Tuesday, 30 March 2021

How is Croatian Island Energy Transition Process Going?

March the 30th, 2021 - When it comes to Croatia's beautiful islands, things tend to look more idyllic than they are. With islander complaints rife and comparisons between the mainland almost constant, the Croatian island energy transition process is an important topic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ivan Tominac writes, the initial phase of the EU Island Clean Energy Secretariat has proved successful. A number of new energy projects and activities have been launched, in which the Croatian association Pokret otoka (Island movement) has also been active. Given the effectiveness of this kind of network, the European Commission (EC) has launched the second phase of the work of the Secretariat for Clean Energy of the EU islands.

They continue to cooperate with Pokret otoka as a regional partner that will represent and support the Croatian island energy transition over the next two years. For the aforementioned phase, in the spring of 2021, a call for projects will be announced for which the island's stakeholders will apply with their various project proposals, and the added value they will receive will come in the form of professional technical assistance.

Workshops have been announced that aim to engage island communities to act at the local level and take on a coordinating role in numerous Croatian island energy transition projects. Among other things, the Islands Think Tank will gather from all levels of government - a group whose task is to discuss both the legal and regulatory barriers to the transition to clean energy on the islands.

Support in this work consists of finding sources of funding and shaping future projects, and for those islands that are only at the very beginning in terms of wider community engagement, professional support is available for community building and defining different transition strategies.

Valid and timely support has proven to be the path to self-sustainability of island communities, and Pokret otoka has always believed in this. It is an association that brings together all lovers of islands and all of the country's many islands, with the desire to achieve the necessary social change.

Changes at all levels

It is indisputable that the aforementioned association is doing an excellent job in terms of this desire, as evidenced by the cooperation with the Secretariat for Clean Energy of the European Islands. The collaboration they have started over the past two years has triggered a number of activities and positive changes on several islands. The focus was primarily placed on developing strategies for the Croatian island energy transition, and it was in this manner that they bravely stepped out onto the path to a more sustainable and green future in general. Their praiseworthy example alone encouraged many other people to think more deeply about further development.

"By working together, we launched projects on Korcula, Hvar, Brac and the Cres-Lošinj archipelago and we encouraged cooperation at all levels of the government. It's especially important for us that we're able to connect and strengthen local stakeholders and initiate changes from the bottom up,'' said the president of Pokret otoka, Maja Jurisic.

Continued positive changes seem to be happening along that route, but support has always been and will remain a much-needed ingredient. Owing to that, back in February this year, they signed a new two-year contract with the Secretariat for Islands established at the European Commission at the initiative of Croatian MEP Tonino Picula.

“The goal of this cooperation is to continue the started activities and realise the goals from the strategies, as well as to encourage other island communities on their paths to clean energy. Over the next couple of years, in cooperation with our partners from Europe, training sessions will be organised, professional and technical support will be provided to transition teams located on the islands, we'll take part in mapping legislative frameworks and in the proposal of measures to encourage energy project development and the Green Plan policy.

We're witnessing big changes at all levels, including a shift towards green policies and concrete sustainable development. Therefore, we believe that the community of islanders and island stakeholders, who will be involved in this Croatian island energy transition, will be further increased and strengthened, and that we'll all learn and develop together with other islands and islanders across Europe,'' added Jurisic.

Bringing change isn't always an easy task, however, as they pointed out from Pokret otoka, the perspective needs to be changed in order to achieve those much needed alterations. Therefore, when asked about obstacles, they say they prefer to call them challenges.

If we go back in time, few people took the Croatian island energy transition and the path towards more sustainable development seriously, these topics were spoken of by a few politicians only, and the whole transition was carried on the backs of green activists for many years. At this point, this is no longer the case, and issues surrounding the green transition have become part of our daily lives.

“The biggest challenges are always people and the inevitable change of habits that we all have to implement in our lives and thus indirectly in the communities in which we live. Additionally, one of the biggest challenges was to articulate the needs and attitudes of the islanders and to understand the proper functioning of various systems and ways of making strategies, plans, programmes and decisions that directly affect the lives of islanders.

I often say when we're asked what the role of Pokret otoka is that we're actually translators of the island needs into the language of state bodies and vice versa. Real knowledge of the community requires coexistence and understanding of the specifics that aren't lacking on the islands,'' she added.

Of course, another challenge is tourism, too. Seasonality and excessive oscillations of people on the islands affect the overall transition and implementation of the strategy, as do a lack of professional staff and long-term development planning.

However, despite all of the above, Pokret otoka refuses to give up. Instead, it establishes regular and constructive communication with public authorities, participates in working groups for the development of strategies and plans for the country's islands and establishes strategic partnerships with organisations that have relevant experts on the topics they deal with.

Rome wasn't built in a day...

"I think the Croatian island energy transition we're working on will take time. In order not to lose motivation, it's important to set goals on an annual and even monthly basis. Then the ultimate goal seems much more achievable to you because ultimately, the goal stops mattering, but the path we're walking along does,'' said Jurisic.

For all current information about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel and border rules, as well as testing centres across the country, bookmark this page.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Clean Energy for EU Islands Secretariat Continues to Work with Island Movement

ZAGREB, 27 February, 2021 - The European Commission has launched Phase II of the Clean Energy for EU Islands Secretariat as part of which it continues to cooperate with Croatia's Island Movement as a regional partner which will support the energy transition of Croatian islands in the next two years.

In this second phase, the Secretariat will build on the results of Phase I and over the next two years it "will match bottom-up initiatives with expert support leading to a pipeline of clean energy projects on the islands," the Island Movement said on Friday.

In Phase I, the Secretariat devised strategies for EU islands' transition to clean energy. Croatia's island communities of Korčula, Hvar, Brač and the Cres-Lošinj Archipelago applied for devising strategies, thus ensuring cooperation with the Secretariat's experts and partners.

A score of new energy projects were launched during Phase I, the Island Movement acting as a bridge between islanders, local government, national authorities and European institutions.

In Phase II, a call for projects will be launched this spring so that island stakeholders can submit a description of their project to receive technical assistance. Workshops will be organised as Energy Academies that engage island communities to act at the local level and take up an active role in energy transition projects on their island.

Stakeholders from different levels of governance will be brought together in an Islands Think Tank to discuss legal and regulatory barriers for clean energy on islands.

The Secretariat will help islands that are ready to start strategic planning to find financing and shape their energy projects, and guide others that are yet to engage the community to build a local coalition and define their transition strategy. The Islands Marketplace facilitates and provides financing to energy projects on islands by matching island communities with investors and technology providers.

The Island Movement is an association helping and promoting Croatian islands and life on them, advocating action towards sustainable development.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Energetic Transition Process Begins on Croatian Islands

The Clean Energy Secretariat on EU islands held an energy transition workshop attended by representatives from the Croatian islands of Brač, Cres, Hvar, Korčula and Lošinj last week.

As Morski writes on the 18th of March, 2019, Croatian islands officially launched an energetic transition up and down the coast. Back at the beginning of February this year, the Secretariat's initiative for clean energy for the EU's islands, which was initiated by the Croatian MEP Tonino Picula, announced a list of 26 European island communities that will receive expert and advisory support for the energy transition strategy in the coming period, writes Pokret otoka (Island movement).

Among the 26 selected islands are four Croatian island communities: The Cres-Lošinj archipelago and Brač, Hvar and Korčula. The two-day workshop, organised with the cooperation of the cities of Cres and Mali Lošinj, the OTRA Island Development Agency, LAG Kvarner Islands and Pokret otoka (Island movement) as local partners, gathered forty representatives of selected islands that, with expert assistance, will set the first foundations of energy transition plans. The gathering took place last weekend and this is the first of a total of ten workshops which will be carried out by the Secretariat for the EU islands in the forthcoming period.

Representatives of transition teams from all five islands participated in the workshop in Mali Lošinj, which will work on strategy development in cooperation with partners and experts in the coming period. The goal of the two-day workshop, besides transferring knowledge and experiences from different areas, has also been gathering, networking and strengthening the island's stakeholders for further cooperation in the energy transition process.

The Cres-Lošinj archipelago, set as one of the six European pilot projects, should have its energy transition plan should be ready by the end of summer 2019. The remaining twenty islands, including Brač, Hvar and Korčula, will have their plans in place by 2020. Despite the abundance of renewable energy sources, many islands currently depend on fossil fuels and energy imports from the mainland. The transition to clean energy can help the islands not only become more self-reliant and prosperous, but also open up new opportunities for employment in their communities and encourage further direct development of the islands.

The other islands that will be pilot projects in the initiative are the Irish Islands, Sifnos in Greece, Salina in Italy, La Palma in Spain and Culatra in Portugal. Twenty other islands will follow their development and enjoy the suppor of experts in the same direction. An expert team of the Secretariat for the islands will produce guides to initiate energy transition, encourage community involvement and discuss project financing in the forthcoming period.

Croatian islanders will have the opportunity to cooperate with each other, create a network of good practices, educate themselves and and participate in various events. It is important to emphasise the fact that the whole initiative is based on the "bottom up" approach, and the primary principle of transition success is based on the involvement of all local community stakeholders, which include the representatives of local self-government units, entrepreneurs, educational institutions, and of course civic initiatives.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more information on Croatian islands and much, much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Ana Marija Jakas for Pokret otoka (Island movement)

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

All Concession Authorizations on Šolta Cancelled Due to Irregularities

A few days ago, a notice was received by the Municipality of Šolta, the Šolta Municipal Council, the Department for Tourism and Maritime Affairs of Split-Dalmatia County, the State Administration Office in Split-Dalmatia County, the Budgetary Control Service of the Finance Ministry, and the Municipal State Attorney's Office in Split. The notice in question is a detailed report about administrative inspections carried out over the summer, from July 20 to August 20, by inspectors of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure, based on a complaint submitted by the Island Movement about illegal activities in granting of concession authorizations, reports Otoci.eu on November 20, 2018.

Although the entire process was initiated after an Island Movement complaint, for unknown reasons the report did not arrive at its address. However, due to its persistence in trying to be informed in a lawful and transparent manner about the process, the Island Movement did eventually receive the document.

Amongst other things, the commission has ordered the Municipal Council of the Municipality of Šolta that it must, within 30 days of the receipt of the report, discuss the findings and conclusions contained in the report, as well as the state of affairs in the maritime domain management sector. However, according to available information, the municipal councillors have not yet received the report nor has a session of the Municipal Council with this item on the agenda been convened. There are just about a dozen days to call the session with the item of agenda. In the meantime, a session of the Council has been convened for Tuesday, November 20, but without this point on the agenda.

Over the summer months, chaos ruled on the island. Catering facilities started operating in May without concession authorizations or with authorizations which were granted illegally. The Maritime Domain Management Plan of Split-Dalmatia County was approved only on May 30 and that was a precondition for granting concession authorizations.

The administrative inspections included:
– regular management of the maritime domain in general use in the area of the Municipality of Šolta;
– the legality of activities of the Concession Authorization Board of the Municipality of Šolta, including the approval of applications and the issuance of concession authorizations;
– charging of fees for concession authorizations granted.

In addition to the administrative oversight of the Concession Authorization Board, the members of the Concession Authorization Board were interviewed. Only a representative of the Split-Dalmatia County had not appeared at the hearing.

Inspections of certain catering facilities were also carried out. The Island Movement does not have any additional information about the results of these inspections.

The use of budgetary funds contrary to the stated purpose and forgery of official documents are just some of the irregularities identified in the process of granting concession authorizations. This is the reason why the commission has requested further measures by the Finance Ministry in order to establish unlawful compensations for concession authorization fees and catering services, and by the Municipal State Attorney's Office in Split for the suspicion of criminal offenses of forgery of official documents.

Time will tell whether this process has touched the very tip of corrupt and illegal activities in the municipality. Given the officially initiated procedures, the Island Movement believes that it is the right time, in the public interest and in order to respect the legal regulations, to re-examine the way how the municipality is run.

This makes it clear that finger-pointing against those who warned about these and similar problems was malicious. The Island Movement hopes that the time it eagerly expects will come, that is that the truth, justice, transparency and legality of public activities will become a rule and not an exception. The Island Movement hopes that the politics on the island of Šolta will become what it should be – an honourable service for the benefit of the people.

Translated from otoci.eu.

For more on the Island Movement, click here.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

European Commission Signs Declaration on Importance of Islands

Will Croatia's islands finally be given the proper means to catch up with the mainland?

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Supetar Tries Hand, Secures EU Funds

Good news for Supetar!

Monday, 26 March 2018

Cultural Project for Šolta in Partnership with Island Movement

Šolta is stepping up its culture game thanks to a helping hand from the Island Movement.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Island Movement’s Proposals Included in New Law on Islands

The new law is expected to be adopted by the Parliament next year.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Can You Hear Our Islands? Join the Sailing Trip Around Zadar Archipelago!

If you happen to be spending some time in Zadar or anywhere close by next weekend, consider yourself lucky: you have an unique opportunity to take part in a wonderful trip that's about to connect Croatian islands and people living on them.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Residents of Šolta Kicked Out From Public Meeting of Municipal Council

President of the Municipal Council of Šolta island decided to kick out representatives of the public from a Council meeting convened to discuss waste management

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