The COVID-19 Island Insights Series is an initiative led by the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance (SCELG) and the Institute of Island Studies (IIS) at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) in collaboration with Island Innovation. The Series aims to bring together critical assessments of how specific islands around the world have performed during the COVID-19 pandemic and the extent to which their recovery plans are able to promote long term resilience and sustainability.
Every two weeks, Island Innovation will release COVID-19 Island Insights Series from two different islands. This week we are in the Mediterranean and focusing on Malta and the Egadi Islands, Italy. The piece on Malta is authored by Marie Briguglio and Stefano Moncada and the piece on the Egadi Islands by Giulia Sajeva.
Our first two COVID-19 Island Insights are both located in the Mediterranean and rely heavily on their tourism industries: the island nation of Malta and, in contrast, the relatively small Egadi Archipelago, an Italian municipality located on the western side of Sicily. Both islands fared well at the beginning of the pandemic in terms of keeping COVID-19 at bay through stringent lockdown measures. However, different patterns emerged once restrictions were lifted and tourists were welcomed back in early summer. In fact, the Egadi have managed so far to maintain an almost COVID-free status, while Maltese cases have steeply increased. Tourism in Malta has thus continued to suffer, with far-reaching impacts into the retail, rental markets and other sectors across the nation that depend on both tourists and the foreign workforce. In both Malta and the Egadi, the pandemic has also highlighted ongoing sustainability concerns in various domains, prompting demand for visions for recovery that facilitate and accelerate shifts towards more sustainable and resilient forms of development in line with the SDGs. In the Egadi, this may encourage more sustainable tourism practices and investment in green energy, transport and waste infrastructure. In Malta, the economic restart arguably provides a window of opportunity to address the growing needs of environmental protection, adoption of circular economy concepts and greater investment in education and the digital economy.
The COVID-19 Island Insights Series will lead to a series of “thematic primers” aimed at assisting policy makers and wider island related stakeholders to encourage islands to move to a more resilient and sustainable future.
List of islands covered by the COVID-19 Island Insights Series (list subject to change):
- Åland Islands (Finland)
- Croatian Islands
- Egadi Islands (Italy)
- Guam (USA)
- Hawai’i (USA)
- Lesvos (Greece)
- New Zealand
- Newfoundland (Canada)
- Okinawa (Japan)
- Prince Edward Island (Canada)
- Saint Helena (UK)
- Shetland Islands, Scotland (UK)
- Solomon Islands
- Trinidad & Tobago