Greening the Islands has taken to the road to deliver a special award to the famous Philippine island of Boracay for its commitment to sustainability on islands with a presentation by Greening the Islands Director Gianni Chianetta to the Undersecretary (Deputy Minister) for Policy, Planning and International Affairs, Atty. Jonas R. Leones, of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The award, assigned in occasion of the 5th edition of the Greening the Islands International Conference by the Greening the Islands Awards jury, was made for the exemplar decision of the government to close Boracay to tourists for six months for an environmental assessment on the islands and develop a plan to recover from sustained environmental damage.
The Island each year serves 2 million tourists and the national government decided to clean up the area and make sure Boracay returns to a level of human impact in line with its natural capacity. The government has declared the island a “critical area” and started to remove constructions that have been built in fragile areas or that have a significant impact on the ecological system.
The delivery of this important recognition directly in Boracay sends an important message to the local population, to companies and establishments in Boracay that in the past months have criticized this decision and failed to appreciate the long-term benefits this will bring to the citizens’ lives and the tourism industry.
Greening the Islands International Conference – Asia Pacific will be held right in Boracay in February 2019 and thanks to the co-operation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other key stakeholders, a roadmap for a sustainability plan on Boracay within the umbrella of our Greening the Islands Observatory will be drafted and presented in occasion of the event.
At the same time, Greening the Islands has started to co-operate with the government of Curaçao to involve the island, an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in the activities of the Greening the Islands Observatory.
Following a meeting with Minister of Economic Development Steven Martina, the aim is to create a Scientific Island Committee with key stakeholders such as local energy and water utility Aqualectra to tackle the island’s main challenges. Critical issues include upgrading the power network to get beyond the current 20% mix of renewable energy sources, improving water management and boosting electric mobility (both road and sea).
As part of the Observatory’s activity, Greening the Islands will explore possible access to European funds for Curaçao. The meeting also discussed the possibility of hosting the first Caribbean conference of Greening the Islands in Curaçao.