Out of the three Crown Dependencies – Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey – the Isle of Man is the least vulnerable when assessing economic, social and environmental factors facing each island.
‘Guernsey is in the most vulnerable position at the moment,’ said Chris Brock, managing director of Guernsey-based Island Global Research.
He was the guest speaker at the June breakfast seminar hosted by the Isle of Man branch of the Institute of Directors.
Mr Brock, whose theme was ‘Island Challenges and the Social Life Cycle of an Island’, said: ‘The Isle of Man is now beginning to look at how it should ‘reinvent’ itself, having gone through a stress situation.’
He went on: ‘It is currently more of a challenge to attract businesses to Guernsey than the Isle of Man or Jersey due to a number of factors including air and sea links connectivity and high on-island unit costs.
‘Other areas of concern include the very heavy reliance of Guernsey on direct taxation, particularly when taking into account the aging demographic profile and the lack of available land to meet economic and social needs. De-population is also now a real concern.’
Mr Brock’s company has undertaken considerable research on islands across the world.
He told guests that, in total, 20 vulnerability factors have been identified which are directly relevant to islands.
In addition to land availability and air and sea links, amongst other factors the risks associated with climate change, levels of national debt, energy security, law and order, and ICT connectivity are all monitored and an overall risk assessment made of each island.
Mr Brock concluded by saying: ‘There is no question that external challenges facing islands around the world are growing.
‘These include: ongoing economic uncertainty, greater regulation, and geo-political problems such as economic migration and civil conflict.
‘A number of islands are now well positioned to meet these challenges including the Isle of Man particularly if the economy is diversely based.
‘The primary purpose of the Island Global Research programme is to identify where best practice is being adopted so that other jurisdictions can learn and adapt.’