Small islands that want to make real and measurable progress in moving to a sustainable model of development and tourism can now use a set of global indicators to progress towards a greener future.
The Global Index developed by the Greening the Islands Observatory gives a score for how small islands perform based on a set of technical indicators measuring the effectiveness of actions performed. Two test cases, focusing on the islands of Helgoland in Germany and the Egadi islands, off Sicily’s west coast, were presented at the 6th Greening the Islands international conference in association with CPMR Islands Commission, held in Palermo, Italy on October 16.
The Global Index assesses island performance based on a questionnaire completed by island municipalities and focusing on five topics: energy (electricity and thermal power), water (production, distribution and treatment), mobility (electric vehicles, marine mobility and related infrastructure), waste (separate collection and treatment) and environmental protection. The Global Index is a key part of the work of the Greening the Islands Observatory to promote best practices of innovative technology solutions on islands internationally, lobbying for a legislative framework facilitating the transition to sustainable models and encouraging simpler permitting processes for green projects.
The event in Palermo brought together about 150 participants and featured 40 speakers from international and Italian institutions, business, universities as well as islands across Europe. Organized in collaboration with the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) Islands Commission and supported by Enel X, Energy Everywhere, Axpo, Hitachi, the Chamber of Commerce of Corfu and the Italian utility association, UNIEM. It was the occasion for a preview of the 2019 report of the GTI Observatory and a discussion of opportunities for public and private financing of island projects. European institutions and industrial associations were engaged in a debate about the role of the islands as part of EU National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs).
“The good news is that the urgent need to shift to a more sustainable and green economy on islands presents not only challenges but significant opportunities,” said Gianni Chianetta, Director of Greening the Islands. “It’s essential for island stakeholders to have a rigorous methodology for assessing where they are today and measuring progress. The GTI Global Index helps also to identify the actions and innovative initiatives that can make more the difference in improving the environment and so get a better score”.
“Representatives of island regional governments and industry should continue to work hand in hand” said Davide Strengis CPMR Executive Director. “We need to share data and capitalise on last innovative technologies and solutions”. Next months will be crucial since key decisions will be taken regarding the future of EU policies on climate change adaptation/mitigation and circular economy. The collaboration between the policy makers, the academia and the industry will surely produce joint recommendations that the CPMR Islands Commission and Greening the Islands will use to maximise opportunities and put islands at the top of the new EU political agenda in the post 2020 programming period.
The Global Index has been tested on two islands from opposite ends of Europe: Helgoland in the North Sea and the Mediterranean archipelago of Egadi islands. The evaluation showed that Helgoland is overall a virtuous island and could benefit from further development of electric marine mobility, re-use of water for non-drinking purposes and potentially a wind farm. The Egadi islands would benefit from a focus on energy, water and mobility through actions such as promoting rooftop solar installations and a medium-sized PV installation supported by storage, cutting water losses and re-designing mobility solutions.