The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Lighthouses initiative (LHI) is a framework for action to support SIDS in the transformation from predominantly fossil fuel dependence to a renewables-based and resilient energy system. SIDS LHI brings together 36 SIDS as well as 30 partners, including developed countries, regional and international organisations, development and multilateral agencies, private companies, research institutes and non-profit organisations. IRENA is the coordinator and facilitator of the initiative.

In the framework of the initiative, SIDS partners have gained access, among other aspects, to:

  • NDC enhancement and implementation support 
  • Policy, regulatory and technical advisory services.
  • Capacity building for local policy makers, utilities, private sector, financing institutions and all relevant stakeholders.
  • Support on grid stability, resource assessment, roadmap analyses as well as on project facilitation.
  • Support for access to affordable finance.
  • A platform to share information, knowledge, lessons learned and best practices.

Launched at the United Nations Climate Summit in 2014, the initial LHI targets for 2020 have been met and exceeded ahead of schedule. Taking into consideration the commitments of SIDS and development partners, and the evolution of the energy context, new priority areas and target have been identified and endorsed by partners in a high-level meeting held at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2018.

The new priority areas of the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative are:

  • Support SIDS in reviewing and implementing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), extending technical assistance and capacity building where needed.
  • Expand from assessment and planning to implementing effective, innovative solutions, with continued technical and regulatory advisory services to help SIDS overcome the unique challenges they face.
  • Promote all renewable sources, including geothermal and ocean energy, and step up work to integrate solar PV and wind power.
  • Support the development of bankable projects, fostering access to finance and closer co-operation with the private sector.
  • Strengthen institutional and human capacity development in all segments of the renewable energy value chain.
  • Expand focus beyond power generation to include transportation and other end-use sectors.
  • Leverage synergies between renewables and energy efficiency.
  • Reinforce links between renewables and non-energy sectors - including agriculture, food, health and water - to foster broad socio-economic development, as well as raising awareness about job creation, gender equality and women's empowerment through renewable energy development.
  • Link renewable energy uptake to climate resilience and more effective disaster recovery.
  • Enhance collection and dissemination of data and statistics, supporting informed decision-making and effective monitoring.
  • Reinforce and expand partner engagement, leveraging synergies with existing SIDS initiatives and other IRENA co-ordinated platforms, such as the Global Geothermal Alliance, the International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference and the Coalition for Action.
  • Boost renewable power deployment, aiming for a target of five gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity in SIDS by 2023.


RE Progress

The strong political commitment of SIDS and the remarkable cost reductions in technologies such as solar PV and onshore wind, coupled with the support of a wide range of partners, have made renewables an affordable solution for countries with limited financing and technical capabilities. Learn more about the current state of renewables and related information in SIDS.





Implementation Lab: Latin America and Caribbean Regional Climate Week
13 May 2021 | Virtual

As part of the mandate given at COP 25 to improve the Marrakech Partnership for enhancing ambition, the High-level Champions, Gonzalo Muñoz, High-Level Champion of the COP 25 Presidency of Chile, and Mr. Nigel Topping, High-Level Champion of the COP 26 Presidency of the United Kingdom, conducted a process to gather feedback from Parties and non-Party stakeholders to develop their vision and strategy for collectively striving for a 1.5 degree, resilient world. This process has demonstrated that the High-Level Champions have a key responsibility to converge non-Party stakeholders and provide a bridge to national governments, highlighting opportunities and solutions for implementation. Providing this bridge is one of the key functions of an improved Marrakech Partnership[1], facilitating an implementation and ambition loop using the Climate Action Pathways[2] and Race-to-Zero Breakthroughs[3] as the basis for collaboration. In light of this role, the Champions will be piloting “Implementation Labs” to be held during Regional Climate Weeks.

Net-zero Investment Lab: Public and Private Sector Collaboration on Accelerating Green Investment in SIDS
30 March 2021 | 23 February 2021 | Virtual

Since the Earth Summit in 1992, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have been recognised as a special category of countries that have unique circumstances and needs arising from the adverse impacts of climate change. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the SIDS economies and livelihoods. The Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS) has been the moral advocate and champion on high climate ambition for the island nations and has achieved remarkable accomplishments on global climate change and sustainable development agenda, including the formation of UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol and most recently Paris Agreement. SIDS have committed to transitioning key sectors to ensure they meet the 1.5°C goal, as reflected in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), including ambition towards 100% renewable energy targets. Launched at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019, the “Accelerating Renewable Energy Transition in SIDS” initiative committed to transition to ambitious sustainable energy targets by 2030, by leveraging the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative (LHI).

Pacific NDC Dialogue: Enhancing and Implementing the Pacific SIDS Commitments to the Paris Agreement through Energy Transformation
23 February 2021 | 23 February 2021 | Webinar

The Small Island Developing States played a pivotal and cohesive role in the lead up to the adoption of the Paris Agreement and were amongst the first countries to ratify and submit their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Technical Webinar Series-Transforming SIDs Power System through VRE
29 October 2020 | 29 October 2020 | Webinar

This webinar was an initiative by IRENA to support Small island developing states in their transition to a sustainable energy future. It aims to outreach our publication “Transforming small island states” and share results and recommendations of some of the grid assessment studies conducted in the recent past for Islands.

Energy Transformation in Small Island Developing States Towards Sustainable and Climate Resilient Post-Pandemic Recovery
15 September 2020 | 15 September 2020 | Webinar

Ministers, high-level representatives of Small Island States (SIDS) along with partner countries, and multilateral institutions met virtually on 15 September 2020, 8:00 – 9:30 EST, to discuss Energy Transformation in SIDS towards Sustainable and Climate resilient Post-Pandemic Recovery as part of the webinar series of the UN Climate Action Summit’s Energy Transition Track . The series were organized by the Governments of Denmark and Ethiopia as co-chairs of the Energy Track.



SIDS Lighthouses Initiative is supported and coordinated by the International Renewable Energy Agency.


Please contact us at
Email: islands@irena.org
Phone: +971 2 417 9000