Guardians of Environment Framework: An Integrated .. (GuardEn)
Guardians of Environment Framework: An Integrated Approach of Strategies for Prevention of Soil Pollution and Rehabilitation of Harmed Territories
Start date: Sep 30, 2012,
End date: Sep 29, 2014
The project focuses on developing and testing a coherent Framework aimed to support rational design and implementation of local strategies for environmental risks' prevention and management, specified for territories threatened by soil or water pollution. The GuardEn Framework will base upon- and will integrate relevant scientific approaches and methods, whilst stresses on: a) Planned and active involvement in the relevant processes of a category of `Prime Polluters`, i.e. of enterprises of the primary and the food sectors, through a concept of voluntarism and conscious "socially responsible| behavior and action. b) Systemic and systematic exploitation of the relevant potential of these Actors: They possess significant tangible and intangible assets, which would be valuable in designing and implementing local action plans for environmental protection. In this context, the project will act towards the following directions: a) Improving the environmental performance of the enterprises, and motivating and facilitating them to integrate social responsibility concepts and practices, through developing and practicing Model Systems and Standards applicable at the single business unit-level. b) Designing and introducing territorial level collaborative patterns (Clusters) coordinated by competent supportive structures at both the local and the transnational levels. The idea is the systemic valorization of the potential of local Actors of critical categories, including "conscious" socially responsible enterprises, for carrying out voluntary actions in favour of environmental protection. c) Capacity building of the local systems in designing and implementing effective strategies for Soil and Water Pollution prevention and Environmental Protection in general (formulation and practicing of a relevant methodological tool, organization of seminars, etc.). d) Providing for wide dissemination and mainstreaming, as well as for the sustainability and future use of its products and results, and for their expansion in other territories of the SEE area, as well in companies of other sectors of economic activity. 8 Countries and 11 Territories are involved in the project, thus covering a considerable part of the SEE area: Peloponnese, Attica and Central Macedonia (GR), Yugopazaden-Yuzhen Tsentralen (BG), Veneto and Basilicata (IT), West Slovenia (SI), Kozep-Mayarorszagi (HU), Bucharest-Ilfov (RO), Zadar (CRO) and Belgrade (SRB). GuardEn?s Target Groups and potential Stakeholders/Beneficiaries/Users cover a wide spectrum of Actors and individuals of all categories and levels related to its fields of interest. Indicatively: National/Regional/Local Government entities involved in Environmental Protection, Research and Education Institutes, Agencies supporting Sustainable Development and Sustainable Treatment of Natural Resources, Chambers, Employers' Associations, NGOs, Voluntary Organizations, Experts/Consultants of the fields of Environmental Protection, and most of all- enterprises (and agricultural cooperatives) of the target sectors, as well as the wide public. The GuardEn Partnership comprises of 15 Actors with exceptional combined know?how and experience, and of complementary fields of interest, regular activity, authority and expertise: Region of Peloponnese (LP), American Farm School of Thessaloniki, BIC of Attika, Federation of Industries of Northern Greece, Agricultural University of Plovdiv, Bulgarian Chamber, Szent István University-Institute of Environment and Landscape Management, Chamber of Potenza, Veneto Agricoltura-Regional Agency for Agriculture, Forestry and Agro-food Sectors, Regional Institute for Education and Co-operatives Studies of Veneto, National Research Regional Agency for Environmental Prevention and Protection of Veneto Region, Development Institute of Food Bio-resources, Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry of Slovenia, Zadar County Development Agency, University of Belgrade-Faculty of Agriculture. Achievements: GuardEn awareness raising workshopsIn December 2014 the the project team organised awareness raising workshops. In Hungary the workshops were separated for farmers and agricultural producers and for institutional stake-holders. At these meetings the environmental protection issues of agricultural production was discussed and the role of standards guiding appropriate agricultural practices were highlighted. Discussions were organised in small groups related to the role of authorities, fertilisation practices and main problems related to cross compliance requirements. Both workshops underlined the importance of voluntary instruments and expressed the need for a standardised consultancy and control in case of agricultural production.The Veneto Region partnership have organized the workshop with the title “Networking with the Cooperative system becoming Guardians of Environment” in October 2013, bringing its participants directly to the on of the best agricultural practices of the region, an agricultural demonstrative pilot farm Vallevecchia. Training workshop for trainersThe training workshop for trainers was organised in Tripoli, Greece in March 2014. During the training several important issues were raised introducing the training materials for sustainable soil and water management. Participating experts identified essential Training package elements, contents, methodologies to be used for the target groups of the GuardEn seminars and other suggestions in orderto ensure the quality of the training activities that should be organized in each partner territory. Additionally, recent development of the GuardEN Standard was presented and discussed.Training of trainees or GuardEn seminars In Hungary the training of trainees was organised in two sessions in April 2014. One for the potential GuardEN farmers and one for the auditors. Previously, farmers were consulted personally regarding the proposed requirements of the standard and their most relevant environmental performance and problems. The outcomes of these pre-audits were incorporated to the developing GaurdEN Standard. During the meetings the main water- and soil protect ion possibilities and practices were presented and discussed. In the light of the outcomes of this discussion the functioning and reliability of the prescriptions and capacity audit methodology were tested both viewpoints of producers and auditors. The results of the workshops were used to fine tune the requirements of the GuardEN Standard and Audit Methodology.
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