A better regulatory and legal context could be an important element in facilitating islands in developing innovative projects and adopting sustainable technologies. This was a point of general agreement at the first Italian edition of Greening the Islands, made all the more relevant by the participation of delegates from many of the country’s most important and renowned islands.
The event, held at the end of May at La Maddalena off northern Sardinia, culminated in the signing of the Charter of La Maddalena, a document setting out a process of reviewing the regulatory framework with a view to cutting red tape. Among the first signatories of the Charter were the municipalities of La Maddalena, Sant’Antioco and Porto Torres in Sardinia, Ustica and Favignana in Sicily as well as Ischia and Capri, in the Gulf of Naples. Important authorities also backed the initiative, including the Sicily regional government, ANCIM, Italy’s national association of its 36 small island municipalities, and ENEA, the national agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development.
The aim of the charter is to be a manifesto for the sustainable development of Italy’s small islands. It lays out a vision of public-private collaboration based on the key assets of islands – tourism, culture, environment, agriculture and the green economy. Bringing these elements into synergy represents an opportunity to develop more sustainable island economies.
“The manifesto is just the latest step forward on the island theme,” commented Gian Piera Usai, ANCIM General Secretary. “In 2006, in Portoferraio, the Charter of European islands was adopted, stating the strong bond that exists among all small islands regardless of their geographical context, be it northern European, be it Mediterranean. Subsequently, in 2014 in Crete, the Development Agreement for the Mediterranean was approved, stressing the closest cultural connection, social and economic system of the Mediterranean islands and in particular between the islands belonging to Archimed EGCC, namely Crete, Cyprus, the Balearics, and ANCIM. It was made into an Agreement to strengthen the development and cohesion in a perspective of a true European and solidarity economy.
“The Charter of La Maddalena,” she continued, “is a further evolution and implementation of this system and of the instruments of economic development because it puts the focus on cultural heritage, traditions and crops, and extends the agenda to the themes of water, energy, sustainable mobility and waste. In fact, only a ‘good life’ can smooth out seasonality of island life and encourage greater employment as part of a more sustainable model.”
The ANCIM General Secretary concluded: “The charter was also signed by the Campania, Tuscany and Lazio regional administrations, as well as all 36 ANCIM municipalities. The next event Greening the Islands, to be held in the Canary Islands, will mark a step forward on these issues and especially on the economic and institutional cohesion that ANCIM hopes for.”
Signatories committed to finding and experimenting potential green solutions while taking into account each island’s unique characteristics, simplifying permitting procedures for strategic, integrated projects, helping bring in private sector financing as well as encouraging synergies for a smart economy.