Asociación Canarias Archipiélago Sostenible has set itself the primary objective of promoting a new model of sustainable development for the Canary Islands, involving representatives of civil society, private enterprise and public agencies.
We understand that the only way to successfully undertake our goals is by harnessing collective intelligence and intersectionality: the collaboration and search for solutions with the contribution of the whole community.
It is essential, therefore, to start our activity with the participation of the tourism, primary and educational sectors, as well as with groups of workers and NGOs, to name but a few, also involving the public sector and European institutions in the relevant areas and levels of action.
Our strategy and values aspire to promote the achievement of the following major objectives for the Canary Islands in a transversal and international way:
- The transformation of the tourism sector, currently the main engine of the economy of the islands, with the aim of strengthening it, but in a sustainable manner and conducive to protecting, enriching and promoting the natural and social environment that gives life to it. The above, under a plan for this sector that seeks to turn it into an even more powerful engine: the tourism sector as a driver of greater diversification of the Canary Islands economic model.
- The recovery and conservation of the natural heritage: an enterprise understood not only as a responsibility towards the archipelago and the planet, but also as an opportunity for economic and social development.
- Linking the strategy and values of sustainability to the achievement of the above objectives, to research and innovation, to education, to culture and to fostering citizen awareness of the urgent need for systemic change.
The set of actions described below, which are intended to be implemented over a five-year period through our Archipelago Project, culminate in the creation of a body whose objective will be to consolidate the continuity of a sustainable development model at an institutional level both in the region and internationally, the global dimension of our initiativeculminate in the creation of a body whose objective will be to consolidate the continuity of a sustainable development model at the institutional level both in the region and at the international level. In this way, the proposed body that we aspire to found in the Canary Islands would be the "International Agency for the Sustainable Development of Island Territories".
Therefore, the association works transversally at local, state and international level to achieve its objectives.
Foundation of the association; development of vision, mission and objectives; composition of work teams by area; elaboration of financial policies and projections; planning of internal and external communication strategies; design of advocacy and lobbying campaigns; initiation of contacts with the third sector, entrepreneurs and companies; selection of the first projects to be promoted.
Continuous collaborative diagnostics
We began by incorporating representatives of the different levels of the archipelago for the joint development of several diagnostic documents that address the main challenges to be overcome urgently in the next five years.
These diagnostic documents will be carried out in a collaborative way and always focused on very specific actions, constantly updated and revised.
Implementation of actions in the modernization and sustainability of tourist complexes on the islands.
It is necessary to refurbish and update the sector's real estate by replacing certain materials and renewing certain support and supply installations with equipment that provides greater environmental protection and energy efficiency. The participation of the different groups involved will serve, for example, to formulate proposals that will allow the tourism sector to invest in these actions, reducing the cost of cancelling subcontracting of existing equipment or the availability of materials, either through tax incentives, EU aid such as recovery funds and/or direct investments from the European Investment Bank.
We start from the conviction that it is of vital importance that the actors of the sector directly notice the benefits of their efforts, investments and contributions to the change of model that the times demand. This, in the form of greater confluence with culture, education, public infrastructure services and natural spaces. In this way, and as a virtuous circle, tourism, the dominant industry in the island's economy, can be nourished by the actions of other socio-economic agents while at the same time acting as a "lever" to promote them.
Updating the development and management of infrastructure providing energy, water and sanitation.
These infrastructures must adopt environmental and sustainability criteria, such as the use of zero CO2 emission technologies and energy efficiency, involving both public and private companies.
In line with the above, we will present an initial phase of proposals for changes in the corresponding regulations and public policies, not only aimed at the tourism system, but also at the business sector and the public sector.
The impulse both in investment and in regulations, research and innovation in the primary sector towards a sustainable agriculture that prioritizes local production.
This should lead to an ever-increasing increase in the supply of tourist activity.
To do this we will promote the improvement of support plans for the agricultural sector focused on sustainable agriculture, as well as towards attracting public and private investment. The aim is to encourage the incorporation of regenerative agricultural techniques and technologies, to give priority to organic, seasonal and local products, to promote their presence in local markets and to boost their penetration in the Canarian hotel and catering industry.
Promoting the value of sustainability in the education system
A pilot programme will be proposed initially aimed at primary school pupils through the formalisation of monthly workshops designed and taught by specialists from the region's universities. The aim of these workshops will be to raise awareness of sustainability as a universal value among the new generations, while at the same time providing a deeper knowledge of the islands' environment through activities related to this (visits to the various centres for the study and recovery of flora and fauna, presentations on renewable energies in the archipelago, beach cleaning, reforestation activities, etc.).
Similarly, but focused on the general public, the association will offer informative and outreach conferences and seminars.
Promotion of the cultural, natural and archaeological heritage of the islands as a tourist attraction.
Establish systems of coordination with other international territories with which the Canary Islands share similar realities and challenges.
We will focus on the transfer of knowledge and experiences with other international territories with which the Canary Islands share similar realities and challenges; synergies and meeting points to identify solutions and articulate joint formulas for sustainable development for island territories at an international level. For this we count on the inspiration of the internationalist framework of solidarity, democracy and humanism that founded the project of a common European space to which the archipelago belongs.
Within the framework of a Europeanist project that we have called "The Archipelago Project" (soon available at www.thearchipelagoproject.eu), whose objectives and challenges reproduce those of our association, we will start by joining forces with other points of the European territory that share similar characteristics.
The intention is to bring together all those people and institutions that share our need to devise and implement coherent sustainability plans, as far as possible common and coordinated, as well as to defend the interests of the island territories in Brussels, both from a strategic point of view for the region and the European Union, as well as in terms of greater connectivity of both jurisdictions with the rest of the world.