European Small Islands Federation

Archive for DAFNI

Islands Initiative Secretariat

Winter Island Stockholm

Thanks to the remarkable and unfailing work of Kostas Komninos and Alkisti Florou at DAFNI, the consortium in which ESIN is one of 26 partners and which is headed by CPMR, has submitted our application for the Islands Initiative Secretariat (re Call for Tenders ENER/B#2017-462). Small islands are part of a major European initiative.


No plastic bags for Christmas, please!


From Tilos to Samothrace and from Alonnisos to Lipsi islands, 49 schools across the Aegean Sea took part in a campaign organised by DAFNI – the Network of Sustainable Greek Islands, in collaboration with the Hellenic Recycling Agency.

It was part of the European Week for Waste Reduction and engaged 1708 students from 28 Greek islands. Teachers together with municipality representatives handed out ecological cloth bags to students, highlighting the importance of re-use for waste reduction – plastic in particular. During the action, participants delivered presentations and discussed the need for product re-use and repair, which will help islands transition into a circular economy path.

This is a particularly important for island regions, where the intense seasonal demand for services takes a heavy toll on both infrastructures and resources, making sustainable resource and waste management an imperative for sustainable local development.

Adding Greek islands on the EWWR map of areas that are frontrunners in waste reduction and responsible resource use is meant to also underscore the potential of islands to emerge as test-beds that can host pilot projects and produce knowledge on smart and efficient resource and infrastructure management, tapping the synergies between energy, transport, water and waste.

Thank you DAFNI and let’s hope for an un-wasted, happy new 2018!

Plastic on quai

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

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

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

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 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.


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.

1st Smart Islands meeting

In Athens, the 1st Smart Islands meeting has just begun.

Smart Islands Forum Agenda13522069_1067850566603441_6129846196634143666_n


13512179_1067850509936780_6023019476851118301_nSmart Islands Forum Agenda

Smart Islands Forum List of Participants