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INSULEUR’s Annual Forum – Natural Heritage Mission participation


“Impacts of Climate Change on the Economies of European Islands”

Last Friday, 1 December 2023, in Athens, the Network of the Insular Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the European Union (
INSULEUR) held its General Assembly, followed by its Annual Forum; this year focusing on the ‘Impacts of Climate Change on the Economies of European Islands’. The event took place at Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, in the premisses of the National Library of Greece. The Forum was organised by INSULEUR, under the auspices of the General Secretariat of the Aegean and Island Policy and the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce, with the cooperation of the Islands Commission of the CPMR, the European Small Islands Federation (ESIN), The Small Islands Organisation (SMILO), Greening the Islands (GTI) and Island Innovation. It was endorsed by the Interreg Euro-MED Natural Heritage Mission. Around 100 participants followed and participated to the discussions on climate change’s economic impacts.  

Joseph Borg, President of INSULEUR and President of Gozo Business Chamber, in his welcome speech, explained the need of European islands to overcome the specific challenges and disparities they face. He stated, among other, “Let us move together sustainably, let us see the needs of islands, let us also ensure that their ecosystems are protected, and their beauty is not in any way jeopardised. (…) A balanced and considerate approach is therefore necessary”.

The welcome speeches were followed by the following panels: 

  • The voice of Islanders
  • National, regional and local Policies on climate adaptation. Are Islands taken into consideration in the elaboration of these Policies?
  • Climate change: what the EU is doing

The National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) represented the Natural Heritage Mission in the 2nd Panel of the Forum, which was about the national, regional, and local policies on climate adaptation. Mrs Vera Bougiouri, on behalf of Prof. Ioannis Chatjigeorgiou, NTUA’s Rector, took the floor to explain how the Interreg Euro-MED Natural Heritage Mission can contribute to climate change policies. Mrs Bougiouri introduced the Mission, its core Community, and its goals: promote climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, restore degraded ecosystems on land and at sea, boost the connection of natural ecosystems at transnational level, and valorise the economic and social value of biodiversity. She explained the Mission’s main aim, that is to meet the environmental objectives determined by the European Union, considering at the same time the transnational, national, regional, and local dimensions. During her intervention, she stated the Mission’s intention to contribute to the main climate change challenges and policies, as the Regional Climate Change Adaptation Framework for the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Areas (2016), the European Climate Law establishing the goal set out in the European Green Deal, and the ‘fit for 55’ package realising the European Climate Law objectives (2021) and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (2022). Finally, Mrs Bougiouri referred to the Mission’s current and future activities, i.e., the “SOLVE the CHALLENGE” yearly awareness campaigns, the Annual Institutional Dialogue events, and the Mission’s Working Groups which were just launched.