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EcoRegion

Newsletter #4

Documentation of the 3rd EcoRegion Conference

Växjö, Sweden, 26th - 28th January 2010

1. Welcome to the city of Växjö

Dörte Ratzmann (BMU / Lead Partner) officially opened the meeting and informed on a change of personnel within the project management: Tim Mahler (GTZ) will be the new project manager. 
Bo Frank (Växjö city administration) welcomed the participants of the conference and gave a brief introduction to Växjö.
Anders Lundgren and Per-Anders Persson (City of Växjö, County of Kronoberg) presented their sustainable development work and cyclical management system.

2. EcoRegion good practice database

All sectors have collected, documented and submitted practices for the EcoRegion good practice database.
A total of 56 practices is now available in the internal section of the EcoRegion Website.

2.1. Aim & target group of the database, criteria for good practice collection

Target group

Sectoral partners agreed that the main target group of the good practices collected are regional / local decision makers and those who influence them.

Aim

Sectoral partners confirmed the main aim of good practice collection to be the gathering of ideas on how to realize activities for sustainable development on regional level.

Criteria for the identification of good practices

Also sectors agreed on a set of criteria for the definition of an EcoRegion good practice:
1. Applied - concrete sample from a specific region
2. Added value to common and widely spread knowledge
3. Contribution to regional development

Next steps

- Section for information on networks provided by s.Pro.
- Titles of good practices reviewed by sectors.
- A total of 200 good practices submitted by May 2010.
- Database launched in June 2010.

Good practices in further Baltic 21 process

Mia Crawford (Baltic 21) gave an overview on how the EcoRegion Good Practice Database will be used in the further Baltic 21 Process.

2.2. Regional involvement with database filling in and usage

Good practices:
Offers, demands & possible cooperation 

Regions gave a short presentation on good practices they could offer and submit to the EcoRegion Good Practice Database. On the other side they explained what they would need from the sectors in terms of further good practice collection. 

Peer review of regions

Good practices will be checked via a peer review of regions in order to confirm utility for local / regional decision-making level. To this purpose s.Pro will elaborate a questionnaire to be used by the regions for assessment.

Next steps

- Region will submit  2-3 practices by 15th May 2010. 
- They will review sectoral practices when contacted by s.Pro.

3. ICLEI 2nd Training Workshop

Workshop overview

The 2nd training workshop had the following contents:
1. Themes - objectives - indicators - targets - measures
2. What's the right target? Interaction with the sectors
3. Participation in target setting: Methods, criteria, limits
4. Managing targets: Strategic Programme and Action Plan(s)

Region and Sector Interchange: What is the right target?

Each sector defined qualitative objectives, possible indicators and targets targets for sustainable development, trying to focus on local / regional implications. This exercise was then discussed with the regions and conclusions were drawn.

Regional workshop on participation

Regions discussed who should participate in the process of baseline review development, target setting, implementation and monitoring. 

Conclusions and follow up

The last session focused on summing up the discussions held during the entire training, clarifying the follow-up activities for each region and ICLEI’s support needed.

4. Regional 2 Region Workshop for the initiation of cooperation projects

Regions presented "stand alone" projects, possibilities of "region-to-region cooperation" and possibilities of "experience exchange".
The following cooperation areas were identified: public participation, sustainable tourism, sustainable transport, energy saving and business. 
A coordinator for each of these areas was identified to support the further development of joint activities.

5. EcoRegion Perspectives

EcoRegion Perspectives on Sustainable Tourism

Mr. Steingrube (EcoRegion Tourism Sector), presented the first issue "Sustainable Tourism as a Part of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region". He explained the process, difficulties encountered and gave advice on the publication of further issues. 

Future issues: a timeline

Issue Spatial Planning: September 2010
Issue Forest: Autumn 2010
Issue Education: January - Spring 2011
Issue Transport & Energy: Spring 2011
Issue Agriculture: End 2011

6. Baltic 21 Strategy 2010-2015 

EcoRegion Studies on Baltic 21 strategic areas of cooperation

The studies on the four strategic areas of cooperation are in process: Climate Change, Sustainable Consumption and Production, Sustainable Urban and Rural Development, Education and Innovation. They will contribute to the Baltic 21 Strategy 2010-2015, which is expected to be finalized in April 2010.

Stakeholder Event: World Café Discussion on Actions for Baltic 21 Strategy

The stakeholder event was held on the Conference's last day. It was meant to support further definition of actions for the Baltic 21 Strategy. 
Participants discussed the four areas of cooperation and gave their input to possible actions.The discussion on the areas was facilitated by Nordregio (Climate Change), Swedish Forest Agency / UBC (Sustainable urban and rural development), CSCP (Sustainable consumption and production), German Federal Environment Agency (Innovation), Norwegian Board of Education (Education).
Further contribution to Baltic 21 actions is highly appreciated. In such case, please send your input to Ms. Mia Crawford (Senior Adviser Sustainable Development - Baltic 21, Secretariat of Council of Baltic Sea States).

7. Study Tour

EcoRegion partners participated in a study tour and experienced some examples on how sustainable development is realized in Växjö. They got to know the project MACKEN, which is run as a workers co-operative and combines vocational training with language courses for immigrants. Vocational training includes workshops on furniture and bicycles: items are picked up at local recycling stations, repaired and eventually sold. They further visited a public school that produces energy via solar panels and is active in increasing the environmental awareness of its pupils. Finally they viewed one of the newly build passive houses, made of wood and not connected to any heating system.

Project Management: Reporting and Operation Plan

Tim Mahler (GTZ) gave an overview of the 1st Reporting Period, consequences for the next Reporting Period were drawn.
Photos of the 3rd EcoRegion Conference & study trip can be found on the EcoRegion Photo Gallery.