The story behind
ISLENET is the first network of island authorities promoting sustainable energy and environmental management, founded by the Western Isles, Shetland, Orkney, Madeira, Açores and the Canary Islands. ISLENET operates under the political umbrella of the Islands Commission of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions – CPMR.
In its opinion the CoR (Committee of the Regions) presents the problems of island regions in the European Union in the context of enlargement, placing emphasis on the need to account for the island dimension when formulating EU policies and regulation in the relevant areas, i.e. energy, transport, fisheries etc.
The European Parliament adopts the Motion for Resolution tabled by MEP Francesco Musotto, which proposes tailored measures to a number of challenges facing European islands and sheds light on islands' significant renewable energy potential and need to promote sustainable energy projects locally.
DG Energy launches a call for proposals inviting interested island partnerships to submit proposals for the development of a binding Pact of Islands, where committing island authorities are invited to achieve a minimum of 20% CO2 emissions reduction by 2020 through the development of island Sustainable Energy Action Plans (iSEAPs). The winning consortium is made of partners from the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, Gotland, Samsø, Azores and Madeira, the Canary Islands and Balearics, Sardinia, Malta, Aegean islands, Crete and Cyprus.
The Pact of Islands, the political initiative of European islands, is officially recognized by the European Parliament as an EU initiative that runs parallel to the Covenant of Mayors.
EURELECTRIC publishes a report demonstrating islands’ potential to become test-beds for cutting-edge sustainable energy technologies helping Europe transition in the low-carbon era.
13 islands partners across Europe work together in clusters to mature sustainable energy projects through enhanced multi-level governance. Key deliverable of SMILEGOV is the Smart Islands Strategy. The Strategy stresses the need to establish partnerships among different stakeholders so as to ensure the deployment of integrated solutions that maximize existing synergies between energy, waste, water, transport and ICT and enable the development of sustainable economic activities on islands.
The Opinion calls for the implementation of smart policies and smart development initiatives at EU, national and regional levels that cater for the specific characteristics of islands. This entails an expert group on islands that would oversee policy and the establishment of an open platform to act as a forum for coordination and action among islands.
The 35th Annual Conference of the CPMR Islands Commission marks a strong comeback of islands in the European Parliament. 41 new members join the Pact of Islands, which today counts 117 members. Further, islands’ potential to demonstrate excellence in a number of areas including buildings, tourism, transport, energy production and management, waste and water management, agriculture and fisheries excellence and thus rise as smart, innovative and competitive territories is highlighted.
The European Parliament adopts the Resolution on the special situation of islands calling for an Agenda for EU Islands accompanied by an EU Strategic Framework for Islands with a view to linking up financial instruments that can have a major territorial impact.
Capitalizing on the dynamic created by years of collaboration and in an effort to enlarge the European family of islands, the Network of Sustainable Greek Islands – DAFNI hosts in Athens on 21-22 June the 1st Smart Islands Forum, a first-of-its-kind, networking and goal-setting event bringing together 35 islands from 13 countries, as well as policy makers, private sector representatives, researchers and civil society with an interest in pushing for islands’ affairs at EU level. During the Forum island representatives start drafting the Smart Islands Declaration, currently signed locally by EU island authorities.
In the Commission’s recent “Communication on Clean Energy For All Europeans” the potential of islands to host pilot innovative projects and this drive Europe’s transition into a smart, low-carbon and inclusive path is stressed.
On 20 February EURELECTRIC publishes the “Towards the Energy Transition on Europe’s Islands” report which highlights the role of islands in Europe’s energy transition. The report calls for a European framework for islands, one that offers tailored solutions to islands’ energy needs, taps into their potential to act as test-beds for innovative technologies and empowers island communities to become drivers and delivery agents of the energy transition at local level.
On 28 March islands make a strong comeback at the European Parliament to present the Smart Islands Initiative and communicate their potential to transform into smart, inclusive and thriving societies for an innovative and sustainable Europe.