MDI conducted a study on Island, lake and river basin policies in Europe. The study was commissioned and funded by the Island Committee of the Finnish Parliament and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The project aimed at gaining a picture of islands in the European countries (especially permanently populated islands without fixed land connection), river basin districts and lakes in Europe, and the consideration given to islands, lakes and river basin districts in regional policy. The survey is unique, as European archipelago policies have not been fully explored and compared in the past. In addition, the information provided by the study on the islands, river basins and lakes in different European countries has not been collected into one document in the past. Data was collected from statistical and land surveying authorities from various European countries and a large number of native language materials were collected. Information was also collected through interviews, surveys and existing research material.
The main findings of the study relate to archipelago and river basin policies. Namely, strategic island development like in Finland can only be found in Croatia. In other European countries, either strategic development is carried out at regional level (e.g. Scotland), islands are developed through separate actions without a specific strategy (e.g. Sweden and Denmark), or there are no separate actions for the development of the archipelago (e.g. Norway and Iceland). Policies related to inland waterways are considerably fewer, and they are typically related to logistics and environmental and water protection. EU co-financed Leader approach has had a clear impact on development of islands across Europe. Leader has brought decision-making and funding to the local level, as well as supported the development of know-how of islanders and their involvement in local development.
The report (in Finnish with English summary) can be found here.