The eighth edition of the event organised every year by the PIM Initiative (Preserving Small Mediterranean Islands Initiative), the Conservatoire du Littoral (French coastal protection agency), SMILO (Small Islands Organisation) and GLISPA (Global Island Partnership) will be held from 18th to 23rd May. The aim is to increase awareness on issues related to the preservation of the small islands in the Mediterranean.
The theme of this year’s meeting, “Let’s take care of our islands”, is still in phase with the sustainable development perspective adopted from the outset. After highlighting ‘Island biodiversity’ during the first meeting in 2014, all the themes have been focused on promoting nature-based solutions, and management systems dedicated to the protection of small island territories.
The themes chosen each year help managers to imagine diverse ways to raise awareness: outings to natural sites, talks, photo exhibitions, technical workshops, waste clean-up operations, immersion of artificial reefs, naturalist surveys, visits to island wetlands, and more. And while the main part of the event is from 18th to 23rd May, it actually continues until July.
This year, a video competition has also been organised in the run-up to the event: the goal is to present in 120 seconds the ‘best practices’ deployed to protect our islands. The video clips will be posted on the Celebrate Islands Facebook page from 18th May, and the winner will receive funding of 3 000 euros to finance a micro-project.
The PIM Initiative, for the promotion and management of Mediterranean islands
Celebrate Islands is a direct spin-off from the PIM Initiative, a programme launched in 2005 by the French coastal protection agency, the Conservatoire du Littoral. In 2017, it became an independent association, an international NGO “for promotion and assistance in the management of Mediterranean insular areas”. It is not simply a matter of protecting purely and simply the natural environment. The aim of the Initiative is also to pool the competencies and the means to “maintain or restore the equilibrium between human dynamics and natural environments on the islands”. There is of course a focus on sustainable development, we must preserve these unique environments, but also develop a living and lasting local economy, whether it is based on tourism, fisheries, agriculture or industry. Not forgetting the necessity to “preserve and valorise the uniqueness of the natural and cultural island heritage”, on the 15 000 islands and islets to be found in the Mediterranean.
The aim is to undertake practical actions in the field, based on a network of “experts from different disciplines, managers of natural areas, coastguards, public bodies and NGOs throughout the Mediterranean region, who compare experiences and exchange notes and make their expertise available to ensure better managed and better protected island areas”.
Since the launch of the PIM Initiative, the Institut Océanographique Paul Ricard has also taken part in several field missions in France and abroad.