Eco Gozo. A vision for an eco-island

Eco Gozo. A vision for an eco-island


Status: in progress

Categorization: tourism, habitat and biodiversity, cultural heritage, local development, climate change

Country: Malta

Period: 01.01.2010 /

Contact info

Name: N/A N/A

Organization: Ministry for Gozo




Summary description: Eco-Gozo is a vision for an eco-island: an exercise in foresight on the future of this island which has generated a near-general consensus. It can safely be stated that the larger majority of stakeholders on the island see the ecoGozo project as a historic opportunity for our island and its enduring prosperity. Government launched action on ecoGozo in 2008, stating clearly that through this Sustainable Development strategy, it intended to trigger a community project with a long-term vision and a commitment from the grassroots. In implementing a strategy to achieve higher levels of sustainability, policy setting and academic input are two central contributors. Yet, in addition to these, grassroots endorsement and participation, is a fundamental requirement. EcoGozo is a People’s vision and a People’s project. In launching ecoGozo, Government has given a name, perhaps developed a brand, to a vision which the people of Gozo themselves have communicated to the Government over the years.

Type: strategy

EU Challenges for sustainable tourism: (i) preserving and giving value to natural and cultural heritage and diversity, (ii) minimising resource use and production of waste, (iii) enhancing local community prosperity and quality of life

EU Principles: (i) taking a holistic and integrated approach (economic, social and environmental aspects), (ii) planning for the long term, (iii) involving stakeholders, (iv) multilevel governance, (v) promoting awareness and commitment

Reason of interest for COASTING: Eco-Gozo as a vision to achieve a stable and healthy environment for a better quality of life can be an inspiring example for Coasting, that aims to achieve Sustainable Development by framing coastal management and tourism sustainability. Moreover, being a collective vision, it truly embeds the bottom up character of Sustainable Development, which starts off from an awareness of our surroundings and of the impact of our actions, translated into sensible choices, and results.

Financial information

Budget: 26,000,000.00 €

Financial sources: €25 million allocated for the eco-Gozo vision by Government for the implementation of the short-term stratagem over the years 2010 – 2012 €1,14 million allocated by the Coca-Cola foundation

Background information

Territorial context: Gozo boasts a distinctive culture, history, nature and World Heritage Sites. This heritage is coupled by an unspoilt rural landscape, a particularly tranquil way of life, hospitable people, and an authentic gastronomy. The Gozitan economy in terms of per capita output and income is smaller than that of the island of Malta. 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. Tourism is one of the strongest sectors. Efforts have been made in recent years to promote Gozo as a distinct tourism destination and create other niche markets to enhance tourism sustainability for Gozo and to mitigate the problem of seasonality. It is mainly characterised by foreign and domestic tourism. Day trips account for the majority of international visits, commanding a higher share of repeat business than Malta, with 40% of tourists returning to Gozo as opposed to the 30% returning to Malta.

Relation to policies and strategies: N/A

Regulation framework: N/A

Specific information

Objectives: 1. To promote quality investment for more sustainable jobs 2. To boost better quality of life 3. To achieve a society exerting less pressure on the environment 4. To enhance a wholesome natural and cultural environment 5. To achieve a caring society for all 6. To sustain the island’s identity

Developers (and governance): Eco-Gozo is a project promoted by the Ministry for Gozo. It involved a wide and complex partnership composed by (i) corporate foundations, which contributed provided financing for some specific projects (HSBC Malta Foundation; CocaCola Foundation), (ii) International Organisations (Global Water Partnership,, MEdIES); (iii) Public Organisations (Institute for Sustainable Energy of University of Malta; Institute of Earth Systems of University of Malta; Hands on farming); (iv) Private Enterprises (Magro group); (v) the 14 Gozitan Local Councils; (vi) Non Governmental Organisations.

Beneficiaries: Being Eco-Gozo a comprehensive strategy focusing themes such as Economic Development, Employment and Investment, Tourism, Transport, Education, Health, Sport, Air Quality, Energy, Water, Waste, Agriculture, Natural Heritage and resources, Culture and Cultural Heritage, all generations, Urban environments, Landscape management, Rural culture and Voluntary Sector, it clearly affects a wide range of beneficiaries of the society at large, involving businesses, tourists, families etc.

Innovation aspects: Eco-Gozo innovative character deals both with the shared citizen vision it has been produced by and with the wide engagement of government bodies and agencies in Gozo. The latter allowed to influence public policies in terms of support provided for tourist project promoters, to set out to make the region attractive to investors and to equip tourism development agencies with practical tools to help them bring added-value to the rural tourism enterprises in their areas.

Actions: N/A

Stakeholders involvement: e Eco-Gozo strategy is the product of consultation process in which stakeholders (professionals, economic and social operators, private citizens, volunteers, experts and policy makers) were presented with the opportunity to come forward with their ideas on how to improve life on the island and render it more sustainable. The public consultation process was launched by the Ministry for Gozo in July 2008 and took almost a year to complete. More than a thousand submissions were received. In order to continue to build up a comprehensive picture of the population’s views on their island and its future, a survey was also carried out among 400 Gozitan individuals selected on a scientific basis. The submissions received and the results of the survey were then analysed by over 60 specialists in various fields. Their suggestions were also added in order to consolidate the set of proposals submitted.

Results achieved: The strategic document of Eco-Gozo aims to resolve the complex target of Sustainability into a set of practical recommendations striving to improve the island on different levels, and sectors. The submissions received were then grouped under 28 themes ranging from Agriculture to Air Quality, Tourism, Heritage, the Elderly, Children, and so on. Under these main headings, recommendations for the sectors which are considered crucial for the continued development of the island have been set.

Potential for learning and transfer

Challenges and obstacles: N/A

Success factors: N/A

Transferability in COASTING project: Two main aspects of Eco-Gozo as a GP can be transferred to the COASTING context. The first concerns the participatory process and the collective vision for Gozo sustainable development; the second concerns the structure of the strategy itself. More specifically, the eco-Gozo vision proposes a very extensive plan of actions both in terms of time and scope. It touches basically on all aspects of life and activity on the island. In this context, 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 have been distributed into four main priority areas, namely Economy, Environment, Society and Identity.