Friday, 7 October 2022

Croatian Island Movement Accepted into European Small Islands Federation

October the 7th, 2022 - The Croatian Island Movement (Pokret otoka), which works to take care of and further improve the needs of the inhabitants of Croatia's many islands, has been accepted into the European Small Islands Federation.

As Morski writes, at a recently held meeting of the Board of Directors of the European Federation of Small Islands (ESIN), the decision to accept the Croatian Island Movement as a representative of Croatia's islands was confirmed.

On September the 7th and 8th, the Croatian Island Movement participated as an observer during the ESIN annual assembly which was held on the Estonian island of Kihnu, at which the proposal of the president of the federation, John Walsh, to admit a new organisation from the Republic of Croatia to membership was accepted.

After the unanimous support of the Assembly, composed of representatives of the Finnish, Aland, Swedish, Danish, Irish, Scottish and French islands, the Croatian Island Movement became a full member of the ESIN, cemented by recent participation with the Board of Directors.

The ESIN is otherwise a European organisation founded back in 2001 with its official headquarters located in Sweden, and it brings together the representatives of over 1,500 small European islands which are home to over 350,000 islanders in total.

As a network of islanders, the federation enables the exchange of experiences, knowledge and best practices at the local level, advocates and develops a new approach to island development policies, and is the voice of small island communities at the European Union (EU) level. As the Croatian representative, Island Movement (Pokret otoka) will continue to promote the importance of sustainable development, community work and a bottom-up approach to development policies in and through the ESIN.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

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.

Friday, 7 June 2019

European Union Affirms Energy Transition of Croatian Islands

As Morski writes on the 7th of June, 2019, the European Commission (EC) has recognised the value of the energy transition of European islands in 2019, in line with the Clean Energy for the EU islands initiative, the foundation of which can be credited to Croatian MEP, Tonino Picula.

The relevant text from the European Commission states quite specifically that there is a great potential for investing in wind and solar energy and energy from renewable sources for heating and cooling. Promoting such investments could increase the energy self-sustainability of Croatian islands, in line with the Clean Energy Initiative for the European Union's islands.

''I was very pleased to receive the news of additional affirmation and support for the European island transition policy, which was announced today by the European Commission. It's a confirmation that there is room for completely new initiatives and programs for raising the quality of life of EU citizens,'' said Tonino Picula, who will begin his third term in the European Parliament at the beginning of July this year.

He stressed that such clear support to the program, as has been strongly expressed by the European Commission, would be an additional argument to see an increase the European Comission Secretariat's budget to more than one hundred million euros during the next budget period.

Among the list of items in the European Commission's focus are investment policy on research and innovation, sustainable urban and rail transport, energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and environmental infrastructure, all of which are clearly highlighted, taking into account regional differences and increasing the capacity of the competent bodies to realise and implement public projects and policies, which Picula has often emphasised in all of his recent criticisms of the current capacity of Croatian institutions to properly carry out this demanding job.

Picula, along with his colleagues in the European Parliament, initiated the need for the adoption of a resolution on the special situation of the islands, which the European Parliament quickly recognised as the need to adopt special policies relating to islanders and their lives, given that they are often greatly different to that of people living on the mainland.

To briefly recall, as many as ten Croatian islands, out of a total of fifty of the country's inhabited islands, are participating in energy transition pilot projects, which makes Croatia the most successful member of the EU in this competition.

Cres, Ilovik, Lošinj, Male Srakane, Susak, Unije, Velike Srakane and Brač, Hvar and Korčula have been enabled to prepare for the use of renewable energy sources, which will help these islands to better preserve the environment and raise the quality of life of their inhabitants.

Follow our dedicated lifestyle and politics pages for much more.

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)

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?

Monday, 9 April 2018

Keeping the Coast Pristine: Young Couple from Silba Island Cleans Up Local Beach

As the Adriatic coast is drowning in debris, one young couple did their part to keep our beaches clean. An inspiring story from Silba island on April 9, 2018

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.

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, 17 June 2017

Do You Hear Your Islands, Your Coast? Island Movement Protests Law on Concessions

“Let's bring the Law on Concession back to public debate!”

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Brand New Portal Launches for Dalmatia: Meet Dalmacija Danas

The new portal on the block, Dalmacija Danas just launched this week. TCN caught up with the new news portal to see what it is all about.