SMILEGOV: 41 new islands joined the Pact of Islands
Representatives of islands across Europe gathered in Brussels on 24-25 June 2015 to assess the progress achieved to date regarding local sustainable energy planning, and engage, more broadly, in discussions on how islands can become drivers of sustainable and inclusive growth. On the 24th SMILEGOV held its final event, during which cluster members shared their experience on strengthening multi-level governance, as a means to ensuring successful design and implementation of sustainable energy plans and projects at local level. The 25th was marked by the Pact of Islands signing ceremony, in the framework of the CPMR Islands Commission General Assembly. With the accession of the new members the Pact of Islands consists now of 117 members, welcoming 41 new comers.
The SMILEGOV final event “Islands towards smarter multilevel governance in their path to 2020” was hosted by the Committee of the Regions. In his welcoming speech Mr Paul FARRUGIA, Mayor of Hal Tarxien, Malta, focused on how to overcome barriers in the implementation of island Sustainable Energy Action Plans (iSEAPs). Feedback was provided by SMILEGOV cluster leaders, who shed light on success stories during the “shinning projects” session. Two partner projects, FEDARENE and REScoop were also presented, giving additional practical tools and feedback to the audience.
A political debate, sized the span of the multilevel and multilateral governance challenges for helping islands achieving the 2020 objectives. During this round table, delegates from several European Islands highlighted the fact that “regional authorities have the chance to create small scale models in their islands where energy projects should generate cooperation and not competition”. Furthermore, they drew special attention on the fact that “Islands want to be perceived as resources and challenges instead of disadvantaged territories” and presented their recommendations to smartly overcome multi-level governance barriers going from “theory to praxis”.
Pact of Islands new comers had then the opportunity to join a training workshop for beginner islands, where detailed information on the process of SMILEGOV were provided.
Finally, the second signing ceremony of the Pact of Islands was hosted during the “Sustainable Islands up to 2020 and beyond” session at the 35th General Assembly of the CPMR Islands Commission in Brussels on 25 June. After the launching in 2011, when 76 islands committed to reduce their CO2 emissions by at least 20% by 2020, other 41 Islands decided to join the Pact in this occasion. The event was organized at the presence of Cllr Steven HEDDLE, President of the Islands Commission and Convener of the Orkney Islands Council as well as Vasco CORDEIRO, President of the CPMR and of the Government of the Azores.
A number of Members of the EU Parliament offered their contributions to the debates, participating in the different sessions of the General Assembly and attending the signing ceremony, such as Ricardo SERRÃO SANTOS (PT-S&D), Miltos KYRKOS (GR-S&D), Tonino PICULA (HR-S&D), Alyn SMITH (Greens/EFA), Claudia MONTEIRO de AGUIAR (EPP), Neoklis SYLIKIOTIS (GUE/NGL), Younous OMARJEE (GUE/NGL) and Salvatore CICU (EPP).