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Apply participatory forest planning for sustainability: Robinwood Plus (Robinwood PLUS)
Start date: Dec 31, 2009, End date: Dec 30, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Rural areas still need to bridge the gap that differentiate their growth to that of urban areas, by finding their own route to sustainable development through natural resources exploitation. Main project theme is FORESTRY as key resource for rural development, environment protection and quality of life, as it is addressed not only by EU policies (eg. EU Forestry Action Plan) but also by the regional policies of all the partners involved, mostly in their rural development plans or structural funds plans.The project idea was born out of previous successful Interreg III C projects (Robinwood, RURAL Innova, etc) devoted to sustainable rural development. Whilst the previous projects have allowed the project partners to increase their knowledge on this issue and have allowed the local stakeholders to start activating locally, there is now a need to keep momentum, to promote a more systematic approach (in terms of policy and governance) to the revitalization of rural areas andto pave the way for future investments. The partnership, built around the former "Robinwood" leader Regione Liguria -centrally positioned-, comprises representatives from each EU area: Kainuu (North), Hargita (East), Limousin (West) and Calabria (South). They share the same high forestry potential, as well as the same problems and aims, though they have gained different experiences and practices. The lack of entrepreneurship in rural areas and the presence of forest-products-related SMEs with little market power are important issues for all, therefore this proposal focuses on priority 1, sub-theme "Entrepreneurship and SMEs". In order to foster forestry role for rural development we need to improve regional and local governance and policies especially in the field of information to and involvement of private stakeholders (such as land owners or forest businesses, mainly SMEs), of development of entrepreneurship in many sectors (industry, tourism, craftsmanship, energy), oftechnical and management innovation of existing businesses, of funding.PARTICIPATORY FORESTRY PLANNING is considered by alla project partners (though at different levels of application) as a global public governance tool for sustainable land management addressing all those issues at a time with the involvement of local stakeholders.The project will therefore focus on the identification of best practices -and of their exchange- about the methodology for the application of quality participatory forest planning, that is, able to take into account local needs and global competitiveness. This exchange will take place at partners level as well as at subprojects level.Final main outputs will be common guidelines for application of quality participatory forest planning to improve governance and common policy recommendations for forestry economy development targeted at both regional (eg. in view of the new programming period 2014-2020) and EU policies. Achievements: Robinwood Plus is a miniprogramme that aims at revitalising rural economy by means of promoting participatory forest planning and sustainable forest management. The project started in March 2010 and the first activity developed was the identification of the 25 best practices, 5 for each region. These Best practices have been eneterd in the knowledge base developed by Limousin and now available on line on the Project website ( Thanks to this process, the partners identified the key themes on which to base the call for subprojects proposal that has been lunched in October 2010. The call is articulated in 2 steps (the 1st for beneficiaries selection, the 2nd for project proposals selection). At the end of the first step, 56 Application forms have been received (14 from Liguria, 4 from Kainuu, 8 from Limousin, 6 from Hargita and 24 from Calabria). 46 out of 56 beneficiaries have been evaluated eligible. The beneficiaries selected in step 1 had the occasion to meet in a big event in March hosted by Calabria in order for them to create international partnership and started working to develop international subproject proposals. In May the 2nd step ended and 7 proposals have been received, 5 out of 7 have been evaluated eligible. On May 18th the SC met in Limoges to make the quality assessment of subproject proposals. Output of that meeting was a ranking list of subprojects - they were all approved under conditions. The final releases of the subprojects descriptions were received by the lead partner in mid June and in July the 5 subprojects started with technical and communication activities. Two interregional global subproject exchange workshops were organised in Liguria in October 2011 and in Kainuu in June 2012. This two meetings had the goal to optimize the exchange of experiences and to identify lessons learnt that will inform regional policies. A third party observation system allows project partners to follow all the activities developed by subproject participants and to learn from subprojects experience. Moreover, the best practices exchanged among subprojects participants are implementing the best practice knowledge base. In the meantime project communication actions proceeded through the participation at events, visibility on the media and the implementation of the of the social network, the web site and digital newsletters.
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