Gozo will become an eco-island by 2020, supported by a keen and committed sustainable community. Gozo is Malta's sister island suffering from double insularity. The innovative component is to take Gozo as a contained isalnd and to see quality of life in Gozo improving further through education, economic development and social progress. Gozo will strive to reduce its carbon and water footprints. Through this vision it is intended to protect the Gozitan lifestyle, the island’s environment, resources, culture and identity, and see that all these play a significant part in attracting more visitors and investors to the island.
Eco-Gozo is a concept which summarises Government’s vision for the future of this island. It is a vision which aims at transforming Gozo and Gozitan society into a sustainable reality in its wider sense – not only environmentally, but also socially and economically.
This is a new way of looking at Gozo and its future, banking on the island’s strengths and tapping its attractive potential for the benefit of the island’s inhabitants, its visitors and investors, so that all benefit from:
• A better quality of life
• A society exerting less pressure on the environment
• A wholesome natural and cultural environment
• More sustainable jobs
• A caring society for all
• More quality investment
• An enhancement of the island’s identity
Eco-Gozo will provide the thrust so that together, we will ensure that every person will progress, while our island will become even more attractive to all. Action and change in many sectors will contribute to this aim, among which, agriculture, tourism, the environment, water management, education, energy, research, waste management, transport, cultural heritage and many others. Collectively, these make up our island’s, and indeed, our own identity.
We will make change happen, in both small, everyday practices and significant issues or sectors. This way, we will improve our island and its product for the benefit of its inhabitants, its visitors and investors.
Eco-Gozo provides an assurance for sustainable development in Gozo, and a continued success for our island in the future.
Barriers and Drivers
The eco-Gozo vision document proposes a very extensive plan of action both in terms of time and scope. It touches basically on all aspects of life and activity on the island. Therefore, prioritization, together with ensuring that no sector is overlooked through overshadowing by other sectors, both gain prime importance. Action on the eco-Gozo vision implementation will therefore be distributed into four main priority areas, namely Economy, Environment, Society and Identity.
The Gozitan regional economy in terms of per capita output and income is smaller than that of the island of Malta. The reasons for this disparity could include the productivity of workers in the Gozitan economy, the rate of employment in Gozo out of the working age population, and the share of the working-age population within the total population in Gozo. Gozo has limitations in attracting foreign direct investment, arising from issues ranging from double insularity to an apparent mismatch between the needs of the industry and the skills availability of the workforce on the island. The island also has particular strengths to attract investment, particularly in the form of competent, flexible workforceand an overall high quality of life. Gozo’s distinctive characteristics and Government’s commitment to move forward with the eco-island vision call for a different approach for job creation on the island.
Sustainable development can hardly be defined as sustainable if it does not result in tangible and long-lasting improvement in quality of life. Eco-Gozo is an opportunity to further integrate education, health, the family and all social actors with the ultimate aim of fostering a society which is inclusive towards everyone. Gozitan Society at large, will play a fundamental role in bringing about the change and the improvement necessary for the eco-island project to succeed. The great foresight and commitment to change shown in the public consultation now needs to be translated into action for the effective implementation of the vision recommendations and the continued development of the eco-Gozo idea.
Within the conceptual model of Sustainable Development, the environment functions with a dual role. As in environmentalism, it is the subject of attention and protection – it is the valuable object to be safeguarded and handed down in better shape to future generations. Yet, within the framework of sustainability, the environment is also that commodity which belongs to all without exclusion, and which determines the quality of life of the people living within it. The environmental considerations related to the small island of Gozo have spurred the eco-Gozo vision. The size of the island offers an opportunity to implement a set of focused initiatives intended to guarantee a better and healthier lifestyle in Gozo stemming from a nourishing environment.