Many thanks to Professor Goulding from the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Central Lancashire, for allowing me to share my research at research seminar series held 4th July 2016. It was a great pleasure to meet new colleagues, learn about their research and exchange few ideas. You can find it on page 11: csd-summer-2016-edition
This seminar contributes to a dialogue on sustainability at the regional and local level of the EU rural development, focusing on rural island communities and governance. Despite their geographical and spatial remoteness, isolation and peripherality, rural and remote islands significantly contribute to their regional economy through tourism and various ecosystem services. Current ecosystem approach is heavily top down target driven, employing a substantial range of subjective measures and thus neglecting local island sustainable development, leading to social exclusion and slower economic growth in these regions. This seminar discusses a bottom up and locally driven ecosystem approach, including a better island connectedness, affordable ferry transport, investment into broadband and green technologies, as well as greater stakeholder engagement. Changing communities’ perceptions about sustainable island management is also vital. Despite their remoteness, there are signs of growing re-population and resilience that could be contributed, on one hand, to the government’ commitment to sustainable island development, and on the second, to island communities’ greater involvement in decision making process. Lack of comparable statistics and heterogeneity of space and data suggests adopting fieldwork approach, including ethnographic methods as well as storytelling and GIS, in gathering a local and regional picture.
Keywords: rural islands, sustainability, ecosystem, governance, stakeholder engagement