European Small Islands Federation

Archive for Climate change

2nd Smart Islands Forum

The 2nd Forum of Smart European Islands is scheduled to take place in Brussels on 28 March 2017, hosted by the European Parliament.

The event is organized by European island authorities and actors and builds on the outcomes of the 1st Smart Islands Forum hosted by on 21-22 June in Athens, Greece. For more information on the Forum, see

Key objective of the event is to present the Smart Islands Initiative, currently supported by 70 island authorities from 13 countries across Europe. Further, during the event representatives from island local and regional authorities will sign the Smart Islands Declaration.

Overall the event will engage EU policy-makers and representatives from local and regional authorities, research institutions, the private sector and civil society on a discussion about islands’ potential to drive Europe’s transition into a low-carbon, sustainable and inclusive economy.

Paradise Lost?


When on Lesvos for the ISISA Islands of the World Conference in may, I met with Muna Mohamed from the Maldives. Her book “Falhu Alira Muiy” was just about to be published on forced migration and atoll development in her native island world.

Yes, the Maldives are not in the ESIN part of the world – but sometimes we may need to look beyond our own horizon. Since 1965, they are the republic Dhivehi Raa’jeyge Jumhooriyya with 342.00 islanders living on some 200 of their 1.192 islands, which are grouped in 26 atolls. It is one of the world’s most dispersed countries with an area of 90,000 square kilometres which would stretch from Orkney to Isle of Wight if transferred to Europe.

Munas book is in Dhivehi (Maldivian) but the following is a translation of a foreword written by Salma Fikry:

“For several years, we in the Maldives have accepted that we are a country with few natural resources. Our development policies were formulated and implemented with the underlying justification that the biggest challenge to our development was the highly dispersed nature of sparsely populated communities, over a vast spread of the ocean.

This being the case, it was seen as unfeasible to provide services and opportunities to every inhabited island. Priority was given to develop the capital island Male’ and subsequently, Vilingili or ViliMale’ (a resort island in the vicinity of Male’ changed to an inhabited island). Since then, we saw a huge stretch of land reclaimed near Male’, that is HulhuMale’, and the efforts to develop and relocate Maldivians to the artificial island of HulhuMale’. In recent years, we also witnessed a grand project in the lagoon of Gulhi nearby Male’. And today we witness the reclamation of land for HulhuMale Phase II.

These projects at creating artificial islands took place while there remained already existing natural land, undeveloped and underdeveloped, in the north, mid and south of Maldives. Development policies were formulated and implemented such that Maldivians were forced to abandon their land/homes and migrate to one corner of the country. The trend continues even today and at a much more alarming pace.

While we Maldivians accepted ours as a country with few natural resources and understood this factor as the most challenging to our development as a nation; the truth is that a select few individuals became powerful, wealthy oligarchs using the same “few” natural resources. It is also a reality that the gap between the rich and the poor continued to widen through the years. It is also an undeniable fact that the development disparity in income, services and opportunities are glaringly obvious between the capital and the atolls of he Maldives.

Maldivians are paying a high social and economic cost for development policies that enforce atoll populations to migrate to Male’ – the capital island, which today, is among the most congested places on earth.A place, burdened with environmental degradation and ever increasing crimes. Regardless, our development policies are still geared in that very same direction that has brought us to the present unsustainable, inequitable development. We are still pursuing policies and investing our finances to congest all Maldivians into one little corner of our archipelago, while abandoning the rest.

Today, we should ask ourselves what will happen to our birthright, i.e the land we leave behind and its natural capital, as we migrate to one corner of the country, in the perusal of better development opportunities and services. Today, we should question who will gain the benefits of the land, the lagoons, the reefs, the seas and other natural resources that we as Maldivians proudly thought belonged to us.”

Thilafushi island, "rubbish island" © Giulio Paletta

Bengalese workers at the dump on Thilafushi island, the so-called “rubbish island” created to collect and burn all the garbage coming from the capital island Male and all the tourists resorts © Giulio Paletta

Small islands, sustainable development pioneers


The Conservatoire du Littoral (“Coastal protection agency”) is a French public organisation created in 1975 to ensure the protection of outstanding natural areas on the coast, banks of lakes and stretches of water of 10 square kilometres or more. Its creation was inspired by the work of the British National Trust, though the National Trust is a private charity, whereas the Conservatoire du littoral is mainly government funded. It may be compared to the Swedish Skärgårdsstiftelsen.

In the end of May, Conservatoire du littoral and its partners joined forces to set up the collaborative exhibition “Small Islands, sustainable development pioneers“, featuring 40 photos illustrating good management practices on islands, reflecting the will and efforts of NGOs, civil society representatives and public institutions.

The exhibition was featured in Spain (Alfas del Pi), France (Paris), Mozambique (Maputo) and Tunisia (Carthage) and in Croatia (Zlarin) translated into 5 different languages. There are pictures of these events on their Facebook page (link).

These exhibitions, including the large format version, are available upon request to organize your events throughout the year, locally on your islands or other venues. Please book in advance if you are interested, and feel free to contact us for further info.

ESIN, devoted to the care of islanders, is grateful to the Conservatoire du Littoral and its partners for taking care of islands.

AIP director Denis Bredin on Smilegov


AIP director Denis Bredin speaks about the SMILEGOV project, especially the financial mechanisms for energy projects.

Three french islands – Molène, Ouessant and Sein – participated in the project.

Energy Planning on Molène Energy check Sein Energy Audit on Ouessant

You can read their energy audits here:, and

COP21 climate deal


For the first time, a limit of 1.5C has been locked into a treaty after a concerted push by small island nations who said their very existence was threatened if the world limited global warming to 2C.


Sustainable transportation – video from Smilegov

Our man in Okinawa


ESIN’s ambassador at the Ecoisland and Sustainable Communities Summit 2015 in Okinawa, Mr Felix Wight who is Policy and Innovation Manager at Community Energy Scotland, sends us his impressions from the conference:

“The Eco-Island and Sustainable Communities summit 2015 demonstrates the huge level of knowledge and passion for sustainable development from communities across the world. The presentations have covered a wide range from technical issues, to multilevel governance, and even philosophy, but there is a common theme of respecting the local people that need to be at the heart of decision making. There is (literally) a warm welcome here in Okinawa and after just one day, new partnerships and friendships are beginning to emerge, with a high level of interest in European projects. Thank you to ESIN for the opportunity for Community Energy Scotland to represent you at this event, and already looking forward to the next summit, hopefully in Orkney 2017”.

The Ecoisland Global Summit was inaugurated in Isle of Wight in 2012, which was followed by the second summit in Bornholm in 2013 where Camille Dressler and Christian Pleijel from ESIN were invited speakers.

Global Summit 2015