ESIN

European Small Islands Federation

Archive for Islands

This island is not for sale

Eigg islanders

Long read on Eigg in The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/sep/26/this-island-is-not-for-sale-how-eigg-fought-back. Quote: “Small islands are like celebrities: they loom far larger than their actual size, they are pored over by visitor-fans and they become public possessions, laden with reputations and attributes they may or may not embody.”

Laundry

Danish island journal no 169

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The September issue of Danish Island Journal Ø-Posten has just been published. You can download a copy here http://www.danske-smaaoer.dk/images/-Posten_169_skaerm.pdf. Alas, it is only in Danish but anyone can read Danish with a little help from Google Translate.

The editorial by Danish chairman Dorthe Winter asks “Can you grow old on your island?”. The 27 small Danish islands are not municipalities and worry about the quality standards for home care on their islands. Avernakø and Lyø have opened a case against Faaborg- Midtfyn Municipality at the National Social Appeals Board, Tunø has brought an action against Odder municipality, and Fejø, Femø and Askø have brought proceedings against Lolland Municipality. A most important question for every island!

Number 169 also deals with the ESIN general meeting on Orkney, how to work on different ideas to strengthen the island’s settlement work, how islands can visibly reflect their potential to the outside world, and the very nice results of the “Island Passport” campaign. The whole Island passport can be seen here: https://issuu.com/sammenslutningenafdanskesmaoer/docs/__-pas_genoptryk_skaerm

Island passportØ-Posten is published four times a year. It offers a superb impression of what’s up and what’s down among Denmark’s 27 small islands. This one is number 169. Impressive!

#SmallislesThinkbig

ESIN-Orkney

‘Small Islands are “the agents of change”  that can be trusted to make the low carbon revolution happen in Europe’ declared Brendan Devlin, Special adviser to DG Energy,  at the17th  AGM and annual Conference of the European Small Islands Federation.  It was held in Orkney islands on 11-13 September, and contributed an afternoon of talks on the theme of the Smart Islands for the prestigious Orkney International Science Festival.

The Orkney islands are well-known for their cutting edge leadership in Renewable technology, and on Tuesday 12 September, 32 islanders from 13 countries in Europe visited the small island of Shapinsay – 300 inhabitants where a local development trust was set up to bring income to the islanders through wind power. Their wind turbine, “Whorley”  brings  £90 000 annually to be spent on community projects, running a free minibus and electric taxi for islanders and visitors, and a 12 seats ‘out of hours’ ferry to allow islanders more flexibility in their travel to and from Orkney mainland. “ The quality of community engagement is really remarkable here ” enthused delegates from Greece and Brittany, “This is an inspiration to all our island communities.”

Mairtin O Mealoid of Comharchumann Chleire, the island development Cooperative of Cape Clear and Vice Chair of Comhdhail Oilean na hEireann the Irish Islands Federation said ” coming to Orkney and Discovering the Orkney food and produce brand as well as the Danish Island Produce brand was an inspiration. As a small island food producer myself, I am pleased that we are looking to introduce a similar designation for the producers in our small European islands. We have established a working group and intend to have an islands brand up and running in the near future. This will identify authentic island products that meet agreed criteria and will help with marketing and of course additional employment in the food and drink sectors on the islands”….

Best of all, was the quality of the exchanges between islanders from all corners of Europe. They found they had much in common in terms of opportunities and challenges. Discussing these in a formal as well as an informal setting felt to be of huge benefit: “Whenever we meet, we always learn something from each other” says Pia Prost, from FÖSS, the Finnish Southern archipelago, “by developing projects in small clusters and comparing results, we can advance by leaps and bounds.” Camille Dressler, Leader of the Scottish Islands Federation, who was re-elected as ESIN chair said: “We will be taking these results to Brussels next year and in the meantime, we will continue to push for the needs of the smaller islands of Europe to be recognised and addressed, especially in the context of the Territorial Cohesion Policy post 2020 and Brexit.

Camille Dressler, chairman of ESIN

Simskäla nominated for the EU Sustainable Energy Awards

Simskäla 1

During 2014 and 2015, the two Åland islands Simskäla and Sottunga were engaged in the EU project named SMILEGOV. The project idea was that islands should make their own local energy plan. As a result of the project, Sottunga has been nominated for the EU Sustainable Energy Awards, abbreviated EUSEW http://eusew.eu/about-awards-competition.

Through their national island organisation, the two islands were members of ESIN – the European Small Islands Federation. ESIN islands formed a small islands cluster in Smilegov with Ischia from Italy, Molène, Sein and Ushant from France, Cape Clear, Bere, Arranmore and Aran from Ireland, Ven Vinön and Visingsö from Sweden, Nagu and Iniö from Finland. There were more, bigger, islands in the project (Cyprus, Malta, the Canaries, Samsø, Madeira, Gotland among others), which as a whole was managed by Kostas Komninos from DAFNI http://www.sustainableislands.eu.

One of the Åland islands – Simskäla – is very, very small. Its dry area is 2,000 hectares and its wet area (the sea) is 12,000 ha. It has 35 all-year-residents but a strong identity, partly because the Åland writer Anni Blomkvist wrote a series of novels of her life here which were filmed under the title ”Stormskärs Maja”, depicting the hard times of a late 19-th century woman, married to a local fisherman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lCUK2_W7UA.

Simskäla was quite brave when engaging in the somewhat dodgy ”Smilegov” project, wanting to explore and develop its sustainability. There are two businesses on the island (not bad for a 35-person community): a greenhouse and a pub. Both are run in a smart, locally solved, sustainable way: the greenhouse collecting its energy (heat) from the surrounding sea, the pub breeding its own highland cattle, taking fish from the sea and of course vegetables from the greenhouse.

The pub owner (Mikael Lindholm) also drives the ferry to and from the island and has recently become a member of the Parliament of Åland.

During the project, the island made a Sustainable Energy Action Plan https://europeansmallislands.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/simskala-iseap.pdf. It is in Swedish (made by and for them, not for the EU) but the summary is in English. Their plan is to develop the ferry system, which is the single most energy-consuming object of the island (as on all islands).

Now, Simskäla is short-listed for the final evaluation of candidates for the EU Sustainability Award together with 12 other candidates. There are three categories with separate jurys: “Consumers”, “Public Sector” and “Energy Islands”, as well as a fourth category, “Citizens’ Award” chosen through a public vote.

The prize is awarded during the EU Sustainable Energy Week, held for the 12th time in Brussels on June 19th to 25th. The winners, having made “outstanding innovation in energy efficiency and renewables”, will be announced on Monday, June 19th.

What Simskäla has shown – whether a winner of the EUSEW award on not – is that micro communities, despite their small format, are able to take active responsibility for their future in a sensible, ingenious and sustainable manner. They are a benchmark for ESINs 1,415 islands – and for small communities all over Europe.

Map

Creating new pathways for EU islands

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Chair Camille Dressler represented ESIN at the Smart Islands Initiative launch in Brussels yesterday, saying: “We are proud to have been signing the Smart Islands Declaration: islanders will now be truly empowered to be lead the energy revolution: Thank you DG energy for your support, and massive respect to Kostas and Alkisti from the Aegean Energy Agency for holding the vision right through to this fantastic achievement, a well deserved success!!!”

http://bit.ly/2nKTcu5

The journey of the Smart Islands Intiative starts with the 1st Smart Islands Forum, organized last June in Athens at the initiative of DAFNI (coordinator of the SMILEGOV project, which officially ended in 2015. In SMILEGOV ESIN formed a cluster of 15 small islands https://europeansmallislands.com/smilegov/.

The Forum built on this foundation, offering the opportunity to capitalize on the results of SMILEGOV and broaden at the same time the European family of islands. At the Forum more than 40 representatives of island local and regional authorities and actors from Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK as well as organisations such as ESIN, the European Commission, CPMR, EESC, INSULEUR, GEF and GIZ took stock of islands collaboration over the years and decided to launch the Smart Islands Initiative as a meaningful vehicle helping them embark on a smart, sustainable and inclusive development paradigm! To this end, they started drafting the Smart Islands Declaration and decided to have it endorsed by all Quadruple Helix actors back in their islands, namely public administrations, businesses, academic institutions and civil society actors!

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MEPs Eva Kali Eva Kaili, Salvatore Cicu Salvatore Cicu, Anna Hedh Anna Hedh, Davor Skrlec @davor Skrlec, Jens Gieseke  Jens Gieseke, Neoklis Sylokiotis Neoklis Sylikiotis, Gabriel Mato @Gabriel Mato and Alyn Smyth Alyn Smith at the launch in the European Parliament, March 28.

– – –

A smart island is the insular territory that embarks on a climate resilient pathway, combining climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, in order to create sustainable local economic development and a high quality of life for the local population by implementing smart and integrated solutions to the management of infrastructures, natural resources and the environment as a whole, supported by the use of ICT, all while promoting the use of innovative and socially inclusive governance and financing schemes.

To be an island should not be a problem but a pillar of development!

 

Malta 2017ESIN chair Camille Dressler took part in the CPMR Islands Commission annual general meeting which was hosted on Gozo, Malta’s smaller island, seen above with Kostas Komninos from DAFNI, Joseph Borg, Gozo Chamber of Commerce and a lady from Orkney.

The meeting brought together island regions from the North to the South of Europe to look at the future of Cohesion Policy post-2020.  As an observer member, the European Small Islands Federation was extremely pleased to see some very strong principles being reiterated:

– Islands must think globally and act locally

– One size does not dictate all nor add value to a nation

– It is important to bridge the gap between the EU and policies

– It is crucial to get rid of bureaucratic barriers and help micro, small and medium size enterprises through changes to State Aid rules for islands and a rise in De minimis level at least in line with inflation.

– The Cohesion Policy, as a fundamental pillar of EU construction, must act as a forward looking policy bringing EU citizens together

– There must be a new way to look ar shipping issues

– There should be social policies for the islands

– There should be Special funding packages for the islands

– To serve the islands adequately, there must be a place-based approach to the EU Development and Territorial Cohesion Policy.

Vasco Cordeiro

Island Commission President Vasco Cordeiro: “We MUST SPEAK VERY CLEARLY AND VERY LOUDLY ABOUT THE ISLANDS’ NEEDS, to be an island should nto be a problem but a pillar of development!”

Eleni Marianou

CPRM island Commission secretary Eleni Marianou on the future of the EU: The CPMR needs to make a response to the EU White Paper and respond to the key challenges of competiveness, investment and Territorial Cohesion. It needs a strong voice and think of target audiences: EU institutions, National governments, EU Regions, Citizens and Young People. Response includes making the case for EU cooperation based on CPMR principles of balanced Territorial Principles, solidarity between EU and its regions, championing the position of regions in EU policy-making.  CPMR needs to prepare for a strong lobbying campaign prior to and during the EU parliamentary elections in 2018- 2019.

Ioannis Spilanis

Professor Ioannis Spilanis from the University of Aegean: 5% of EU population live on islands. Their access to the Single market is NOT equal to the access enjoyed by other parts of the EU. Insularity has a negative aspect on businesses and people and Brexit will make it worse by reducing the number of islands in the EU and the overall funding share. EU Sectoral policies are without differentiation. For the islands to realise their potential, EU policies need to include insularity clauses. For this reason, a new island typology is needed. Current indicators are woefully inadequate: new indicators are required to describe the islands situation as the classification used in NUTS2 and NUTS3 is not good enough.  (NUTS 3 islands are drowned in the NUTS2 areas). To achieve the EU’s principles of Territorial Cohesion and Sustainability, the development model needs to be changed to include Equal opportunities for the islands and Green island policies.

Spilanis Malta 2017

CPMR proposal:

– We need to communicate what the EU Cohesion Policy stands for.

– We need to provide pertinent examples and make our voices heard for a balanced territorial approach to succeed.

– CPMR’s proposal is for the distribution of funds in NUTS2 areas to be done in a way that favours ESF spending in proportion to the levels of island population: We are asking that the member states offer at least a proportion of their ESF funds to their island population in line with the percentage of population they represent.

http://cpmr-islands.org/energy-climate/cpmr-emphasises-need-for-central-role-of-regions-in-future-of-europe/2482/

Miriam DalliMEP MEP Myriam Dalli: Islands need to have a Can do attitude and islands need to access support to realise their ambitions.

Benetos

Entreprise on islands with INSULEUR president Georgios  Benetos: No economy of scale  for the islands. Added costs of insularity needs to be taken into account. Access to credit and finance is more complicated. VAT should be lower as it is already on some islands ( Corsica, Heilgoland, no VAT in Faroes). There should be a lower level of taxation for islands to help small and medium enterprises as well as micro-enterprises.

Finnish TV reports on ESIN

Finnish state TV station YLE reports that an European organisation for small islands – yes, ESIN – has its centre in Finland’s second smallest municipality: Kökar, and has plans for building an ESIN office there.

http://areena.yle.fi/1-4052507?autoplay=true, the part on Kökar starts at 10:03.

Kökar YLE