“Smart Islands” Declaration Signed in Brussels

Total Croatia News

Representatives of Croatian islands meet with MEPs and islanders from other European countries.

A delegation of representatives of Croatian islands and representatives of other European countries gathered in Brussels at an event organized by members of European Parliament called “New pathways for European islands”, reports otoci.eu on March 30, 2017.

Davor Škrlec, a Croatian Member of European Parliament, brought together representatives of islands from all parts of Croatia: Andreja Baraba, head of the Department of Island Development and Environmental Protection in Zadar; Andrija Fabris, mayor of Korčula; Vjeran Filippi, president of LAG 5; Darko Jardas, director of Regional Energy Agency for Kvarner; Zdenko Kirinčić, a member of the Dobrinj Municipal Council; Goran Krajačić, a professor at the University of Zagreb; and Maja Jurišić, president of the Buđenje (Awakening) association and the head of the Island Movement initiative.

Representatives of local self-government units from the islands are also the signatories of the Smart Islands Declaration which wants to use the bottom-up approach to identify the potential of European islands for sustainable development towards energy and economic independence. Inspired by the already established European Commission’s initiative “Smart Cities and Communities”, the Smart Islands initiative has been launched and expanded, in addition to the existing focus areas of energy, transport, and information and communication technologies, to water and waste issues, directly addressing the principles of circular economy.

The event was opened by Greek MEP Eva Kaili, who spoke about common problems of European islands, with a focus on transport, water supply and overall infrastructure that slows the development and growth of the islands. Several other MEPs also spoke: Jens Gieseke (Germany), Miriam Dalli (Malta), Alyn Smith (Scotland), Salvatore Cicu (Italy), Neoklis Sylikiotis (Cyprus), Gabriel Mato (Spain), Younous Omarjee (France), Claudia Monteiro de Aguiar (Portugal), Anna Hedh (Sweden) and Davor Škrlec (Croatia).

It is important to emphasize that, despite numerous problems faced by the islands, with a focus on continuous their depopulation, the whole event was devoted to finding concrete solutions. The islands have been innovative since they were first populated, since islanders, due to the distance from the mainland, bad connections and continuous lack of necessary resources, have been forced to cope alone.

Islands are ideal areas for the development of pilot projects that can be replicated and transferred to other areas on the mainland, especially to other rural areas that are faced with very similar challenges. The technology is well-developed, the strategy of the EU is clearly committed to the energy transition and smart use of resources, the development of circular economy, and sustainable development of rural and less developed areas. Therefore, it is necessary to make decisions at the local level and move with the times, taking into account the already well-developed good practices from Croatia and other parts of Europe.

The Smart Islands initiative wants the islands to become smart, inclusive and successful communities and will in this respect encourage taking concrete steps in the direction of raising awareness about climate change and building appropriate solutions at the local level, the use of smart technologies that ensure optimal use and management of resources and infrastructure, the introduction of sustainable transport, the reduction and reuse of waste, the strengthening of social inclusion, the education of the local population, and the overall change towards sustainable and responsible tourism in all its forms.

The declaration was signed on 28 March 2017 in Brussels, and it is believed that it is only the beginning of major and important changes for Croatian islands.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment