ESIN, the European Small Islands Federation

The Scottish Islands Federation is a member of ESIN,  the European Small Islands Federation.

Members countries are Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Aaland, Denmark, Ireland, France, Greece, Italy.

A new member has just joined: Croatia

Find out more on the ESIN website

IMG_2055

Report from the 2014 ESIN AGM, held on the island of Sant’Antiocco, Sardinia. 

This year, ESIN (the European Small Islands Network) held its AGM in Sant’ Antioco, a small island off the south coast of Sardinia on 23-26 September 2014. Island federations from eight European countries were represented: Scotland, Sweden, France, Finland, Denmark, Aaland, Ireland and Italy.

The starting points for discussion were provided by the results of the ESIN strategy survey, building on last year’s AGM work in Aaland and the work started at the AGM in Scotland the year before. Another very useful presentation was made by Neil Lodwick of the University of Wales on the necessity to build in key indicators of sustainability to address island challenges. ANCIM, the federation of the islands of Tuscany, who hosted the AGM also presented the way islands issues have now been taken on board by the Italian Government in their policy framework. Finally, “How to read an island”, a book which showed how to use the De Bono hats to understand the smaller islands in Europe was presented by his author, the Aaland board member and one of the newly elected ESIN vice-chairs alongside Scotland and Italy, providing a useful introduction to smaller islands across the EU.

The AGM came up with a very positive cooperation project to address the challenges of island life today. ESIN members decided to especially focus on developing entrepreneurship and innovation on the small islands as the means to foster growth of business opportunities in all sectors and secure job opportunities, particularly for young islanders.

A good working model for such cooperation project was provided by the EGTC Archimed, in which ANCIM is involved and which brings together islands in the Mediterranean area. It was suggested that ESIN could join this EGTC or even form its own EGTC. The up and coming new INTERREG 4 programme could also offer opportunities for cooperation across islands in the EU.

The EU Small Islands represent approximately 15 million inhabitants but have so far been neglected compared to the larger islands, as was pointed out Francesca Barracciu MEP and Under Secretary of State for Tourism and Culture, who attended the meeting together with a representative of the Italian senate and of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia. She said: “ it was a question of social justice that this situation should be rectified and this is why the Italian government has just passed laws which are seeking to address the islands’ needs on the same basis as the mainland areas.”

ESIN is also expanding its membership with countries such as Croatia expressing a strong interest to join the island federation after their resent visit to meet with Esin representatives. One of ESIN’s aims is to demonstrate to the EU how small islands in particular can showcase sustainable development models that can be replicated in other rural areas in the EU, particularly in the fields of renewable energy, cultural and environmental preservation and community development.

With Italy currently holding the presidency and demonstrating such strong support for the islands, ESIN feels this is a good time to start working with the new MEPS, and especially those have already pledged their support through the Island Champion Pledge during the election campaign to ensure that EU policies can address the needs of island economies.

ESIN AGM 2013, held in Marienhamm, Aaland  

ESIN AGM 2012, held in the isle of Mull, Scotland  

ESIN AGM 2011, held in the island of Yeu, France 

ESIN AGM 2010, held in the island of Samso, Denmark 

 

 

 

THE VOICE OF COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS ON SCOTTISH ISLANDS