Project: 2006- 2009 Sustainable Future for Rural Areas in Croatia

Posted on May 14, 2007 in Capacity building, ICT, Public Participation.

2006- 2009 Sustainable Future for Rural Areas in Croatia

Sustainable Future for Rural Areas in Croatia

Aim: Enable Croatian regions to develop in accordance with their recognized needs and EU standards and to prepare for effective use of Croatian as well as EU funds (in the framework of EU accession, such as SAPARD and Structural Funds).

Global Scope: Croatia, Gorski Kotar region

Period: from 2006-11-15 till 2009-11-14 (61)

Funder: Matra Programme, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Partners: PINS (Skrad), Odraz, SMART, HMRR – Croatian Rural Development Network, Center for Community Organising (CCO, Czech Republic), PREPARE network (Partnership for Rural Europa network), CCI, Stichting RegioWaarde (Tilburg, Netherlands), and Pelikan Consult

Themes: Rural regional sustainable development, NGO-government cooperation, Public Participation, Networking, EU Accession

Overall objective(s)
The overall objective is to enable Croatian regions to develop in accordance with their recognized needs and EU standards and to prepare for effective use of Croatian as well as EU funds (in the framework of EU accession, such as SAPARD and Structural Funds).

Project goals:
1. To realise sustainable development of 1 region in Croatia through development of a sustainable rural regional development plan, characterised by local capacity building, job opportunities and ecological, economical and social sustainability.
2. To promote the method and results of the pilot region among a broader group of regions, communities, NGOs in Croatia, and to increase awareness on the use of EU accession as a tool to achieve sustainable development in Croatia.
3. To develop networking and cooperation between NGOs and the government, enabling NGOs to take part in programming of the government, and between Croatian NGOs and communities and European networks such as PREPARE, the LEADER observatory, etc.

Key problem(s)
– Lack of attention for sustainable development;
– Lack of strategy on regional development;
– Low level of public participation and transparency;
– Low level of cooperation within NGO movement;
– Lack of capacity in NGOs to effectively work on sustainable development with authorities;
– Croatian communities isolated from international networks.

Project results
1. One regional sustainable development plan, prepared with participation of all relevant regional stakeholders, in 1 region in Croatia and implementation started.
2. Stakeholders outside the pilot region know about the method and results and are interested to use the model in their own regions.
3. Increased awareness and knowledge of EU issues, specifically in relation to EU accession.
4. Increased participation of Croatian NGOs and communities in international networks and platforms.
5. Increased communication, consultation and cooperation between NGOs, communities and authorities in Croatia, on regional and national level.

Project activities
0 Project Management and Support for Partners
Activity 0.1. Meetings (5) of project team: Milieukontakt, Odraz, Smart, PREPARE and CCO (3 x)
Activity 0.2. Organisational support Croatian project partners
Activity 0.3. Evaluation & External evaluation
Activity 0.4. On- site support
1 Local Plan for Sustainable Development : 1 Pilot Region
Activity 1.1. Survey of needs in pilot region 1 (focus meetings, interviews, reading doc’s) + report
Activity 1.2. Stakeholder meetings (4)
Activity 1.3. Local Action Groups – internal organisation & management: meetings etc
Activity 1.4. Activities
Activity 1.5. Local capacity building
Activity 1.6. Training ICT, equipment and support ICT, Communication activities
Activity 1.7. Field visits (2)
Activity 1.8 Study visits Local Action Group to the Netherlands + Czech Republic
2 Promoting Method and Results
Activity 2.1. Regional workshops (3)
Activity 2.2. Development & distribution of materials including Manual
Activity 2.3. E-newsletter (monthly)
3 Embedding Results and Methodology
Activity 3.1. National conferences on Sustainable Rural Regional Development (2)
Activity 3.2. Workshops for local, regional and national government on EU accession and funds
Activity 3.3. Contact with LEADER observatory (Brussels), PREPARE– communication and visits (4)

Milieukontakt and its partners on the one hand and the Matra Programme (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands) on the other hand had to negotiate a long time about downscaling of the original project plan. This long period without being able to start caused a managerial problem at partner ZOE. ZOE was the projected coordinator of the local pilot project in Gorski Kotar and ZOE was not able anymore to deliver the staff necessary to execute the project, due to late start of the project. Therefore partner ZOE stepped out of the project before the project finally started in November 2006. Milieukontakt used great part of 2007 to have an analysis done by the NGO Center for Civil Initiatives (CCI, Zagreb) in order to identify new local partners. The analysis took part in Gorski Kotar and Lika region during Spring and Summer 2007. On basis of the analysis Milieukontakt in cooperation with the Croatian partners decided to invite the organisation PINS from Gorski Kotar to execute the local pilot activities. PINS is an organisation that stimulates development of among others entrepreneurship in Gorski Kotar region.

In November 2007 the project partners kicked off the project through a workshop in Skrad (Gorski Kotar). The workshop included contributions from different regions in Croatia, Czech Republic and Poland on sustainable rural development and the LEADER method.

During the beginning of 2008 PINS managed to set up the Local Action Group (LAG for Gorski Kotar), which is the main vehicle in the LEADER process for involvement of all stakeholders in sustainable development of the region.

In March 2008 the project partners successfully organised a national conference and skill-share workshop, including contributions from Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland and Slovenia.

In May 2008 the Local Action Group (LAG) of Gorski Kotar presented itself to the wide public and the media. In the LAG are represented all 3 sectors (local governmental sector, private sector and civil sector) of all 9 municipalities of Gorski Kotar. The LAG will start working on the sustainable development plan until the end of 2008. This will take place in several working groups. The Matra project partners organise the building of capacities of members of the LAG and Working Groups. A study visit to the Czech Republic to succesfull LEADER examples took place end of May 2008.

More information about the project on Sustainable Future for Rural Areas in Croatia and precise activities may be found in the following project description (13 pages) and brochures (2 pages each; in Croatian and English language, respectively):

Sustainable Future for Rural Areas in Croatia (EN, Pdf file, 191 kB)
Sustainable Future for Rural Areas in Croatia (HR, Pdf file, 128 kB)
Sustainable Future for Rural Areas in Croatia (EN, Pdf file, 122 kB)

Partners: PINS (Skrad), Odraz, SMART, HMRR – Croatian Rural Development Network, Center for Community Organising (CCO, Czech Republic), PREPARE network (Partnership for Rural Europa network), CCI, Stichting RegioWaarde (Tilburg, Netherlands), and Pelikan Consult

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