European Small Islands Federation

Archive for Sustainability

Kökar to receive ¼ million EUR in Interreg funding

Tobisgrissla Norrharu

To make a long-term sustainability plan, and to develop its bird-watching tourism business, the muncipality of Kökar has been granted 105,000 euro respectively 270,000 euro from the Interreg ”Central Baltic” program.

Much inspired by the Danish islands Omø (En dynamisk Handlingsplan for Omø 2010-2015) and Tunø (Utviklingsplan Tunø i balance 2011-2020), the Kökar plan will cover the next ten years.

Udviklingsplan Tunø i balance (Microsoft Word - 330-handlingsplan_Om370_windows)

The development of bird-watching includes towers, pathways, maps, guide training and a bird watching centre, which in a future project might be extended to include star-gazing, the seas surrounding Kökar, and its bedrock. Islanders have deep knowledge about birds but are mostly concerned with the ones you can eat, while ornithologists also like tits, wood-peckers and eagles. There even is a book called “The Birds’ Kökar” by Ari Linna. It is one of the project’s objectives to merge these two areas of bird-lore.

Ari Linna

Let’s continue to learn from each other in our island network ESIN and to make the best use of Interreg possibilities which we can all be experts on using their online courses in January and February 2018, see


Can we save 25% of the water we use?


The first stage of the Water Saving study is now complete: total water consumption and water supply on the eight islands Tilos and Ithaca (Greece), Vis and Lastovo (Croatia), Sein and Houat (France), Cape Clear and Inis Oírr (Ireland) have been mapped, in detail. Now Mayors and Water Officers take next step, gathering for a challenge meeting on island Vis, September 22-24.

The challenge is: can we save 25% of the water we use? Is it possible to achieve such savings through a balanced blend of actions including information, household technologies, industrial technologies, governance and pricing?

If so, these islands will save 180 million liters of fresh water. If one hundred islands join the challenge, 18 billion liters of water will be saved. If we can extend this knowledge to all of Europe’s 2,400 islands and coastal communities, the saving on one of nature’s most precious assets is almost unimaginable.

The project’s sponsor, EU Parliamentary, former Foreign Minister of Croatia, Tonino Picula, is hopeful:

The field reports from the eight islands can be found here


Islands are in the package


The European Commission wants to boost the transition to clean energy. To this end, it is revising how it uses the financial tools of the Structural and Investment Funds.

As was indicated by DG Energy’s Marie Donnelly during the FOP22 meeting in  Marrakech, 14th of November, islands are in the package.

In the Work programme Annex dated 30.11.2016, the Commission urges the Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank to consider that “islands and island regions provide platforms for pilot initiatives on clean energy transition and can serve as showcases at international level.” … “The Commission would like to help accelerate the development and adoption of best available technologies on islands and island regions, including exchange of best practice in financing and legal and regulatory regimes, and in energy for transport. The first step is to bring the islands themselves together, regardless of their size, geography or their location.” …

“In the first half of 2017, the Commission will hold a high level meeting in Valletta on the clean energy opportunities and challenges for islands. This will launch a process to support islands in their clean energy transition.” (see page 14 in the Annex attached).



Invitation to a water saving project


As reported here on the ESIN blog in February, the Koster islands have a “water problem [that] puts an end to everything”.

To solve this problem, a project is describing Koster’s geophysical water resources (“the water of the island”), the human water footprint on the island (“the water of the islanders”) and way the water is distributed, how the system is managed, financed and administrated (“the water of the municipality”). The project’s website is

The project will present a three-level description of the island’s freshwater systems, and a sustainable system solution that takes all three levels into account.

Meanwhile, it is already evident that the islanders need to save water. A first water saving project will start now at the new built hotel “Kostergården”. It will monitor, in real time, how hotel guests use water for different purposes – showering, flushing the toilet, drinking etc. Each guest can follow their own consumption and the consumption of the whole hotel. They will be involved in saving water in a fun and simple way, backed up by information on the ferries, in the hotel reception and on websites. The hotel – and the island – has the ambition to be a benchmark of sustainability among large hotels on small islands.

The project is using professor Andy Bäcker as an advisor. It will by no means be penalizing or pry into people’s private life, just be smart, fun and creative, turning something repressive into something positive as for example the “Speed Camera Lottery” did.

Koster island would like to start an “island water lab” project with a handful of other small European islands to explore the possibilities of saving water, both by technical means and by changing human behaviour. Islands who are experimenting simultaneously with smart water management techniques could learn from each other and eventually show others how to save water.

Such islands would typically be under 100 km2 in (land) size, have a maximum all-year population of 1,000 people, have a scarcity of freshwater and lots of tourists.

Interested? Just comment here!

Sydkoster från Nordkoster


An Italian model is proving its repeatability

One of the old factories on Favignana, where they used to can the results of “la mattanza” – the bloody tuna slaughter

Projects often aim for repeatability, acting as role models for others – but how often do we actually succeed? For some time, the Italian renewable energy company ENEA has been working on Favignana, one of the Egadi islands, 20 km2 big with 3,400 inhabitants, west of Sicily.

The Progetto Egadi – Egadi Project – has included a composting plant for transforming organic waste into fertilizer; treatment and reuse of wastewater and the installation of a ‘water house’ powered by solar panels (to reduce the use of plastic bottles); patented a procedure for replanting the seabed; created an eco-label, run by the Marine Protected Area of the Egadi, for local companies that have embarked on a path of improvement and environmental impact of their activities. So far, 60 businesses have been certified for meeting the sustainability criteria set out for each tourist category.

It was presented at the smart islands conference in December, 2015

On July 14 2016, ANCIM, the Italian member of ESIN, signed an agreement with ENEA to use Favignana as a stepping stone to develop the environmental, cultural and social aspects of all the 36 small islands of Italy: diffusion of efficient energy, saving energy, renewables, alternative mobility, sustainable water use, waste disposal and tourism. Defined “minor” for the size of their territory, the islands involved in the project are scattered in seven regions, representing an area of about 1,000 km2 with 220,000 inhabitants, which become millions during the summer season.

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2016-07-25 15:34:17Z |  |

Mario Corongiu

The president of ANCIM, Mario Corongiu, is very happy:

”Since its establishment, ANCIM has been trying to create an economic and social development model for small islands. These principles are also encoded in the framework bill of the smaller islands, currently wauiting for the Italian Senate’s approval. We are trying to make the best use of all the skills to maximize the effects of action of institutions, private bodies and entities. The agreement between ANCIM and ENEA is particularly significant for the smaller islands because their size is often an obstacle to have adequate technical expertise and a modern and effective local government ”

The cooperation will also include cooperation in identifying sources of funding, training and information for administrators, operators, citizens and visitors.

One of the first will be Procida, an island halfway between Naples and Ischia, quite small (4 km2) but with more than 10,000 all-year inhabitants, says President of ENEA Federico Testa. A summer school in ”Efficienza Energetica” is already set up on Procida.

Summer School Procida street

Summer school poster and street in Procida

An Italian model, that seems to be working. We can all learn from this.

French islands off the grid


The Mayors of Moline, Batz, Sein, Les Glénan and Ouseesant with the Minister

Three french islands are especially energy-minded: Molène, Ouessant (Ushant) and Sein. Not being connected to the mainland grid makes their contribution to the effects of global change associated with fossil energy consumption all too obvious. This has led them to be ambassadors of island energy transition

Last July, on the occasion of the visit of Prime Minister Manuel Valls to Ousssant, the three mayors of Molène, Sein and Ouessant signed a pledge to be using only renewable energy by 2030.

A number of French partners have come to support them: ADEME, the Region of Bretagne, the department of Finistère, the departmental energy union SDEF, companies such as EDF bringing expertise, investments and technical and financial support, ERDF ensuring operational management of island grids, and Sabella, being a great promise with its tidal, underwater turbine and their new partner AKUO Energy Company.

This is why Madame the Minister Ségolène Royal in charge of energy and ecological transition visited Ouessant last Friday May 13 to support the islands with half a million euro in the TEPCV (Territories a Energie Positive pour la Croissant Verte) program, including also Batz and Les Genan in the transition program. It allows many actions for unconnected islands starting in 2018:

– Energy Management Operations (distribution / exchange of efficient appliances: led, water savers, refrigeration);

– Transformation of street light LED lamps (75% reduction in consumption);

– Examples of renewable energy generation;

– Electric Vehicle Charging Stations 100% renewable;

– Insulation of public buildings;

– Awareness-raising operations of residents and visitors to water and energy savings

– A toxic reduction program in ecosystems linked to rodent control (trapping program on Molène and Sein);

– A zero-phyto program on Ouessant;

– And finally the beginning of a source reduction of food waste.

There is a French proverb saying: To believe a thing impossible is to make it so. These French mayors didn’t.


Madame the Minister