Livonian Green Coastal Region - 21
Start date: Sep 3, 2001,
End date: Sep 3, 2004
The âGreen Coastal Regionâ21â project area covers a stretch of 800 kmÂ² along the coast of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga, in the North-Western part of Latvia. Several municipalities and other local stakeholders, with the support of the Institute for Environmental Studies and Management of the University of Latvia, decided to launch this LIFE project as a way of confronting the development obstacles in the region, namely:
- underdeveloped and irregular public participation, with public interests expressed only at a very local level;
- environmental and socio-economic development investments were locally planned and lacked co-ordination between municipalities and other stakeholders;
- regional and sustainable planning factors were neglected in environmental projects.
The project focused on promoting the idea of sustainability throughout the region, minimising the impact of different activities on the coastal zone environment, increasing co-operation between the local stakeholders, and supporting the development of the ethnic minority of Livonians, or âlivsâ (an ancient indigenous people of Latvia, who speak a western Finno-Ugric language). The project also envisaged establishing a Regional Agenda 21 Centre.
The long-term project objective was to create a sustainable development system for the North-West coastal zone of Latvia and develop co-operation with similar institutions in the Baltic Sea region.
The short-term objective was to establish the basis for the implementation of Agenda 21 in the North-West coastal zone of Latvia.
Foreseen actions included:
â¢ Preparation and implementation of a number of demonstration projects in the region;
â¢ Establishment of the Agenda 21 Centre;
â¢ Case study visit to EU Green Region, Storstrom County, Denmark
â¢ Foundation of a regional Council for Sustainable Development
â¢ Launching of a Round Table Forum
â¢ A public survey
â¢ An international conference
â¢ Project newspapers and booklets, demonstrating sustainable development possibilities
â¢ A project website
â¢ Press conferences
The project has successfully achieved its short-term objective by establishing the basis for the planning and implementation of sustainable development activities in the North Kurzeme region. The Regional Agenda 21 Centre was operational and continuing its operations after the end of the project.
While there were some problems at the outset (management difficulties, delays, low interest of the stakeholders and target groups), most of them were overcome as the project evolved. The Round Table Forum was successfully launched and raised the interest of the stakeholders. The implementation of ten demonstration projects improved trust among the partners, and advice and assistance from the Ministry of Environment helped to improve project management and reporting.
The 10 demonstration projects were as follows:
â¢ Sustainable Development Centre of the Green Coastal Region in Vidale.
â¢ Livonian Cultural Historical Centre at Mazirbe.
â¢ Demonstration of eco-tourism practice at Vaide.
â¢ Dundaga Green Castle â repair works (exhibition and meeting facilities).
â¢ Kubalu School - the oldest school in Latvia. Conversion of the former school into a community-run museum.
â¢ White Dune of Purciems - facilities for visitors (watch tower, footpaths and car park).
â¢ Tourist service centre at the Cape of Kolka.
â¢ Kolka - the Old Livonian Village. Equipment and the renovation of several exhibits at the Livonian Culture Information Centre.
â¢ Regional Conference and Education Centre in Rude. Equipment for conference facilities.
â¢ Information signs were installed in Kosrags.
There were no significant environmental policy and legislation implications, as the project had a regional character. However, it was expected that there would be noticeable socio-economic impacts in the area, as the project has boosted cooperation among three local municipalities and the Round Table Forum has facilitated the dialogue between stakeholders in the region. The Regional Agenda 21 Centre was continuing its activities with the preparation of new projects, which will attract additional funding to the area. These projects will also ensure sustainability of the projectâs results and continuation of the development, which was initiated by the LIFE funding. Finally, a number of activities and more than half the demonstration projects listed above were directly related to the improvement of tourism infrastructure in the area and to promoting sustainable tourism. They will thus generate additional income for the local communities.
Finally, the project produced a number of dissemination tools to spread the word about its activities, some examples are as follows:
â¢ The bulletin "Green Coastal Region"
â¢ The webpage of the Regional Agenda - 21 centre (http://www.zalaisnovads21.lv â www.greenregion21.lv (no longer appears to be operational)
â¢ A manual of eco-tourism "Let Us Travel Green!"
â¢ 7 booklets
â¢ 60 articles written for the newspapers
â¢ More that 10 seminars and working group meetings organised
â¢ 2 CDs on the project.
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