Small islands are both fragile and unique. As they are at the forefront of global changes, they accumulate many issues: limited resources, biological diversity needing protection, pressures associated to human activities... These are issues which can possibly have pragmatic and effective solutions making small islands pioneers of more sustainable development.
SMILO (Small Islands Organisation) is an NGO governed by french law. Its mission is to support small islands measuring less than 150 km² that wish to adopt a more sustainable way of managing their territory. SMILO’s actions cover various transversal themes such as water, sanitation, waste, energy, biodiversity, landscapes and island heritage.
SMILO’s approach is anchored in shared governance and fosters the sustainable development of each territory to the benefit of its population and their environment.
The islands’ dedication is recognised in a label developed by SMILO. The Sustainable Island label constitutes international recognition for small islands that are striving to improve the management and conservation of natural resources. The label aims to highlight conservation challenges on small islands and to promote territories that are veritable "laboratories" with a role to play in ecological transitioning. To support islands as they work towards the label, SMILO grants access to an Islands Fund, which finances concrete, innovative operations on islands.
During the development phase (2017-2021), 18 small islands located in Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia joined the NGO SMILO with a view to obtaining the Sustainable Island label.
All in all, over thirty island territories are members of the SMILO network, embracing a spirit of cooperation and solidarity between islands. The network regularly brings islands and partners together at international events, where they can pool their best practices as well as their knowledge on specific subjects. Training courses and workshops are also organised, run by experts - usually volunteers - who the islanders can also call upon for advice and technical support directly in the field.
Advocacy initiatives by the NGO SMILO aim to put the question of small islands on the international agenda. Small islands are standing on the front lines of climate change and can thus be pioneers in achieving more sustainable development.
In terms of governance, SMILO holds a General Assembly and has a Board of Directors composed of 5 colleges. The NGO is aided and accommodated by the European & International Division of the Conservatoire du littoral, and supported by the FFEM (the French Facility for Global Environment), the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Europe’s Interreg France-Italy (Maritime) programme 2014-2020, France’s Ministry of the Environment, and the French Embassy in Croatia.
A FOUR-POINT STRATEGY
- Structure and strengthen shared and sustainable local governance that involves all local actors
- Support innovative and concrete operations for the sustainable management of territories through technical and financial support
- Strengthen international cooperation, through the exchange of knowledge and good practices, the mobilization of experts, etc.
- Valorise the results at the internal level, through major meetings and events, capitalisation and sharing of good practices.
CONCRETE COMMITMENTS AND BENEFITS
On a local level
- Identification of the island's margins for progress in terms of resource management
- Recognition of the key-players’ commitment
- Strengthening of local management capacities: lobbying, reporting, innovative financing
- Raising public awareness
On an international level
- Capitalisation of sustainable territorial planning and practices that can be replicated in other territories
- Concrete contribution to ecological transition and sustainable management of resources, in line with international conventions
- Recognition of island territories
STRATEGIC AND THEMATIC ORIENTATIONS
The strategic orientations are SMILO's principles and main recommendations to follow to sustainably manage an island's resources and to protect its environment. They form together the framework for candidate islands to the certification process.
The thematic orientations define the fields in which the islands are evaluated. They also characterise the themes on which SMILO can provide expertise.
These objectives are summarised in the diagram below and are available via the following link: Strategic and thematic orientations.
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