SCELG explores island response to Covid-19

The Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG) and Island Innovation launched a survey aiming to better understand how COVID-19 was being dealt with on islands globally. The goal was not to undertake a research project (for the time being), but to collate “raw” data from anybody who was inclined to respond and put such data at the disposal of policy makers and wider island related stakeholders in their ongoing activities to deal with and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. The response to the survey was very positive and so far responses from islands in 41 countries have been included in an online database where people can now find the data divided by islands and by specific survey question.


Questions included in the SCELG and Island Innovation survey:

  • What actions are being taken to protect the island community from COVID-19? In particular, how are travel restrictions being put in place and enforced?
  • What actions will be taken should people on the island have COVID-19?
  • What actions are being taken to ensure that essential goods and services are provided to the island community?
  • What actions are being taken to ensure that people working on the islands, not only in the tourism sector, are sustained financially in the short term and in the long term?
  • What actions are being taken to ensure the mental well-being of people on the islands?
  • If you consider it appropriate, feel free to share any data about people who have COVID-19 on your island and of people who, sadly, have passed away because of COVID-19.
  • If applicable, how are lockdown measures being relaxed?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

After its launch just over one month ago, the survey will now expand and attempt to collate data on what can be framed as “Phase 2” of dealing with COVID-19. This expansion relates to when and how to relax the lockdown and the long-term economic implications such as the impact on the tourism industry.

Before SCELG and Island Innovation move towards this new territory it is time to start reflecting on the responses to the survey so far. To this end a SCELG policy brief was written as a collaboration between the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG) and Island Innovation, co-authored by Francesco Sindico and James Ellsmoor.

Related news

On 6 May 2020 Island Innovation organised a webinar on islands and the COVID-19 pandemic, which was attended by almost 500 people via Zoom. The webinar was moderated by Francesco Sindico and you can find a recording of the event here.


Francesco was interviewed about his work on islands and COVID-19 by BBC Orkney (from 12:18 to 17:08) and the Canadian CBC News. He also contributed to a podcast on islands called OTOK Podcast, a discussion which also incorporated a discussion about SCELG’s collaboration with the Scottish Government on the implementation of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018.

Collaborations and student projects 

SCELG’s work on islands and Covid-19 is an example of strong global partnerships and of projects where post graduate students work closely with staff. On the one hand, Island Innovation is just one of the many partners with which SCELG collaborates and that bring to SCELG a wide array of expertise and contacts beyond academia. On the other hand, the project is led by Francesco Sindico, SCELG Co-Director, but counts on the important support of two students on the Strathclyde LLM in Global Environmental Law and Governance, Nicola Sharman and Patricia Berlouis. The project is also indebted to the work of SCELG Marie Curie fellow Giulia Sajeva.