Gil, A. (2016) Thematic section: sustainable development and environmental conservation in the outermost European regions. Guest Editorial Introduction.Island Studies Journal, 11, 5-8. DOI: (IF2016 0,897; Q3 Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary)
The Outermost European Regions (OERs) are geographic areas which are part of a European Union Member State, but situated outside continental Europe. All OERs except French Guiana are islands or archipelagos. They face several challenges to full development – remoteness, insularity, terrain and climate constraints, economic dependence and a narrow range of exportable commodities or services. Nevertheless, the European Commission advocates for these regions the assumption of a new paradigm: turning their natural and socioeconomic handicaps into assets. This strategy makes the sustainable development and environmental conservation strategies and policies of OERs especially challenging in scientific, technical and political terms. This Island Studies Journal special section on Sustainable Development and Environmental Conservation in the Outermost European Regions includes five articles that describe, analyse and address directly social-ecological systems’ issues in insular Portuguese and Spanish OERs (Azores and Canaries, respectively). These studies propose novel concepts, strategies and models aiming towards designing and implementing better and more cost-effective sustainability and environmental conservation policies in these remote European regions.