Assessing sustainability and strengthening operati.. (SUSTAIN)
Assessing sustainability and strengthening operational policy
Start date: Dec 31, 2009,
End date: Dec 30, 2012
Background: The increasing intensity of human activities along our coastline (viz. the development of ports and harbours, coastal protection, land reclamation, tourism and sand/gravel extraction) has a severe impact on coastal communities and natural habitats. The EC has adopted a renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy. It aims at bringing about a high level of environmental protection, social equity and cohesion, economic prosperity and active promotion of sustainable development worldwide. There are multiple inter-linkages between the key challenges: for example between the use of renewable energy and climate change.Objectives: The key objective of SUSTAIN is to have in place, at the end of three years, a fully implementable policy tool, applicable for all 22 coastal states of the EU, which will ensure that the integrated management of coastal issues will be sustainable. This entails the agreement within the project, of a set of criteria which are readily measurable andwhich cover both the threats of an unsustainable development and the opportunities provided by a sustainable future which faces all coastal authorities and communities throughout Europe.Partnership: 12 partners including 8 Authorities (4 regional & 4 local). These are Pan European covering the N. Atlantic Seaboard (4), the S Atlantic Seaboard (2), The Mediterranean (5) and the Baltic (1). There are partners from 2 new Member States.Main activities: 6 workshops, 6 interregional-exchange visits & a final international event. There will be 6 management & 6 steering committee meetings (including the kick-off meeting) held back-to-back with workshops or visits to improve value for money. 6 tele-conferences. 12 final national events. Expected outputs: minutes of all the meetings and tele-conferences, 6 progress reports, 6 financial reports, press releases, a series of web-based podcasts, newsletters, a 9 language website, poster, flyer, Final Brochure, a series ofwebsite-based pod-casts for a more direct transfer of experience to interested parties.Dissemination pack. 1 guide for sustainability improvement, 1 guide for authorities, 1 report on exchange of experience and one report on sustainability criteria and their assessment (all four in national languages). The expected results are:-1. A well run project2. Informed local/regional authorities, relevant stakeholders and general public,3. A coherent, sustainable policy driven management tool4. Partners with increased sustainability through exchange of experience5. A set of criteria agreed and implementable at local and regional partner authority level7. Contribution to the implementation of the renewed EU Sustainable Development Strategy and related policies e.g. ICZM, Water Framework Directive (WFD), Maritime Policy and others at local/regional level. Achievements: With 12 participating partners from 12 member states, SUSTAIN project, launched at a kick-off meeting in February 2010 in Cyprus, has set out to provide, after 3 years, a policy tool that will entail a unique set of readily measurable & fully tested sustainability indicators that can be applied to all EU member states for the integrated management of coastal issues. These indicators are to enable development activities in coastal areas to be measured so that authorities using them can know whether they are moving towards or away from sustainable development. During the lifetime of the project, the 12 project partners from across the EU (7 of which are local/regional authorities) will also increase the sustainability of coastal developments in their own areas through interchange of experience and transfer of good practice from one partner location to another. To date the partnership has organised 13 interregional events (7 exchange visits and 6 workshops) in Cyprus, France, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, N. Ireland, Latvia, Portugal, Ireland and Slovenia; with a total attendance of 362. The exchange visits have entailed field trips, presentations & discussion sessions on a variety of sustainable issues of relevance to the partnership. 20 wide-ranging good practices have been identified by partners and six of these have been successfully transferred including: how communities find ways of working together across administrative boundaries (Sefton, UK), the use of wood-shavings instead of tarmac to form (cycle) paths (Kouklia, CY), the development of a consortium to manage urban regeneration (Teramo, IT), information dissemination as a means to quell anxiety about jellyfish blooms and awareness raising concerning marine litter (both Warnemunde, DE), and anti-littering signs have been erected along the water front in Newcastle, Co.Down. Furthermore, two policies with respect to sustainability have been improved: Teramo (setting up an inter-governmental consortium to address urban regeneration) and Co Down (their Litter Education Policy). A group of indicators representing sustainability have been selected during the workshops. These include – innovatively – both core and optional indicators. A new way of approaching governance indicators has also been agreed. A scoring methodology - DeCyDe-for-Sustainability has been devised which will allow a Sustain Index to be affixed to these indicators.Thirteen self-assessments were conducted by the partners. So far 5 well-attended management & 5 steering group meetings have been held, whereby the latter body reviews partner spending & deadlines, endorses the work-plan as outlined by component leads & evaluates general progress of the project. In order to cut travel costs, SUSTAIN component leads have successfully held 5 teleconferences between partner meetings to review project progress. SUSTAIN partners have together presented the project at 44 other non-SUSTAINevents with a total of 3970 participants. Additionally, SUSTAIN has been so far intensely represented in the media with a total of 71 appearances on websites, radio interviews, TV & newspapers. The 24 partner SUSTAIN newsletters have also been further disseminated to 9516 known readers, although it has most probably reached more. A multi-lingual project website has been updated in order to facilitate communication & information in each partners language, encouraging interest from each partner region & country & supporting the involvement of other interested stakeholders across Europe. All contacts are available via an internal communications platform, making information flow amongst partners easy.
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