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Karstic fields are very dynamic ecosystems which need special attention in terms of environmental management, especially in cases when they are shared between several countries. The CBC project »Sustainable use of water and water resources for Imotsko – Bekijsko field« (IM-BE Field) funded by the EU under the IPA Cross-border Programme is dealing with such a case, the aim being to prepare an integral water management plan for the entire Imotsko – Bekijsko field watershed area. Imotsko-Bekijsko field is a vast inland karstic plain roughly between Split and Mostar that is partially flooded in winter and quite dry in the summer. It is on a large water resource and has a huge potential for agriculture due to its mild climate and vicinity of the coastal tourist centres and major transport routes; however, it is also very vulnerable to pollution.

The project is estimated to cost roughly € 690,000 and involves several partners on both sides of the border, namely the Split-Dalmatia County, Canton of Western Herzegovina, Regional Development Agencies RERA from Split and HERAG from Posušje as well as Municipality  of Grude and several others. The project is based on the requirements of EU Water Framework Directive and the development tendencies in the area of Imotsko-Bekijsko field. Agro-economic study will be prepared, followed by a conceptual design of irrigation & drainage system and an Environmental Impact Assessment and Cost – benefit Analysis for the planned investment. The principles of integrated water management, sustainable agriculture and risk management is being promoted among the local population through workshops and seminars.

One of the planned dissemination activities, a 2-day seminar was implemented by Oikos. The participants were representatives of all the municipalities in the Imotsko-Bekijsko field watershed area, the Split-Dalmatia County, Canton of Western Herzegovina, Agricultural Advisory Service, Croatian Waters and several NGOs. Environmental concepts and legislation was presented and discussed in the transboundary context, followed by the presentation of environmental impacts of agriculture in karstic fields and waste management requirements. Best practices of watershed management were presented from other similar karstic fields, as well as potential funding sources. On the basis of the discussion and current situation in the Imotsko-Bekijsko field, a list of potential projects for future environmental management and development of sustainable agriculture was defined and options for their implementation discussed with the participants. The list of projects will serve for development of further activities when the agro-economic study and irrigation & drainage conceptual design will be finished.

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Town and Spatial Planning Association of Slovenia, The Maks Fabiani institution and the Municipality of Komen awarded the prize for Special achievements in the field of urban planning in Komen in September 2013.

This year, the award for special achievements in the field of spatial planning was awarded to developers of the Spatial Plan of the Municipality of Ljubljana. The price was awarded to the Municipality of Ljubljana for the management, financing and coordinating of the preparation of Urban Development Plan, as well as developers of the plan the Ljubljana Urban Institute, Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia and Oikos d.o.o. for the strategic environmental assessment.

Projects awarded with a prize or with recognition of Maks Fabiani are also nominated as the Slovenian national selection for the European Planning Award.

Article from national newspaper here.

Photo used in this blog is from T. Jeseničnik.

 

In last few months we were very active in Macedonia and Albania developing Evaluation of the IPA Cross Border Cooperation Republic of Macedonia – Republic of Albania. The evaluation report was prepared in the framework of the bilateral GIZ German development cooperation with Macedonia and in particular Programme for Regional Economic Development in Macedonia. The evaluation was launched for the needs of the Sector for European Union at the Ministry of Local Self-government of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia.

The purpose of the assignment was to present findings based on OECD DAC evaluation criteria on relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability. The concussions and recommendations of the project were later used for the improvements in the current implementing phase and to better prepare for the new programing period.

The Macedonia – Albania CBC programme helps to improve depth and intensity of cooperation in the area, which is weak due to topographic and geographic nature of the common border (diverse and large area with nature sites and common nature resources), political and administrative nature of the common border, economic disparities and existence of weak historic ties and converging cultural and linguistic circumstances.

The key factors fostering the integration and means to promote positive factors or to overcome persisting obstacles can be seen in language possibilities mostly at the Macedonian side of the border where a significant part of the Albanian speaking population is living. This may help in communications and in integration of people in operations to be later supported by the CBC and other programmes. Similar territorial, natural, rural situation in both countries in the CBC area may give potential for joint approaches and joint approach to opening opportunities and problems solving. Above all common natural resources (Ohrid and Prespa lakes, several protected areas, several rivers and river springs, forest and other reserves) are the key for integrations to protect the living space for inhabitant so the area and for the wider society. Lower cooperation to date offers additional motivation for future exploring of the possibilities and building integration and allowing people to learn and know their neighbouring area and culture.

This is the first process of joint planning and implementation of the cross border cooperation programme and key factors that hindered effective territorial co-operation are similar to several other CBC areas:

  • Weak knowledge of possibilities (opportunities and problems) and possible partners on both sides of the border, which minimises the opportunities for the drafting of joint projects,
  • Low knowledge of the programme and possible actions under the newly established initiatives and lack of understanding of the required procedures under the financial programme,
  • Lack of experience for operation and support to potential project applicants and for project implementing partners and lack of motivation,
  • Language barriers mostly linked to abilities to operate in English language (application, reporting).

Operations financed under the programme were focused to 4 major focuses:

  • Social cohesion through: empowerment of women, social inclusion of persons who served prison sentence, disability and prevention, social integration of the vulnerable groups, women crossing borders for change, civil society forum, children with speech and language difficulties,
  • Business development through: strengthening the SME sector, branding, business without borders, working in the rural, building employment opportunities, integrated alternative tourism, promoting business women, actions on entrepreneurship business support
  • Environmental management through: water resource management, promotion and awareness on environment protection, enable new forms of services, capacity building for environment governance, integrated sustainable management, biodiversity conservation
  • Education through: strengthening education and training capacity, improvement of VET, establishment of a cross border institutionalized partnership.

The cooperation in the area is not stable yet both in financial and in strategic terms. Partners need support in financial support and in management especially in developing projects. Approved projects are not robust actions, which would have time and knowledge to be able to focus on results and on cross border issues. Projects are still capacity building actions of organizations from the CBC area.

The key Community added value of the programme to the CBC area is that it has built foundations for the future cooperation. In political terms the Community added value can be seen in better knowledge of each other in partnerships built and in increased cooperation. While institutional Community added value can be seen in knowledge about neighbors and in ability for joint drafting, implementation and financing of cross-border programmes and projects.

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Museum of Korčula is situated in the historical core of the Town of Korčula in the palace Gabriellis built in 16th century. The palace Gabriellis is listed on a National cultural heritage list of the Republic of Croatia as a ambulatory cultural good and is a sensitive building to restore. The Korčula Town Museum was established as a collection and is open to the public from 1957. The founder of the museum is the City of Korčula. The palace Gabriellis is in urgent need for restoration.

Museums are usually seen as cost for the society while almost never think of benefits the museums are offering to our society. When you think it a little bit better (you will be find benefits of museums in developing local traditions and customs, you will find them as a central players in developing and growing of tourism and a central point to organize exhibitions and place where people find people feel a sense of belonging and involvement. Sometimes museums involve people in local projects and promote contact and cooperation across cultures, they develop community and social networks and develop contact across different age groups. See more on this at Social and Economic Value of Public Libraries, Museums, Arts and Sport in Northern Ireland and at Measuring the impact of museums on their communities: The role of the 21st century museum.

Experts from Oikos were doing just that we were not only looking to costs but were actively searching for benefits the Korčula museum will have towards community. Well-developed local partnership among local community City of Korčula, Korčula development agency KORA and local cultural associations helped us develop a feasibility study with Cost Benefit Analysis that presents benefits each of partner will add to community with emphasis to Korčula museum.

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Pictures are from tripadvisor.com.

 

Next week a delegation of 26 mayors and 10 regional development experts from Macedonia is coming to a study tour to Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. The visit of the delegation is organized by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) `Regional Economic Development Programme (GIZ RED) in Macedonia`.

The delegation will be visiting the president of the Province of  Trieste Mrs. Maria Teresa Bassa Poropat and Mayor of San Dorligo della Valle municipality Mrs. Fulvia Premolin. Projects in Trieste will be presented by Mr. Erik Švab director of Euroservis.

In Slovenia the delegation will be hosted by the Municipality of Koper and its Mayor Mr. Boris Popović with Mrs. Ivana Štrkalj, Mr. Slavko Mezek from RRC Koper (regional development agency), Mr. Rajko Leban, Director of GOLEA (regional energy efficiency agency) and Mr. Denis Bele, Director of Komunala Izola.

In Croatia the delegation will meet President of the Istria county Mr. Valter Flego, dr. sc. Boris Sabatti, director of the Regional development agency of Istria County IDAIRTA Istrian tourism development agency, Mr. Siniša Milijević, Director and Manuela Hrvatin from Inspirit.

Oikos is taking over the technical part of the organization of the visit. Mostly Sunny to Partly Cloudy weather is expected for the whole next week so we are lucky since we can’t organize weather. Oikos and all others welcomes all members of the delegation in our municipalities and regions.

Besides the visit of mayors to Italy, Slovenia and Croatia Mr. Tahir Hani the Minister for Local Self-government of the Republic of Macedonia visited the high Slovenian officials in Ljubljana.

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Collaborative consumption and the sharing economy are fast becoming household names and taking root worldwide. Companies and investors in the private sector are transforming marketplaces and redefining exchange.

Meanwhile, cities and public sector stakeholders around the world are grappling with new realities: budget reductions, technology-driven innovation, and an increasingly diverse set of demands from their residents. This is redefining the urban planning process itself.

I have recently attended several city-oriented events, including CityLab in New York City, (co)lab summit in Atlanta and VERGE in San Francisco. I’ve been surprised at the knowledge gap that exists between the private and public sectors when it comes to the kind of innovation – and benefits – that the sharing economy represents.

To date, city governments and the sharing economy companies have rarely been seen as partners. More often, city leaders have dealt with transformative new business models from a reactionary position.  This is understandable: the rules governing many new businesses were developed for an industrial age in which mass consumption and ownership were the norm, and before today’s technologies existed, so they don’t fit within current regulatory structures. Moreover, regulators must strike a balance between competing pressures – from the public, incumbents and a variety of other stakeholders – to encourage innovation and maintain public safety.

Nonetheless, this often results in a status quo that is sub-optimal for the city as a whole. City objectives such as local economic investment, entrepreneurship and resource efficiency are thwarted. It also leads to ongoing tensions, and awkward results (such as the back-and-forth Airbnb rulings in New York City over the past several months – leaving the company, travelers and many others in uncertain limbo). At the end of the day, what people often hear is “no, you can’t do that” – ‘that’ being anything from renting out your room to peer-to-peer carsharing.

There is a much better way to approach this. It’s time to reimagine how city leaders and other officials can get involved in a way that’s mutually beneficial and enables them to act from an informed, empowered position rather than through lawsuits or polarizing headlines.

Welcome to Shareable Cities. A Shareable City enables residents to efficiently and safely share all kinds of assets – from spaces to cars, skills and utilities – to create stronger, healthier and more connected communities.

In the coming weeks, I’ll write about specific issues in more detail. In this initial post, let’s lay out the basic trends that underscore this concept. Whether cities get their approach to Shareable Cities right will be path-critical to their future success. Why? Because cities that embrace this idea will discover powerful and efficient solutions that could positively change transport, jobs, education, tourism, food and many other aspects of the way people live.

Politics: Mayors will rule the world

Even before the recent U.S. government #shutdown, the trend towards local leaders and local solutions had begun. The defining world leaders of the 21st century won’t be presidents or prime ministers. They will be mayors and other local leaders who can guide the communities they serve in ways that lead to transformative change. Each city’s path will be unique, but the most successful cities will do things that other cities can adopt, tweak, and scale.

Benjamin Barber is persuasively explaining why mayors should rule the world. Bruce Katz is leading the Metropolitan Revolution, showing how the devolution of power in cities globally can lead to more productivity and innovation. The Rockefeller Foundation’s Resilient Cities initiative and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge are just that: city-focused, with mayors as champions with responsibility to see their plans through.

Cities are just starting to wake up to the magnitude and power of the sharing economy. In many places they are waking up quickly. In late 2012, Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon outlined his vision for his city to become the world’s leading Shareable City and a comprehensive strategic plan to realize it. In the United States, 15 mayors signed the Shareable Cities resolution in summer 2013, declaring their support of the sharing economy. However, signing a resolution is the easy part; it is far more important to translate those words into action.

Economics: the city as a resource-efficient, social model

Collaborative consumption models tap into the concept of idling capacity: the underutilized value in assets. When assets sit idle, inefficiency results – lost revenues, more expensive overhead, value left on the table. “Assets” doesn’t mean simply money, cars and homes; it includes our skills, public spaces, rooftops, parking lots and much more.

Idling capacity exists in assets throughout a city, yet in most instances it’s hidden so we don’t see it. We think nothing of cars that sit idle 23 hours a day, and offices that are empty 70% of the time. This includes assets owned by the city itself, which results in a more expensive city to run.

Tapping into the idling capacity of assets costs essentially nothing. It doesn’t require massive infrastructure investments or a rerouting of current systems. A city can save money, create additional revenue sources, or both – simply by using its resources more efficiently. Moreover it can unlock massive wealth in the broader community, by enabling more people to become productively engaged, generating income, and bringing neighbors back into relationship with one another.

via How Shareable is Your City? | Collaborative ConsumptionCollaborative Consumption.

 

I am still surprised by how much climate change denial we come across.Recently Connect4Climate ran the iChange competition, challenging students to present the climate challenge in a 30-second video. We received great responses from around the world and compiled a video with some of the best for MTV.Posting this on our YouTube channel quickly resulted in more than 7000 views, a hearty discussion, and this comment: “lol i havent even watched this video. but ive read some of the comments. global warming is a MYTH!“iClimate Connect4Climate Competition

What? Such outright denial! How can this be when the science is so overwhelming clear, when world leaders have shown their support for climate action, when reports left right and centre highlight the dire impacts of climate change, not least the World Bank’s own 4°C report?

I couldn’t let such comments go without responding. 97% of Scientists agree

First off I responded quoting the recent survey that found that 97% of climate science papers agree global warming is man-made. Surprisingly sceptics still rebut the overwhelming consensus. The next comment was “WHAT SCIENCE?? you show me the science that PROVES there is such a thing?!!” What science? Well all the peer-reviewed scientific literature published in amongst others the most renowned scientific papers, as well as the summary reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC.

Their most recent report, the 5th Assessment Report, shows that scientists are now 95%, up from 90% in 2007, certain that global warming is caused by humans and that the impacts are speeding up. Being a biologist by training, I understand and fully support the peer-review process scientists employ –findings can only be published in a scientific journal once the report has been thoroughly reviewed by other scientists knowledgeable in the field under discussion.

Tom Tanner has an interesting blog on this subject, Getting Serious on Climate Action and on when good science is necessary but not sufficient to induce more action on mitigation and adaptation.

It’s the sun. No, it is us!

read full article at: Is Climate Change a Myth? | Future Development.

 

Regions and projects should focus to 4 Ps’ Place, People, Perspectives and Productivity. In South Eastern Europe we are quite good in understanding place and people especially statically and as numerical characters we have no clue of our future Perspectives and Productivity.

Quite often you may see technically perfect infrastructure that is too big or too small for the needs of the area in question which in the end must cause sustainability issues not only financial but also environmental, social and so on.  We are keen on measuring input and outputs and very eager on being strict in controlling the building books and project reports. There is no way someone would be interested in services to address sustainable source of income. That is why most of public utilities, public infrastructure is built and operated by public institutions.

Budapest castle

Budapest castle

We are investing in shallow interventions since deep ones would change the way we live and the way we produce and distribute the value. In order to attract funding for projects in South Eastern Europe we will need to build long-term visions and leaders to give us an understanding of Perspectives and Productivity.

To understand the profit and revenues are “cool”. We will need to understand that value comes from design, branding, intellect, trust, ethics, loyalty and not from tangibles (roads, industry zones, cultural buildings).

When we understand the value comes from content not from containers the financial schemes of projects will change and sustainability of projects will grow.

Strong committed partnerships will bring target groups together and understand their constraints and their needs and build integrated bankable projects.

The presentation from the Ljubljana forum may be seen here.

 

Study on “The use of Structural Funds for Cultural Projects”— filed under: fundingCommissioned by the European Parliament, the study shows the importance of Structural Funds SFs in European cities, regions and countries developing their economy and improving their social fabric through culture. It highlights the breadth of the impact of cultural investment ranging from urban regeneration, social cohesion, jobs and entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, heritage preservation, education and tourism.Berlin’s branding as a world creative city is largely due to the € 1,2 billion EU SFs received over the 2007-2013 financing period. The city of Nantes n°1 city for well being has built its reputation, economic transformation and attractiveness thanks to artistic interventions calling on architects, performing artists, visual artists, etc. and support tools and infrastructures provided for creative companies. Finland and Estonia are examples of countries which have developed innovative policies – funded by EU Structural Funds – to build a creative environment supporting both creative companies and enterprises working in traditional industrial fields and wishing to innovate. € 255 million from the ERDF have been spent to restore cultural heritage and renovate historical buildings in the Temple Bar Quarter in Dublin as a way to make the area lively and attractive. Today the new Temple Bar attracts tourists, citizens and companies thanks to its renewed image, a rich cultural offer and working spaces for creative firms. The examples show the versatility and pervasive impact of cultural investment beyond traditional heritage preservation and exemplify the capacity of culture to be mainstreamed as a tool for innovation.The report also stresses the importance of pan-European cooperation through INTERREG and URBACT programmes. Cities and regions have learnt from each other and collaborated to make the most of the rich and diverse cultures available across Europe.In the light of the successful experiences throughout the EU and Europe’s rich cultural heritage, the report calls on the future EU regional policy to better take into account the contribution of cultural investment in EU development and growth strategies. It proposes improvement to the proposed Cohesion Policy for the period 2014-2020 in order make the most of Europe’ s considerable cultural and artistic assets.

via Study on “The use of Structural Funds for Cultural Projects” — LEM Project.

 

What is the role of EU development assistance?

It’s clear that development money, official development assistance in the old sense of the word would become less and less important therefore it is clear that over the next few years there will be a discussion about where does the money come from for these development issues.

If I can just give you a short example, there will still be development money, but there are remittances, there is foreign direct investment, there is trade, there is domestic resource mobilization. All this together contributes to the overall financing of development and sustainability. In order to put in all these different contributors into perspective we will produce a policy document – before the summer – that will show the relative contribution and relative importance of the various sources of financing which we will need to look at.

It basically means putting development assistance, which will still be a very important part, into perspective by putting it into the wider framework of other sources of financing.

How is EU aid allocated?

It’s not so much a question of less money being available, because obviously you never have as much money as you want. You will want to concentrate your money on those countries that are most in need.

We can help these countries in reducing their poverty by helping them to develop social protection schemes, making growth more inclusive. That is something where we can provide good advice, where we can cooperate and use, in a very effective way, the money that we are still quite willing to set aside for these countries.

Does EU aid to upper-middle income countries still have a role?

We have been engaged for a very long time in policy for development and in cooperation with developing countries. The fact is very simple but also very positive: many of our partner countries have developed. They are now upper-middle income countries and therefore we have to think about the way to work with them. If you are an upper-middle income country your own revenue and budget is starting to become the main source of whatever is happening in the country and society, and development assistance is becoming a very small share.

That means you have to re-think how you use your development money in such a country. It can no longer be money that actually replaces government action. It can only be seed money to drive processes, to promote reform and support, assist the country in implementing those reforms. It can no longer be money that is destined for poverty reduction simply because the volumes are not there and the country has the resources to do this.

via Klaus Rudischhauser talks about where and how EU development assistance should be targeted..