European Small Islands Federation

Archive for Croatia

The Wizards of Iž


Iž  [pronounced îːʒ] is a limestone and dolomite island in Croatia with an area of 18 sq km and 615 residents. It is situated an hour’s ship ride from Zadar. Summertime, the island is very popular amongst foreign tourists, largely due to its clear waters and beautiful beaches. It is a ”two-word island”, well known among crossword puzzlers.

Wanting to extend their tourist season and to fund the renovating of the local school, the inhabitats of Iž arranged the first ski race ever on a Dalmatian island. They brought trucks with 60 tons of snow on the ferry to the island. On December 23, the ”Iž Snow Queen Trophy” brought more than a thousand visitors to the island.

The 70 skiers came from Zadar, Split, Zagreb, Slovenia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Austria and even a five-member ski team from Sweden. The winner was a young man from Zadar.

The real winners are the kids of Iz since the proceeds will be used to renovate the local school, with all event costs being covered by sponsors and the Zadar Tourist Board.

Merry Christmas!


Smart Young Islanders



In October 2014, ESIN hosted a meeting with young people from the Croatian organisations DESA based in Dubrovnik, SVIMA (Association for Civil Society Organisations and Civil Initiatives Development) and the Association for Sustainable Development of the Island of Rava. They wanted to prepare themselves for full utilisation of the European Social Fund.

At the meeting which took place in Stockholm Bengt Almkvist, Marian O’Malley and Christian Pleijel met with Dino Varenina, Ana Eric and Romana Hansai from DESA, Antonia Uskok who is the young vice mayor of Vis, and Ivan Srsen, born on Rava, living on Rava, working as an environmental officer, a local guide and producer of Fleur de Sel.

In June 2015, island kids from Åland, Turkey, Latvia and Latvia and of course Crotia met on Vis

Later that year, Otočni Sabor (the Association for the Development of Croatian Islands) became a member of ESIN.

Now, Otočni Sabor, SVIMA and Association for the Sustainable Development of the Rava Island have commenced a new project called ”Active Young Islanders for smart small islands”.

The project seeks to equip young islanders (aged 15 – 25) of several Croatian small islands with policy-tracking, communications, advocacy and campaigning knowledge & skills through:

(1) Tailor-made workshops for young islanders and respective public panel discussions entitled “Smart small islands in the Republic of Croatia and active contribution of young islanders – reality or utopia” with a participation of relevant Croatian Members of the European Parliament / members of the European Economic and Social Committee

(2) An action research / a public panel discussion on the young women representation in the small islands’ decision-making process/in the small islands-based governing & management structures

(3) An advocacy campaign during which the young islanders will have an opportunity to clearly articulate to relevant decision-makers (line ministries & Croatian Parliament’s Committees) as well as the general public on their opinions/concerns with regard to transformative development agenda of Croatian small islands based on the “smart islands” concept.

The project makes me think of ”reverse mentoring” = traditional mentoring turned on its head. A method where more experienced (=old) people actively seeks the council of (young) people with less overall experience but fresh perspectives and skill sets.

Croatia is the youngest member of ESIN. We have a lot to learn from you.

old-youngYoung olives growing on and old one, Rava (renowned for its olives)


Denis Barić re-elected President of Croatian islands

Baric & PiculaDenis Barić and Tonino Picula

Fifteen years have passed since the Croatian Islands Parliament (Otočni Sabor) was founded. The last year has been focused on the fight for the preservation of small-scale fishing, the consequences of the implementation of the Ordnance on conditions and manner of exercising the right to preferential transport on the routes in the public maritime transport, the 63rd session of the Committee on Environment and Nature of the Croatian Parliament on the issue of research and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Adriatic, participation in two petitions (for helicopter emergency medical assistance and “against cancer in two steps”), actions for fair island products, for island culture, and becoming a member of ESIN.

– ”Living on an island, by birth or choice, must not be an obstacle to the development aspirations of a modern man”, says Denis Barić.

At the Islands Parliament meeting, MEP Tonino Picula pointed out that all availabe data shows the average national income of an islander is much lower than that of a mainlander.

– We will try to meet a common desire to form an independent Croatian cluster for energy sustainability of the islands. We plan to strengthen the agricultural cooperatives on the islands in order to increase employability of young people. We are especially proud that our oldest member, 100-year-old Anti Dragić, just published his book “Life on the island – economic life on the islands between the two world wars,” says Denis Barić, who was re-elected as President of the Islands Parliament of Croatia on the 18th of May.


Small Island Survival Kit

Small island survival kitTonino-Picula

Today I presented a “Small Islands Survival Kit” at a conference in Dubrovnik, being here as the vice president of ESIN on personal invitation of Tonino Picula, born on the small island Mali Losinj, member of the European Parliament, vice chair of the important Islands Intergroup and Croatia’s first foreign minister.

I used examples from the Aland archipelago and from the Irish Cork islands. Croatian newspapers report that “Christian Pleijel iz Európske federacije malih otoka (ESIN) pohvalio je Irce koji su napravili” atlas otoka “koji prikazuje koliko ljudi Zivi na otocima mare conditioned, kako su izvori svježe vode raspoređeni po otoku, koliko see energije in otpada Trosi svaki dan na jedan vrlo točan, faktički način. Strategija kp razvijena u tijesnoj suradnji otoka in općine, rekao kp Pleijel … ” … which, as you all understand, means: “Christian Pleijel of the European Small Islands Federation (ESIN) praised Ireland who have made an integrated strategy for its seven islands that identify population, water, energy and waste in a very accurate, objective way. The strategy was developed in close cooperation between the islands and the county said Pleijel. ”

I refer to the West Cork Islands Integrated Strategy, an ambitious work everybody should study. To make my references understandable I placed Åland and the West Cork islands in the Adriatic Sea. And yes, I opened the Survival Kit and showed them what’s inside.

Adriatiska havet3

Young islanders

I have been peer-reviewing young islanders’ situation on Åland and in Croatia. There is a lack of data (what is “young”; how many young people are lacking jobs (except in summer), gender perspectives), there is a lack of explicit consequences if we do nothing, and there is a lack of responsability given to the young themselves, with support , funding and mentoring.

Young people in both archipelagoes seem to think that it is possible to create new jobs if we go for quality tourism, visitor centres, local product branding, small ecological footprints, energy saving projects, low-carbon transports – “Green jobs”.

Here is a a link to a Croatian TV broadcast II you you jump the first 10 minutes will find Jany Hansal chair of DESA Dubrovnik, yours truly and Denis Baric president of the Croatian Islands Parliament.