2005-2011 Partnerships for Sustainable Development

Posted on June 30, 2009 in Capacity building.

Partnerships for sustainable development in CEE

Aim: The aim of this long-term program 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 sustainability and public interest.

Global Scope: Poland, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Netherlands. SFteam for Sustainable Future: www.sfteam.eu.

Period: from 2005-07-01 till 2011-06-30     (52)

Downloadable documents:

Funder: Dutch Government (VROM), Charles S. Mott Foundation, Visegrad Fund.

Partners: Hungary: National Society of Conservationists (NSC)
Czech Republic: Centre for Community Organising (CCO)
Slovakia: Center for Environmental Public Advocacy (CEPA)
Poland: Polish Green Network (PGN)
Latvia: Green Liberty (GL)
Romania: Focus Eco Centre (FEC)
Bulgaria: Blue Link Foundation (BL) and Public Environmental Centre for Sustainable Development (PECSD)

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

Ten Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries joined the European Union in 2004 and 2007. These countries have access to the European Union’s Structural (SF) and Cohesion Funds (CF) within the framework of EU regional policy. The EU pours billions of euros into the new Member States, which can either threaten the environment in these countries, or can help to implement local sustainable development initiatives.

The impact of structural instruments largely depends on how closely sustainability aspects and the principle of partnership are integrated into planning and implementation structures. The rushed planning process coupled with the hectic preparation of the documents related to EU Structural Fund operations (National Development Plans – NDPs, and Operational Programs – OPs) weakened the integration of environmental and partnership aspects into the implementation of EU Regional Policy.

The governments will work out plans and programs for 2014-20 period of Structural Funds in 2009-2011. The experiences of the operation of 2007-2013 period would help the new programming exercise to be more transparent and friendlier with sustainability criteria. The project partners have been participating in the monitoring of Structural Funds of the 2007-2013. It is very important to continue the monitoring of these funds to make the operation of authorities more transparent and to collect experiences of recent operation when developing new regulations.

There is strong need for co-ordination and capacity building at national level to help NGOs to participate in national advocacy for a better regulation and implementation of Structural Funds. Milieukontakt International and CEE NGOs have therefore set up the network “SFteam for Sustainable Future”, or short: SFteam (www.sfteam.eu).

The specific objectives of this long-term programme are:

1. To spread the experiences of the project partners in developing local projects for sustainable development in CEE countries.

To achieve the long term goal of the SFteam, i.e. to promote sustainable development in regional policy, it is very important to provide examples how local communities can use EU funds for developing the local economy and society while taking care of environmental limits. SFteam partners provide assistance and consultancy to other NGOs and communities to develop sustainable projects for EU financing from a.o. the Structural Funds.

2. To facilitate national networks of NGOs which influence planning and implementation of EU funds towards sustainability in the CEE countries.
Five of the SFteam partners have set up national teams of NGO experts and activists for the monitoring and influencing the operation of Structural Funds, so-called national Watchdog teams on SF.  They meet regularly, develop recommendations regarding the programming and implementation of Structural Funds, inform the whole NGO community and the public about the operation of development programs. The SFteam partners are operating a national focal point on regional development issues, which provides information to local and national NGOs, and the general public on SF issues. Focal points serve as secretariats for watchdog teams, and are in charge of communication within the NGO community and relations between NGOs and authorities. Each focal point operates a web page, and a national e-conference on regional development issues.

3. To strengthen the SFteam network for sustainable use of EU funds.
This is done through cooperation with the other European NGO networks, such as FoEE, CEE Bankwatch Network, WWF, Birdlife International, EEB, T&E and CEE WEB. These NGO networks, together with SFteam for Sustainable Future have set up a joint NGO Coalition for Sustainable Use of EU Funds (http://www.coalition-on-eufunds.org). Milieukontakt International has the task to further strengthen the network, and include new countries and partnes where possible. During 2009 the Croatian NGOs were introduced to the SFteam and other NGOs from the SEE region will follow during 2010-1011.

Partners: Hungary: National Society of Conservationists (NSC)
Czech Republic: Centre for Community Organising (CCO)
Slovakia: Center for Environmental Public Advocacy (CEPA)
Poland: Polish Green Network (PGN)
Latvia: Green Liberty (GL)
Romania: Focus Eco Centre (FEC)
Bulgaria: Blue Link Foundation (BL) and Public Environmental Centre for Sustainable Development (PECSD)

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