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What is the most pressing current issue/challenge related to sustainable food systems (in the context of rural-urban linkages)?

The key issue in developing sustainable food systems will be to form efficient short food supply chains that will be able to compete with large food chains in terms of quality, delivery and in certain way also in prices. The quality and safety of food is getting high on the agenda of EU citizens and this offers an opportunity for the shorter food chains which may be able to deliver quality food next door within the expectation of quality and price. This will segment the food supply in type (local vs. foreign/exotic food) but also in availability per season which will affect the dietary habits and accessibility.

Additional opportunity may also be seen in climate changes. They cause huge destruction in people’s lives but also in food production chains and shorter food chains may respond to with ability to deliver in changed circumstances and be able to deliver safe food.

Shorter food supply chains will need to find new production techniques and sometimes change production and processing, but on the other hand they will need to find their way around logistics, selling points and engage in modernisation of our lives in terms of diet and life style.

What is a misconception about rural vs urban areas regarding this topic?

Key misconception is that rural and urban areas are separate worlds or galaxies while we all know in reality, there is no sharp distinction. This causes different policy approach, different legal setting and different planning models which basically divides what in nature is one. Urban areas with more interaction with rural are better to live and in vice versa rural areas with more interaction with urban are more liveable. And this is not only in terms of food chains, tourism, recreation but in everyday living needs for social networking, cultural engagement and so on.

The other very strange misconception is that urban areas produce more value. When counting purely economic or statistical items which we are now able or willing to calculate this may hold true. But when looking behind pure financial indicators rural areas are large producers or better keepers of value in terms of quality of life, health, food, nature conservation, social interaction, resources for future, space and happiness if you want. It is not the question how to use those resources for the development of urban areas which is often discussed but the question how to keep value of the rural areas and preserve it for the future.

How can rural and urban areas mutually benefit from cooperating on sustainable food systems?

Provision of locally produced, sustainable food can reduce environmental footprint of urban areas which will contribute to better and healthier living conditions. This may also contribute to improvement of environmental and climate indicators by reducing the concentrated environmental hot spots.

In the other hand the sustainable food systems will help in establishing healthy food habits among people which will not only help them live better but also contribute to the national economic agenda in cutting costs with preventive measures rather than large investments in health systems. This may be achieved with developing healthier diet practices among general public and with and with active policy measures like public procurement for schools and public institutions.

The sustainable food systems will improve the economy of rural areas and increase employment, innovation and grow resilience. This will improve the quality of life in rural areas and improve the demographic picture of several parts of Europe.

The sustainable food system will improve the social cohesion and networks among urban and rural which will further open possibilities for innovation and collaborative economy.

For more follow:

for even more follow the ROBUST project website.


BetterEvaluation is an international collaboration to improve the practice and theory of evaluation by creating and curating information on choosing and using evaluation methods and processes, including managing evaluations and strengthening evaluation capacity.

We support people to apply new knowledge to their particular situations, and to share their experiences and further contribute to learning how to do an evaluation better. 

The BetterEvaluation website is the primary platform for this work. The site went live in October 2012.

BetterEvaluation supports three connected areas of activity: evaluation practice, evaluation capacity strengthening and research and development in evaluation.

BetterEvaluation was founded by four partners, ILAC, ODI, Pact, and RMIT University. Its main operations were physically based at RMIT University (Melbourne) for its first five years of operation, before it moved to ANZSOG as part of the Evidence and Evaluation Hub in August 2016.

You must visit the site.


5 Effective Project Management Methodologies and When to Use Them If you want to make your projects flow faster and with less wasted effort, there are a variety of project management methodologies you can use. Though each of them has their own advantages, they may not apply to the projects your team is working on. It’s probably wise to thoroughly review each methodology too see if it fits well with your project. Keep in mind that you can always adapt your team’s workflow process if it doesn’t perfectly match up. That way, you can maximize the project management methodology’s effectiveness.

1. Waterfall Project Management Traditional, or “waterfall” project management handles things sequentially, from the concept and planning phase through to development and quality assurance and finally project completion and maintenance. Project requirements are usually defined at the beginning, with little to no alterations to the plan unless absolutely necessary. The waterfall methodology is used most often for large-scale software development projects where thorough planning and a predictable process are paramount.

2. Agile Project Management Agile project management focuses on adaptability to changing situations and constant, regular feedback – whether it’s from the client or from other members of the team. This is ideal when clients or management need to be in on the production process, resulting in changing requirements and drastic shifts in team assignments. Agile project management is usually ideal for smaller software projects and/or those with accelerated development schedules.

3. Critical chain/path As opposed to waterfall and agile project management, that focus more on schedules and tasks, the critical chain project management methodology is geared more towards solving resource problems. Each project has a certain set of core elements, called a critical chain (sometimes referred as critical path), that establish a project’s minimum timeline. The critical chain methodology devotes adequate resources to this critical chain while devoting enough resources to other tasks such that they can run concurrently, but still have enough of a buffer to reassign resources when needed. This setup is ideal for resource-heavy teams, or for those who have enough flexibility in their team members’ respective skill sets.

4. PRiSM Projects integrating Sustainable Methods (PRiSM) was developed by GPM Global as a means of creating a methodology that took environmental factors into account while being a repeatable, efficient process that could easily be incorporated into various large-scale projects. PRiSM is unique in that it is one of the few project management methodologies that requires and rewards project managers with accreditation. PRiSM is used primarily for large-scale real estate development or construction/infrastructure projects that may result in adverse environmental effects.

5. PRINCE2 PRINCE2 is a government-endorsed project management methodology, released and supported by the UK government in 1996. It is a very process-oriented methodology, dividing projects into multiple stages, each with their own plans and processes to follow. Like PRiSM, PRINCE2 requires accreditation via exams. PRINCE2 is a complicated yet thorough methodology, but the project manager needs to determine whether or not it will scale properly with their specific requirements.UPDATE: We’ve collected 5 more project management methodologies for you! Go check it out!

Source: 5 Effective Project Management Methodologies and When to Use Them | Easy Projects Blog


We were involved in assessment of applications for grants in Bosnia and Herzegovina lately and in general applications were of a lower quality than we are used to. Grants were offered for private investments in SMEs and for cooperation among partners (public and private) to develop sectorial approach in certain sectors. Interestingly the quality didn’t vary much from public or private applicants while applications had similar mistakes or weak points.

Applicant needs to present her/his experience and technical expertise for the implementation of project activities planned and needs to be sure to have sufficient management and financial capacity for the project. These are the key of feasibility of the project and assurance to the grantor that you will be able to use funds to achieve planned results. Make it clear and easy to understand and just present what are you doing in your business and list your successes. Don’t think you know everything and that you are the best since if this was true you would not apply for the grant in the first place. Use your knowledge and experience to tell what you know and what you need to become even better.

Relate your project to the grantor’s wishes and objectives since the project will be financed from money that was earned by someone else. And this someone likes to understand how are you helping her/him to achieve goals. Read carefully and understand what is the objective of the grantor and why does she or him wants to spend the money on your project. Be careful it is you who need to understand the idea not the grantor, you are getting the money in the end of the day if you are successful.

Innovation, sustainability, partnership and similar are not just buzz words. The issues here is to understand how is money spent on your project going to help in developing future perspective of the area you live in. Yes, you are right it is not so much about you but about the community you live in and you use resources from. Your project needs to address innovation, climate changes, environmental protection, social inclusion, equal opportunities. They help disseminating benefits of your project to the society and the society need to be better off when giving money to selected person like you and your business. On the other hand all these policies are full of ideas and information necessary to develop your business sin the future and you should understand them and embrace them into your business if you want to stay alive on the long run.

Your action plan needs to be feasible, practical and consistent with your project and its planned results. As all activities in your business that you are running need to be efficient so needs to be the project you are applying for.  Be clear what will you do and whit which tools and be clear in how much this will cost. You need to think of activities and their costs as if the money was your and you are doing your own cost benefit analysis in your head on what is cool and what you will not be able to pay and do. Project activities presented need to be specific and detailed and related to project results. And do not forget that you also need to sell products and services you will be developing not just produce them. This is key weakness; applicants only focus to purchase of equipment and its installation but they forget that markets and their demand are usually the key challenge for the business model.

Understand how are you going to measure if the project was successful of a failure. That is usually done with some indicators that need to be easy to understand, they must be calculated with same methods and data every time and they need to be linked to results of your project. As you are keeping the books on costs you also measure your financial balance in the end of the year. And it is just the same with projects; they need to have an opening statement (baseline indicators) and closing balance (achieved-target indicators).

To cut the long story short:

  • Don’t be lazy. Respond to all questions asked and answer with your heart and knowledge of your business you are running every day. It is easy to understand the language of projects if you want to. Translate projects language to business processes and you are saved.
  • Don’t lie and don’t try to cover up real project intent. You will be caught, assessors are people who know their business and were involved in preparation of projects before, they know what to read and where to find hidden agendas. Lying does not help you and your business and needs to be avoided because of you in the first place.
  • Be you, present your business model. Each project is based on a business model which shows to the product and its market. If you do not have one or the other do not apply or even worse rethink your business. Business model need to be clear to you and all partners in the project that is the key for success.
  • Be brave and have smart ideas. There are a lot of projects without value or idea, there are a lot of them where the idea is great but its presentation is weak. Be short, clear and do not be afraid presenting smart project ideas and follow them.


The picture in the blog is from


In 2016 we were active in the preparation of the multi county project ROBUST to bi financed from the HORIZON 2020. The project is to  advance our understanding of the interactions and dependencies between rural, peri-urban and urban areas and to identify and promote policies, governance models and practices that foster mutually beneficial relations. Improved governance arrangements and synergies between rural, peri-urban and urban areas will in turn contribute to Europe’s smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, maximising the creation of rural jobs and value-added.

The project is to

  • co-develop, as a joint endeavour of practice partners, stakeholders and researchers, an analytical framework and set of methodologies and tools for describing and analysing relations along rural–peri-urban–urban trajectories. The related deliverables include a Working paper ‘Conceptualisation of rural-urban relations and synergies’ and the final version of the ‘Action and Policy-oriented Conceptual and Methodological Framework’.
  • better understand how rural–peri-urban–urban relationships, dependencies and inter-actions relate to smart, sustainable and inclusive regional growth in eleven diverse territorial settings. The related deliverables include an in-depth analysis of the connections be-tween more beneficial relations between rural, peri-urban and urban areas, and the creation of value added and job growth, Five Thematic Workshops on ‘Cross-sectoral interactions and synergies’ and 11 Regional Workshops on ‘Rural-Urban Synergy Webs’, each with 25 participants, plus a Synthesis Report ‘Cross-sectoral cooperation and synergies’.
  • assess the potentials and bottlenecks for enhancing mutually beneficial relations in eleven diverse territorial settings. The related deliverables include five summary reports with the results of the analysis of functional relations and 11 Scenario Workshops ‘Enhancing synergies in spatial development’, each with 25 participants (D5.2).
  • identify successful governance models, tools and processes that support mutually beneficial rural–peri-urban–urban relationships and opportunities for cross-sectoral cooperation. The related deliverables include five Thematic Workshops ‘Effective governance’, each with 10-15 participants.
  • evaluate the impact of better managed relationships on smart, sustainable and inclusive regional growth through a combination of qualitative, discursive and quantitative methods, and participatory scenario analysis. The related deliverables include 11 Scenario Work-shops ‘Enhancing synergies in spatial development’.
  • contribute to a wider application of successful governance models and tools through co-learning, the elaboration of communication and training materials, and a set of best-practice examples that illustrate the role and function of conducive governance arrangements. The related deliverables include a European-level workshop ‘Transferability and replicability of governance arrangements’ with 30-40 participants and communication and training materials that we have the capacity to deliver to at least 5.000 public sector decision-makers.
  • and to develop, contextualise and share a set of differentiated policy recommendations aimed at enhancing the uptake and continuous development of successful governance models at EU, national, regional and municipal levels. The related deliverables include a set of five ‘Policy and Governance Thematic Topic Papers on Rural-Urban Cooperation’ that will be elaborated and distributed through existing EU level channels, the project website and two European-level Stakeholder Dialogues Breakfasts in Brussels with approx. 25 participants.

Project coordinates partners from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Latvia, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, Finland, Portugal and Italy. It will be interesting so keep following news on this and other information sources in 2017. More on the project can be found at link.


Operating a company in Balkan is not as easy as you may think at first sight. It is not the very business model and business idea that is the problem it is more the business environment that seems to be shrinking all the time. Yes; economies shrink and so do companies but when the crisis is over you would expect the business environment to be live and dynamic again. If you live in Germany or Finland this might be true but if you live in Balkan you are very much wrong. When economic factors are improved, you must wait for another couple of years for the political context to improve, too. You need to wait for elections, for the government to form and ministries to start working. You may need to wait for the large project to be ready to go or e social reform to help people to live. But it is just a scheme; they tend to keep us all focused to wrong challenges. They would like us to sit in front of the TV and watch their very own BigGov Reality show. We are expected to believe their problems and their big ideas from assassinations, to wages system changes and strikes, they would like us to believe tax reforms and new legislation that will ease our lives. They would like us to be occupied with their hard work and their genius ideas that will help us. And they would like us of course to give them more time since their hard work will show results in just a little bit. But it will not! Trying to keep us all focused to wrong questions won’t help anyone.
Through time the business environment did not improve and never will, so just do not wait! Start being yourself and kickass right now. Think of new approach and new ways of doing it and start right now. In culture, sport, environmental care or climate change, health, your local community or children’s playground it just all the same. Go on and start changing things for better and as you like it. Involve others and go together.

I had a luck, I was around when first days of democracy in Slovenia started, I was around when society started to change and I saw the change. I was one of all these people who wanted change and the change happened. Not by waiting for the government to start reform programme and implement it but by starting changing right now. They say it was revolution, for me and probably lots of others it was just another day in life. The day we all knew that we need to go on and that government will not go on for us.

As 27 years ago, today it is a normal day. The day we all need to start the change by changing ourselves. The change is in us. So, stop following the governments and elections and do not even try to understand the tax reform, just open up and start building. You will be exhausted believe me. But you will be tired because you did something for yourself and for the community. Clean up backyard, wash your car, open a business, learn a song or write it, no matter just move and live the dreams don’t not wait for others to build dreams for you. Become the manager of your life. Become entrepreneur.

Yes; it was the best idea in my life to become an entrepreneur. The best idea I ever had. And we will prevail.

The picture in this blog is from–streetart.


The study provides practical information and advice to sport organisations and others who may be considering using the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) to support sport-based projects. It does so in several ways:

It provides summary information on 229 sport and physical activity projects that have already been supported (mainly in the 2007-2013 period) by the structural Funds, with examples from all EU countries

It sets out 33 good practice cases, illustrating the effective use of the Structural Funds to achieve a range of differing objectives in regional and local economic and social developmentCharacteristics of the space

Analysis explains the nature and impact of sport-based initiatives and defines distinct categories of sport interventions

Practical advice for those interested in developing projects is set out in a guidance document and in the report’s recommendations

In addition, the study team has proposed that a Sport Action Network be formed, made up of persons or organisations interested in a self-help group to exchange information or provide mutual support in developing sport-based proposals under the ESIF.

Some of the main sport organisations at a European and national levels and a number of individuals involved in sport development and/or regional economic and social development have expressed an interest in such a development and once established, it could be of interest to a wider group including academics with an interest in sport economics or sport policy, to people responsible for regional and city economic development and to voluntary organisations that make use of sport in social projects.

Link to all reports
Good practices report link.


IMG_9640-001we are currently engaged in the Ex post evaluation of the Operational programme Rural development fund 2007-2013. Ex post evaluation is a summative evaluation of a Rural Development Programme after it has been completed. It is conducted at a point where it is possible to assess impacts and the added value of the programme funding, both at EU and programme level.
The impact and added value of the interventions are important means to show programme achievements with the funds spent, justify the programme budget and enhance the transparency and accountability of EU rural policy to stakeholders and taxpayers.
The ex post evaluation also provides the opportunity to see whether the policy was designed and implemented appropriately to address the most relevant needs in the programme area.

Mojca Hrabar is a team leader for this assignment while she is also coordinationg a team of experts who were all involved in ex post evaluatons in their own countries and in international projects Marek Pihulič from Slovakia, Rolf Bergs from Germany, Stefano Mussi from Italy, Jurij Kobal and Alenka Vodončnik from Slovenia.
We expect partial results of the evaluation to be available in the beggining of July while final report on the ex post evaluation will be delivered to the client Ministry for agricultue, forestry and food in the end of 2016.


Some two year ago I decided it was time to refresh our website – blog or whatever you may call it. The only logical choice was to call up people that deigned it at the first place. To my surprise conditions for minor changes (omitting a twitter account log on a first page) were very bad for us and the price of 800 EUR was a theft. The other logical choice in Slovenia, where we come from, would be to find some similar experts, get similar offer and pay the price. Inspire

When I was thinking of how to find someone else I was flying through twitter for latest news and somehow decided to write a short message on twitter. It must be someone out there who knows someone able to help. It was done in few thumbs moves. And I was back at reading to whatever was of interest to me that day.

To my surprise few minutes, literally, few minutes a direct message came back to my twitter account. It was David. David I never heard of before. Apparently David was able to solve problems I was writing of in an hour of technician work and it would cost me 30 pounds. It must be joke I was thinking to myself and enjoyed writing to him what I need in more details. Yes, David replied, we can do it! OK if you say so, let’s give it a try and I authorised works on our blog.

And the next day David was back with short memo, the job is done. After checking our blog it was really done and it was done exactly as we agreed. And this is when David became my friend. Well a friend I never meet, but hey we live in virtual worlds and David did not only a virtual job for us but the job that really mattered and it was done with speed of a light.

You do not have to ask twice who is out technical blog master now. David and his team of course. I always use this story in my presentations when discussing regional development, globalisation and potentials web and technologies are brining: I was trying something else and they found me over twitter in a matter of minutes and they did the job as agreed in matter of hours. What else do you need, just get out there and do your job. Of course if you love it otherwise you’d better not even try.

So if you have a problem and this problem can be solved with help of David and his team my suggestion is to go with them. They care, they like what they do and are committed. What else do you need?

You will find these very nice people at Inspire Web Consultancy and yes tell my greeting to David when you write.


Expert from Oikos was engaged in the preparation of the feasibility study for the Ars Aevi collection in Sarajevo.

The objective is to study possible future development of the Ars Aevi collection and to carry out an in depth analysis of required investment costs, corresponding operational costs and the most appropriate governance structure. The study analyses possible legal status and recommends concrete proposals for a contemporary art museum Ars Aevi in Sarajevo.


Currently the Ars Aevi Collection is located in the south hall of the Youth House (Dom mladih), which was reconstructed in 2007 when a collection was moved here. The interior is decorated according to the project of architect Amir Vuk Zec elaborated in 2005, as a part of the project implemented by the UNESCO with the contribution of the Government of the Republic of Italy. The exhibition space is designed as a temporary storehouse with wall panels and flooring that can be removed and reconfigured, using compressed plywood as material. Visitors are able to see the exhibition as they move unnoticed through huge space of stored artwork. With a wooden box design the designer wanted to send the message that this is a temporary home for the Ars Aevi collection.

The Ars Aevi collection should be moved to new Museum of contemporary art located in Marijin dvor in Sarajevo as soon as the construction partners are agreed. The construction is based on a Ars Aevi Contemporary Art museum project design from 2005 designed by Mr. Renzo Piano. The feasibility study shows to the feasibility of the museum but the human resources in Ars Aevi need to be sthenghtened to be able to manage the collection, develop focused and efficent marketing and promotion of the collection, assure the collection development and growth and strenghten the financial and organizational capacity of the organziation before this is realocated to a new building.

A public consultation with UNESCO, Delegation of the European Union in Bosnia and Herczegovina, British Council, local and international workshop at Ars Aevi, SarajevoNGOs and artistis was held to discuss conclussions and recomendations form the Feasibility study before this was delivered ti the Client. Participants were happy to discuss possible coordination and joint activities of the Ars Aevi museum with IT business in the Sarajevo economic region. This will benefit both the collection and the IT business in develping new value and in opening of cooperation with markets.

The ARS AEVI – Feasibility Study project is financed from the Europen union and is implemented by IBF International Consulting in collaboration with ATC and ECFDC.