Anote Tong, Parag Khanna and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, among the main speakers
Prominent figures will participate in the Smart Island World Congress of Majorca
How should environmental sustainability be addressed on an island? What are the formulas for retaining talent in island territories? Are new technologies an opportunity? These and other questions will be answered in the first Smart Island World Congress (SIWC), which will take place in the town of Calvià (Majorca) on 20 and 21 April. At the event, an initiative of Calvià Town Council and the Majorca Island Council, with the support of the Balearic Islands Government and organised by Fira de Barcelona, more than 85 international experts, 1,500 delegates and 120 representatives from islands around the world will be attending.
The main speakers include the ex-president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, a world expert on climate change, one of the world’s leading specialists in rising sea levels and movements of refugees due to environmental issues. In 2014, while he was president of the Polynesian republic, he was responsible for the purchase of a 20-square-kilometre estate in Fiji as a contingency refuge for his people if they ever need it. This archipelago, located in the Pacific Ocean, is one of the world’s territories that is most threatened by climate change. The main island, South Tarawa, is only 2 metres above sea level, which makes it very vulnerable to the effects of global warming, such as rising sea levels, storms and hurricanes.
Another keynote speaker at the Calvià summit will be Parag Khanna, a geostrategist of emerging economies and bestselling author. Khanna is among the most widely respected speakers among geopolitical experts. He specialises in the geographical diversity of the nationalisation and distribution of the effects of globalisation as they relate to the movement of capital, knowledge and people.
The first edition of the SIWC will feature a strong contingent of international institutional representatives, including the tourism ministers of Cuba, Malta and the Dominican Republic; mayors of municipalities such as Male (Maldives).This is in addition to representatives from the NGO Costa Rica Limpia; the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (Jamaica); and the African Union of Architects (Mauritius). From Spain, the notable names participating include the former Prime Minister of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero; and the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Joan Clos. And locally, the President of the Balearic Island Government, Francina Armengol; the president of the Majorca Island Council, Miquel Ensenyat; and the Mayor of Calvià, Alfonso Rodriguez, who will welcome the delegates on Thursday 20 April.
The congress programme will revolve around four main themes: New Connectivities; Urban and Social Development; Talent and Economic Growth; and Islands of the Future, based on which there will be 15 conferences, including keynote speeches, plenary sessions and side events involving more than 85 speakers.The issues discussed will include big data, sustainability in urban and tourism planning, smart mobility, education, start-ups, business models, architecture and cultural heritage.
A meeting point between the private and public sector
The first Smart Island World Congress will also have a networking area where representatives of island cities, speakers, companies and visitors can make contact before and during the event. Some of the companies that have already confirmed their attendance include technology firms such as Microsoft, Fiware and Grupo Etra, and others from the tourism sector such as Meliá Hotels and Resorts. Some 1,500 delegates and more than 120 representatives of participating islands are expected to take part, including delegates from Bahrain, Bali, Corsica, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago. The first edition of the congress will host a prize-giving ceremony on the evening of Thursday 20 April to distinguish the best island initiatives for progress.
The first edition of the Smart Island World Congress of Majorca stems from the demand by island territories to position themselves as conference venues in the field of technology and innovation. The congress takes advantage of the consolidated experience of hosting the international Smart City Expo World Congress, which has been organised by Fira de Barcelona since 2011 and is now the world’s leading event in the smart city sector.
Barcelona, 31 March 2017