Synthesis/Regeneration 13   (Spring 1997)

Sustainable Tourism

A Mediterranean Green Seminar in Ibiza

by Marie-Christine Aulas and Heidi Meinzolt-Depner

In late October 1996, Ibiza, a small island in the Balearics, is settling down from yet another ravaging period of tourism, which usually starts in April. The ecological pollution which results from mass and residential tourism can be seen everywhere. During the last 20 years, the tourist industry has become a mono-culture in Ibiza, where the living standards are among the highest in Spain.

Delegates from Mediterranean Green parties in Greece, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, and Spain (Malta wasn't represented due to their elections) responded to the invitation of Els Vers of Ibiza to discuss the major issue of the island, tourism. So did non-governmental organizations and associations interested in the topic.

"From Top till Toe"

"A land whose economy is almost entirely based on tourism today proclaims to be ecological from top till toe," announced the press which covered the meeting. Green Senator Pilar Costa, together with Josep Ramon Balanzar, MP in the Balearics, gave the opening speech at the seminar. A complementary approach and perspective on the subject was developed by Joan Buades, International Secretary of the "Confederacion de los Verdes" and local councilor in Sant Josep (a region which has experienced tourism) and Halo Saibold, Green MP and President of the Committee on Tourism in the German Parliament. All of them underlined the European and local responsibilities when using European structural funds, without any regulations, as well as in allowing practices which endanger the future.

Mediterranean Greens Campaign

Each of the Green participants gave examples from their home countries and proposed alternatives to the phenomenon called "balearisation," now spreading in the Mediterranean area. The participants unanimously approved 10 proposals for a model of sustainable tourism. They also proposed to coordinate their efforts and initiate a three year long Mediterranean Greens campaign.

Contributed a Lot

Following the Council Meeting of the Federation in Chania (Crete) in October 1994 and the Seminar on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership one year later in Barcelona, the Ibiza seminar has contributed a lot to enlarging and improving the Mediterranean Green Network and its activities. The seminar was co-sponsored by the Federation and the Green Group in the European Parliament.

Reprinted from the European Federation of Green Parties' UPDATE November, 1996

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