ecoGozo was established in 2010 to ensure that sustainable development principles are integrated in all activities of the Ministry for Gozo.
ecoGozo aims to translate the national Sustainable Development policy into an action plan that encompass the aspects of Economy, Environment, Society, and Culture and Identity. Investment in public infrastructure lies at the core of this mission, which includes forestation projects, as well as public gardens, renewable energy measures, improvements in public education, rain water catchment systems and improved sewage treatment. Water conservation measures include the use of non-conventional water resources such as rainwater harvesting, greywater and wastewater reuse as sustainable solutions to water scarcity. ecoGozo installed and reinstated rainwater harvesting facilities in primary schools and other public buildings. Also, the cleaning of key valleys, which are natural watercourses, is done to increase the rainwater harvesting capacity that can be used for agriculture. Renewable and efficient energy projects by ecoGozo includes the installation of photovoltaic panels on public buildings and on social housing estate. Projects and initiatives aimed at promoting economic growth in Gozo have largely targeted the tourism sector. ecoGozo has developed a series of coastal walks that cover the entirety of Gozo’s coastline; promoted the island as a unique diving destination; and obtained the certification of Blue Flag and Whiteflag beaches. Beneficiaries include all sectors of society - the public, private, voluntary and all relevant stakeholders.
Budget allocated: National Funds (€) 2010 – 2013 an average yearly expenditure of 2.6M; 2014 - 2018 an average yearly expenditure of 1.3M. EU Projects (eligible costs): Jan 2010 – Feb 2015 - €592,158; April 2016 - June 2023 (ongoing projects) - €1,638,712.
Evidence of success
Key achievements are: The installation of rainwater harvesting system in 7 primary schools and in the government farm of 1.76 million litres capacity; The increased rainwater harvesting capacity through the cleaning of valleys by 58 million litres; Restoration of a disused quarry covering an area of 20,000m²; The installation of 92.32 kWp photovoltaic systems at the Ministry for Gozo; 9.4km of restored rubble walls in 19 locations; Funding restoration of 4 church parvises and a basilica façade.
Potential for learning or transfer
In the document - A vision for an eco-island (2012) - it was stated that “Gozo will become an eco-island by 2020, supported by a keen and committed sustainable community”. In implementing a strategy to achieve higher levels of sustainability, policy setting and academic input are two central contributors. However, the most crucial element in this vision is the role undertaken by the local community. A society can become more sustainable if the persons involved are committed to this ideal. The Local Sustainable Development Strategy was catalyst in starting off measures and actions towards a sustainable society and economy. Government has taken up the role to organize and coordinate its implementation. However, for the continuation of this strategy the full cooperation between the public and the private sector needs to be sustained including that of the visitors and the inhabitants of the islands.