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Significant developments mark DAFNI's 2nd General Assembly - 27 June 2015

During its 2nd General Assembly on 27 June 2015 DAFNI members decided the expansion of the network's operations into the Ionian Sea. DAFNI now stands for Network of Sustainable Aegean and Ionian Islands. This development comes as follow-up to visits organised by DAFNI staff in April in different Ionian islands to explore how these can drive smart and sustainable growth in the region. DAFNI has established good contacts with the regional authority, which is determined to work with municipalities to develop coherent policy responses to emerging challenges particularly in the field of maritime spatial planning. Competition for maritime space in the area- for renewable energy, fisheries and aquaculture, hydrocarbon exploration, tourism- has highlighted the need for efficient management, to avoid potential conflict and create synergies between different activities. This is also acknowledged by the Macro-Regional Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region. Therefore, strengthening ties with Ionian islands will add value to DAFNI as a network and will expose Ionian islands to best practices from other European island regions on smart and sustainable policies in the fields of energy, transport, tourism etc.

In this context a roundtable was hosted on smart connectivity between ports and islands. By touching upon issues related to infrastructure, energy, inter-modality and intra-insular transportation, participants drew attention to ports as key drivers of islands' sustainable development. The workshop was a prelude to an international conference that the Aegean Energy Agency will be hosting on 10-11 March 2016 titled "Ports, Maritime Transport & Insularity: Business, Innovation, and Environment".

What's more the Assembly agreed to structure the work of DAFNI around four thematic working groups concerning: the Environment (water waste and wastewater management, natural environment, spatial planning); Energy (Renewable energies, energy efficiency, fuels, grid infrastructure); Transport (land, air and sea); and Culture (Landscape planning, cultural heritage, gastronomy). The idea behind this is to give a fresh impetus to DAFNI's work by nurturing a more bottom up approach, allowing members to exchange ideas and good practices on topics that are of high priority to their island.

In the aftermath of the General Assembly, the Board of DAFNI appointed Kostas Komninos new Coordinator for the Network.