For its 7th edition, the GTI International Conference and Exhibition has gone 100% digital to meet the international health requirements while allowing a wider worldwide audience to participate: 700+ attendees specialized in island sustainability with participants joining from Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hawaii, Seychelles, Maldives, Barbados, Canary Islands, Malta, Greece and more. From 24 to 27 November, 15 workshops with 90 qualified speakers from front runner islands and leading corporates have addressed the topics related to the sustainable transition of islands, presenting innovative solutions and best practices. The MAESHA H2020 debuted at the event: kicked-off in November 2020 with 11.8m euros budget for innovative smart grid projects in Mayotte and their replicability in other European islands. It will involve 9 countries and 21 partners - including GTI - for 4 years.
Greening the Islands has succeeded in bringing together all the stakeholders of the island world – administrators, regulators, utilities, corporates, scientific institutions and industry associations, etc. – for a cooperation that will continue, flowing into the work of the GTI Observatory in 2021 with the Island Advisory Committee, the Strategy Scientific Committee, Working Groups and Task Forces addressing island needs, producing case studies, position papers and policy recommendations, to facilitate the origination of projects. Extensive material will be distributed via the GTI App, through which the task forces will constantly communicate.
Among the high level contributions from international institutions: Sainivalati S. Navoti – Chief of SIDS Unit, UN DESA; Gurbuz Gonul – Director Country Engagement and Partnerships, IRENA; Catharina Sikow-Magny – Director Internal Energy Market, EC DG Ener; Christopher G. Zamora – Senior Manager, ASEAN Centre for Energy; Michela Miletto – Coordinator a.i., UNESCO WWAP; Konstantina Toli – Senior Programme Officer, Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP– Med); George Kremlis – Honorary Director, EC & Head of Circular Economy and Islands, EC DG Env; Manuel Butler – Executive Director, UNWTO; Edita Dranseikaite – Coordinator Clean Energy for the EU Islands Initiative, EC DG Ener; Normunds Popens – Deputy Director General, EC DG Regio.
CPMR (Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions) and INSULEUR (Network of the Insular Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the European Union) specified that despite contributing only to a minimum extent to global carbon dioxide emissions, islands are disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, coastline erosion, loss of biodiversity, and infrastructure destruction. Insular economies have also been disadvantaged on financial and business levels, and the pandemic is only making this worse.