Course for Local Sustainability and Action in South Eastern Europe and the Visegrad Countries

Course for Local Sustainability and Action in South Eastern Europe and the Visegrad Countries

Source of funding

Italy

Name of client/donor

Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, Italy

Overall project value

EUR 150,000

Date

February 2011 – June 2012

Beneficiary countries

Albania | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Croatia | Czech Republic | Hungary | Kosovo* | Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia | Montenegro | Poland | Serbia | Slovakia

Number of staff

14

The Course for Local Sustainability and Action is one of the courses delivered by the REC's Sustainable Development Academy. The course was first organised in 2008, and the fourth iteration brought together 40 representatives of local communities, national governments (ministries of local self-governance and ministries of environment), associations of towns and municipalities, regional authorities, universities, international organisations, NGOs and members of the business community. Designed to build skills and capacity, the programme assists a variety of stakeholders with sustainable planning, management and investment in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia and Slovakia.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

The overall goal of the course is to further build the capacities of local and national stakeholders with regard to sustainable development, management and investment, thus helping to break the vicious cycle of resource depletion, environmental degradation, failing economies and poverty. The course aims to:

  • contribute to building platforms for cooperation on the implementation of sustainable development principles at local and national levels;
  • promote the implementation of international and EU sustainable development policies and legislation, including international conventions and EU directives;
  • provide assistance for developing mechanisms and tools for the sustainable use of natural resources;
  • support the integration of sustainable development principles in local and national plans and policies;
  • strengthen the role of local communities in developing national environmental plans and other policies;
  • foster cooperation between local communities and the business sector; and
  • promote the concept of sustainable investment.

These objectives are in line with requirements regarding decentralisation and regionalisation – that is, with goals established for SEE countries involved in EU harmonisation talks. They also correspond to recommended investment priorities for reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Based on a multi-stakeholder approach, the course brings together government officials and business representatives, highlighting the importance of partnership in achieving sustainable development goals. The focus is on sharing both practical and technical knowledge. Participants are provided with general theoretical and practical information on policies and instruments related to sustainable development. They are also given the opportunity to learn from best practices and case studies drawn from the region and from EU member states. The five core topics for the 2011 course were water management; wastewater management; waste management; urban planning; and recreational tourism.

The course for 2011 was delivered at the Venice International University campus on the island of San Servolo, Italy; and the REC premises in Szentendre, Hungary. It was open to representatives of local and national governments; heads of NGOs, associations, chambers of commerce and international organisations; and heads of businesses and publicly owned enterprises. Participants completing all the course modules received a diploma at the end of the course. As a result of the course: 

  • platforms for cooperation for the implementation of sustainable development principles at local and national levels were established and supported;
  • a contribution was made to the implementation of international and EU sustainable development policies and legislation, including international conventions and EU directives;
  • assistance was provided to develop mechanisms and tools for the sustainable use of natural resources;
  • the integration of sustainable development principles in local and relevant national plans and policies was promoted;
  • the role of local communities in developing national environmental and other policies was strengthened;
  • cooperation between local communities and the business sector was enhanced; and
  • the concept of sustainable investments was promoted.
  • Administrative support
  • Awareness raising
  • Capacity building and training
  • Events management
  • Project management