor to the Minister of Traffic, Transport and Urban Planning and Acting Director of Policy at the Ministry of Traffic, Transport and Urban Planning. She worked 17 years at the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce and Industry as manager of the Investment, Trade Promotion and Business Services department.

Krista Rasmussen
Senior Research Associate, Policy Planning, United Nations Foundation

Krista Rasmussen is a Senior Research Associate of Policy Planning at the United Nations Foundation, where she works on policy issues across the organization and identifies new trends and opportunities for the Foundation to advance its mission. She was previously a researcher in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution. Her work has focused on assessing global economic and social data, with a particular focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, financing for multilateral organizations, and local SDG implementation. Her work has been published in World Development, The BMJ, and Global Policy Journal.

Dr. Austin Shelton
Director, University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and University of Guam Sea Grant

Dr. Austin Shelton joined the faculty of the University of Guam (UOG) in 2016 as an assistant professor of extension and outreach. Shelton later received appointments to concurrently serve as the director of the UOG Center for Island Sustainability and UOG Sea Grant. In 2019, he was selected as an Obama Leader Asia Pacific. Shelton leads initiatives that support the transition of island communities toward a sustainable future. He is currently co-chairing the Guam Green Growth G3 Initiative with the Office of the Governor of Guam to locally advance the 17 U.N Sustainable Development Goals.

Susan Alzner
Co-Founder and Chief of Strategy and Operations, shift7

Susan Alzner is co-founder of shift7, advancing tech-forward, open, shareable practices to drive direct impact on systemic challenges, particularly through scouting and scaling promising solution-makers and solutions. While leading the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) from 2014-2018, she co-created the UN Solutions Summit to lift up entrepreneurs advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and led global public participation in UN General Assembly high-level events, including the SDG negotiations and Summit, the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, and dialogues with the candidates for UN Secretary-General. Susan received a UN Secretary-General Staff Award for Teamwork in 2015.

September 24, 12:30
12:30 — 13:15EST(GMT-4) (45′)


| Host: Local 2030 Islands Network |, Austin Shelton (University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and University of Guam Sea Grant), Celeste Connors (Hawai‘i Green Growth Local2030 Hub), Kalani Ka’anā’anā (Hawai‘i Tourism Authority), Kate Brown (Global Island Partnership), Krista Rasmussen (United Nations Foundation), Spencer Thomas (Multilateral Environmental Agreements), Susan Alzner (shift7), Vanessa Tore (Ministry of Economic Development Curaçao)