Ibiza recorded environmental improvements in 2019 but is still far from meeting UN targets

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Ibiza recorded environmental improvements in 2019 but is still far from meeting UN targets

New report from Sustainability Observatory studies for the first time the fulfilment of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals on the island

Ibiza, 09-07-20 – IbizaPreservation’s Sustainability Observatory has finished drawing up its 2019 report, the main conclusions of which were made public this Thursday at the Consell of Ibiza. The presentation, delivered by the Observatory’s Technical Coordinator, Inma Saranova, was also attended by Sandra Benbeniste, Director of IbizaPreservation, and Vicent Roig, the Conseller of Environmental Management at the Consell, with which the document has been shared. The report, based on numerous environmental indicators, will be published throughout the summer in order to serve as a tool for administrations, companies, individuals and civil society.

IbizaPreservation’s Sustainability Observatory is a project aimed at improving knowledge about the current state of sustainability on the island. Its work focuses on collecting and analysing data, as well as interpreting it in order to make this information accessible to the general public. The Observatory began publishing annual reports in 2018. For the first time, the 2019 report has focused on monitoring compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015 within its 2030 Agenda.

To this end, the 2019 report has re-cast its indicators with the aim of selecting those Sustainable Development Goals that have a direct impact on the island of Ibiza, developing 67 indicators based on 13 of the 17 SDGs. Within this framework, compliance with a total of 33 overall objectives will be monitored over time.

One of the United Nations goals, SDG2 (hunger and food security) aims to double agricultural productivity and the income of small-scale food producers by 2030. For this reason, the Observatory has analysed various indicators related to agricultural and livestock production. This revealed a positive outcome: the upward trend of organic farming on the island, with a 10.6% increase in the number of operators registered in 2019 compared to 2018. On the downside, it is noted that the whole of the primary sector on the island is in clear decline, particularly in relation to livestock, which in recent years has recorded very significant declines. In the case of sheep, farming decreased by 45.7% between 2018 and 2019 alone.

Positive data on sustainability are revealed in the monitoring of SDG3 on Health and Welfare with regard to air pollution. A study of the data collected at the Dalt Vila and Sant Antoni stations of the Caliope air quality index shows results within the normal range and without notable episodes of air pollution by greenhouse gases. However, according to the Observatory, it is worth continuing to work on improving these indices and, to this end, the project considers it necessary to commit to strengthening non-motorised transport, which, in addition to being healthy and safe, is the best option for avoiding polluting gas emissions.

Additionally, the study of various indicators on water carried out by the Water Alliance (Alianza por el Agua de Ibiza y Formentera) and included in this report, has observed the island’s situation in terms of compliance with the SDG on Clean Water and Sanitation. Good and bad news are seen here. Among the former is the increase in consumption of more than 64% of desalinated water. However, despite this progress, IbizaPreservation insists on the need to ensure that the desalination plants are working at full capacity. If this goal were to be achieved, more than half of the groundwater consumed on the island could be replaced by desalinated water. The analysis of the groundwater is one of the indicators that offers negative data, revealing the overexploitation of these forms of water, as well as their poor quantitative importance.

With regards to Objective 7 of the United Nations 2030 Agenda, which focuses on energy, the 2019 report indicates very low clean energy production. For this reason, the Sustainability Observatory values very positively the work currently being carried out by the energy transition team promoted by the Consell and hopes that its work will serve to adopt effective measures in this regard.

Tourism has also been studied in this report in various indicators, such as those highlighted in SDG 8. 2019 was a year that saw the lengthening of the tourist season with more crowded extremes and somewhat less pronounced tourist peaks in summer. With regards to tourist perception, the data from the Sustainability Observatory once again indicate, as they did in their previous report, that the appreciation by tourists in terms of environmental concerns is decreasing.

On the other hand, within the SDG 10 study on inequality, the 2019 figures indicate that the island of Ibiza is below the average Balearic income and that the differences between municipalities are greater than the national average. As reflected in the data collected within SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities, this means that there is a real difficulty in accessing housing in a place like Ibiza, where the price of residential property has grown by more than 96% in the last 13 years. However, this has not prevented the island’s non-constructed areas from falling by 46.53% between 2006 and 2019 alone.

In terms of responsible production and consumption, the Observatory’s indicators show that in 2019, for the first time in ten years, Ibiza’s domestic waste decreased in relation to the previous year, although only slightly (-0.13%). However, for the time being, Ibiza is far from complying with SDG 12 in terms of reducing waste production, since from 2010 to 2019, the generation of domestic waste per person per year has increased by 22%.

Selective waste collection has also followed an upward trend since 2009, from around 10,000 tonnes in 2009 to almost 25,000 tonnes in 2019. However, although the trend is positive, it should be noted that in 2019 only 17.1% of household waste was recycled on the island, a far cry from the 50% by 2021 established by the Balearic Law on Waste.

As far as climate change is concerned, the monitoring of the United Nations’ SDG 13 reveals, among other things, that CO2 emissions into the atmosphere from the consumption of fossil fuels on Ibiza and Formentera fell from 1,148 Kt of CO2 in 2017 to 1,058 Kt of CO2 in 2018, which represents a 7.8% reduction in this type of emissions compared to the previous year. This is mainly due to the 75% reduction in the use of heavy fuels for the generation of electricity, which is good news. Furthermore, 2019 also registered a 9.4% decrease with respect to the previous year. However, despite this, Ibiza continues to be above the national average.

These are just some of the data collected in the 2019 Sustainability Report that will be published on IbizaPreservation’s website later this summer, while the entire report will be available for free access in September, when the Observatory and the Consell of Ibiza plan to hold a conference open to the public to inform the wider audience about the details of this document.