Community / Shetland well represented in global island conference

THREE LOCAL representatives will be participating in a global island summit which is being held over five days next week.

Hosted by Island Innovation and promoted as a “zero-carbon conference”, the Virtual Island Summit 2023 is a free to access conference representing more than 500 islands worldwide.

Between Monday and Friday next week, the summit will discuss a wide range of topics relevant to island communities ranging from climate action and renewables to ocean conservation, food security, health, education and diversity.

Former chief executive of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association and seafood expert, John Goodlad, will speak in a session titled ‘Recommendations for a successful, vibrant future – the Scottish islands 2050 and beyond’.

Goodlad told Shetland News that his contribution on Tuesday will focus on the recent Highly Protected Marine Areas (HMPAs) consultation to point out how it should not be done.

I am contrasting the Shetland Regulating Order [which is the legal basis for the local management of inshore fisheries] with the HPMA fiasco – to illustrate the point that local decision-making works whereas top down diktats are usually disastrous,” he said.


On Thursday, the council’s team leader for Shetland’s climate change strategy, Claire Ferguson, will contribute to a discussion on ‘Building community resilience: the role of local government in implementing sustainable development goals’.

She said: “My talk will focus around the SIC and Shetland net zero route map, the SIC climate change strategy, Shetland climate change steering group and development of the Shetland climate change strategy.

“Mitigation and adaptation are the purpose of the strategies, encompassed by the need for a just transition. Central to delivering climate action is maximising the social, economic and environmental co-benefits to the community.”

Meanwhile Dr Andrew Jennings, Shetland-based associate professor in island studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands, will be moderating a number of events throughout the week.

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There will also be a talk on Friday by the chairman of the International Island Games Association on the success and achievement of the island games, which are held every two years – the last being this summer in Guernsey.

The full agenda of the Virtual Island Summit and how to register for can be found at this link.

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