From April until October 2018 we have been working on the Baseline assessment of the Croatian islands, that is the islander territories of Local action groups LAG Brač, LAG Škoji and LAG 5 that encompass the islands of Šolta, Brač, Hvar, Vis, Lastovo, Korčula, Mljet and the Pelješac peninsula. This research that encompassed both grey literature review on per island basis also included field research of a whole array of both island and outer islander actors.
Within this period under the supervision of the Faculty of Economics University of Split and with the cooperation of Agroparistech students of the advanced master ''Forest, Nature and Society'' and CIHEAM IAMM we have done an extensive data analysis that included thematic axes of: agriculture practices, tourism economy, land ownership status, resource management, biodiversity and habitats, landscapes, global value chains, political and legislative framework. Our data analysis encompassed institutional bibliography and scientific papers review; a review of public records, GIS and statistical data and a qualitative survey together with the landscape analysis. This data was triangulated with additional bibliographic research, cross and symmetry of collected data and data saturation.
In the overall process, as the learning area coordinator is a local action group that operates on the methodology of the EU LEADER programme of community led local development, we have been intensively involved with the islander stakeholders. During the period of literature review we have consulted islander actors, while framing the baseline assessment we have adapted it several times based on their inputs and for the purposes of HNV vision we have held more than 10 informal meetings with different islander actors in order to come to major stakes that need to be addressed in order to achieve the HNV vision. Only in the process of data collection we have done over 150 semi structured interviews with different actors within the LA, and experts outside the LA that have done research in the field.
For the learning are of Dalmatian islands baseline assessment was much more than a methodology to be used to understand the conditions in which innovation processes succeed , or fall down and fail. In order to truly understand the relationship between innovation in the LA’s and socio-economic development and environmental efficiency we have used it to build a community of HNV stakeholders. The process of doing the baseline assessment was both a research activity and a community building activity as in the process of mutual exchanges of both practices and academic research we have built a community of stakeholders that aim to build the HNV vision for the islands.