Cooperation Strategies Towards Sustainability in Insular Territories: A Comparison Study Between Porto Santo Island, Madeira Archipelago, Portugal and El Hierro Island, Canary Archipelago, Spain

Cooperation Strategies Towards Sustainability in Insular Territories: A Comparison Study Between Porto Santo Island, Madeira Archipelago, Portugal and El Hierro Island, Canary Archipelago, Spain

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2513-5.ch012
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Nowadays, the high environmental sensitivity and economic constraints, as well as future prospects for development, require a strong sustainable energy policy. Such policies should be based on the local resource valorization – which gains more emphasis in ultra-peripheral territories as the case of the Madeira and Canary Archipelagos. In fact, renewable energy sources become more competitive from the economic point of view – however, with high environmental and social benefits in both Archipelagos. Thus, the local policies of Porto Santo Island will be inspired on the neighbor archipelago (Canary Islands), more specifically in the El Hierro Island – which is one of the worldwide leaders in sustainability issues. Contextually, the work enables a view through the cooperation perspective, highlighting sustainability strategies in Porto Santo Island (Madeira, Portugal) and El Hierro Island (Canary, Spain). Therefore, it will address diverse forms of energy production through natural resources with influence on spatial planning.
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The contemporary age was primarily marked by the accelerated growth of cities which were widespread throughout the world, through the impulses and transformations arising from capitalism, even in underdeveloped nations with non-significant industrialization (Silva & Barroso & Rodrigues & Costa & Fontana, 2014). In this sense, the cities are constituted by a system of interconnection between people, companies, trades, transport, communication, and services, and up to 2015, about 50% of the world population was resident in urban areas, with the trend of growth to 75% up to 2050 (UN World Urbanization Prospects, 2012). It should be noted that megacities emerged in the 21st century, which gather about 10% of the world population, and most of them have severe concentrations of poverty and socio-environmental problems (UN World Urbanization Prospects, 2014).

Figure 1.

Urban and rural populations of the world 1950-2050. Source: UN, 2018.


Regarding the accelerated growth of cities, Johnson (2008) states that the growing and complex agglomeration of people tends inevitably to make the places more confusing and disorganized. For Rodríguez-Bolívar (2015), the rapid shift to an excessively urban population causes societies and their respective governances to encounter unprecedented challenges such as: unemployment, education, sustainable development, energy and the environment, security, public services and others. It is only in the middle of the 20st century that the global edition of legal regulations for urban planning was initiated, in order to regulate the agenda and promote social peace in urban areas (Humbert, 2017).

According to Mendes (2014), a revolution is currently happening and it is causing a great deal of tension over the cities. This is stated because “although cities occupy 2% of the Earth's surface, urban residents consume more than three quarters of the world's natural resources, produce equivalent amounts of waste, use the oceans and soil as dumpbins, and are the Main responsible for greenhouse effect and gas emissions, which threatens to be the greatest danger of the planet Earth (Fernandes, 2016citingMarceau, 2008andGirardet, 2004) “.

In this context, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO, 2015) corroborates the affirmation that although the Earth has always suffered from natural changes, for the first-time, the human activity is the main aggravating factor of this process and presents potentially serious consequences. The UNIDO (2015) highlights that considerable volumes of fossil fuels are used every day in the form of gasoline, petroleum, coal and natural gas, where its burning generates the release of carbon dioxide, and that together the release of other gases coming from human activity such as methane and nitrous oxide, the natural “greenhouse effect” that makes the planet Earth an uninhabitable place. Therefore, the sharp speed at which the changes are taking place threatens the social and environmental systems that fail to adjust at the same pace, increasingly promoting the occurrence of extreme meteorological phenomena (UNIDO, 2015).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Madeira: Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean, close to Morocco. The term is commonly used to reference the island of Madeira, the main and largest island of Madeira archipelago.

Canárias: The Canary Islands are an archipelago belonging to Spain, located in the Atlantic Ocean, near Morocco.

Portugal: Portugal, or Portuguese Republic, is a sovereign country located in the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe.

Insular Territories: Independent territory that is composed of an island or an archipelago.

Porto Santo Island: The island of Porto Santo is one of the islands that compose the archipelago of Madeira.

Sustainability: The concept of sustainability can be understood as the development of a particular region, taking into account social, economic and environmental aspects.

Spain: Spain, or Kingdom of Spain, is a sovereign country located in the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe.

Energy: The energy is the source of power for the operation of a mechanism, in this work, the term is related to electricity and its various forms of production.

Indicators: The indicators refer to the processing data of some activity, so that it allows to verify the performance, efficiency and problems of operation.

El Hierro Island: The island of El Hierro is the island with the smallest territorial dimension that makes up the Canary archipelago.

Regional Development: Regional development is about providing assistance or assistance to regions with less economic development.

Territorial Planning: It is a public policy instrument that enables regional development in a sustainable way.

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