Course for Sustainability: Living Laboratories

Course for Sustainability: Living Laboratories

Source of funding


Name of client/donor

Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea - Italy

Overall project value

EUR 180,000


January 2012 – December 2012

Beneficiary countries

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

Number of staff


The REC's Sustainable Development Academy has implemented its Course for Sustainability since 2004, building the capacities of key leaders in the fields of politics, public service, business, NGOs and the media, while at the same time forging partnerships between these groups and academia. In 2012, a new type of course was launched in the framework of the SDA: "Living Laboratories: Resilience and Sustainability of Municipalities", which was designed to prepare local communities to be resilient in the face of crisis.

The aim of the new course was to enable discussions, within a "living lab", on how to improve the endurance, flexibility and adaptive capacity of communities, and to assist them in implementing concrete actions to achieve this goal.

The Living Labs course is aimed primarily, but not exclusively, at alumni of previous SDA courses who are working in municipalities, local communities or small regions, or at national level with direct responsibility for municipalities or small regions. In 2012, the course was held in Szentendre (Hungary) and Venice and attracted 55 participants from South Eastern Europe (SEE). It resulted in the development of 20 local projects, thus providing practical assistance in bringing about change in the region.

Activities included:

  • holding a preparatory capacity-building workshop for experts from the organising partner institutions;
  • forming local teams based on the SDA's alumni network;
  • organising a two-week course for participants from SEE on developing sustainability and resilience know-how;
  • identifying sub-national responses to large-scale economic and resource-related challenges; and
  • supporting the development of local projects aimed at nurturing sustainability and the resilience of social and ecological systems.
  • Capacity building
  • Event management
  • Organisational support
  • Publishing
  • Preparation of guidance materials