Project: 2003-2005 Partnerships for SD in CE

Posted on June 30, 2005 in Capacity building, Finished project, Public Participation.

2003-2005 Partnerships for SD in CE

Partnerships for sustainable development in Central Europe

Aim: The aim of the project is to ensure that regional development policy in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe is based on the principles of sustainability. This is done by building close ties between authorities and NGOs which are able to make effective and transparant use of the EU Structural Funds to promote regional development in line with the principles of sustanability and public interest.

Global Scope: Poland, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic and Hungary

Period: from 2003-07-01 till 2005-06-30     (41)

Funder: Charles C. Mott Foundation

Partners: Hungary: National Society of Conservationists (NSC)
Czech Republic: Centre for Community Organising (COO)
Slovakia: Center for Environmental Public Advocacy (CEPA)
Poland: Polish Green Network(PGN)

Themes: sustainability, regional development, partnerships, networking, dialogue, capacity building

Ten Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries are going to join the European Union in 2004. These countries will then have access to the European Union’s Structural (SF) and Cohesion Funds (CF) within the framework of EU’s the regional policy. Consequently, regional development policy is expected to become a major issue on the candidate countries’ political agenda. The EU will pour billions of euros into the new Member States between 2004 and 2006, which will either strengthen or threaten the environment in the Accession countries. Yet, it is still unknown whether those countries are ready to use that substantial development aid in favour of sustainability. The project partners are convinced that the participation of NGO representatives in management and monitoring committees of the SFs is a key factor in ensuring sustainability.

In early 2004 the national governments and other implementation agencies in the target countries will start to receive Structural Funds, and NGOs will be challenged to specify their role in the EU’s regional policy. The project will assist NGOs in two ways. First of all, it will provide training and assistance for local organisations in order to build local or regional cross-sectoral development partnerships. Secondly, it will include various advocacy activities pursued at national level.

The specific objectives of this project are therefore:
• To create one local action plan for sustainable development in each country which enjoy the support of local communities and other stakeholders;
• To establish four national networks of NGOs which will shift national policies and regional development plans towards sustainability;
• To start a dialogue between an international network of NGOs and the European Commission on the sustainable use of Structural and Cohesion Funds;
• To build capacity of the four project partner NGOs on sustainable development and Structural Funds, and help three NGOs from other countries to start a project aimed specifically at the first two project goals.

The tasks of Milieukontakt in this project focus on objective three: international dialogue and four: capacity building.

What has to be done?
. To support local pilot projects
Each project partner will facilitate a working group on local SF-projects. With a profound knowledge of project design and Structural Funds, the project partners will offer their special expertise to local groups.

. National watchdog teams on Structural Funds
Each Central European partner will set up a national team of NGO experts and activists for monitoring and influencing the operation of Structural Funds. A watchdog team will comprise 10-20 NGOs working on regional development issues. The team members will participate in Management and Monitoring Committees of Operational Programmes, or, at least, will follow its operation closely (in the case that national authorities fail to offer seats in committees)

. National Focal Points on Regional Development
Each project partner will set up a national focal point on regional development issues, which will provide information to local and national NGOs, and the general public on SF-issues. It will also be responsible for coordinating the participation of target NGOs in SF-assistance. The focal points will serve as secretariats for the watchdog teams.

. International networking
Milieukontakt and the four Central European partners have formed an international working group on the SFs. The name of the working group is SFteamCE. The aims of international networking are to exchange information and experiences on the partners’ national activities, formulating common positions on how to integrate public participation and sustainable development to SF-planning and implementation, and common advocacy activities in EU institutions.

. Training on Developing SF-Projects
The goal is to enable project partners to help municipalities/NGOs to submit their projects for the SFs. The Training also aims to learn experiences of Western NGOs, which have experiences on monitoring Structural Funds.

Partners: Hungary: National Society of Conservationists (NSC)
Czech Republic: Centre for Community Organising (COO)
Slovakia: Center for Environmental Public Advocacy (CEPA)
Poland: Polish Green Network(PGN)

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