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Ecovillages - 6th project partners’ meeting: achievements are on the way

For the 6th time, "Ecovillages for sustainable rural development" project partners have met in ZEGG ecovillage, Germany. Here not only process of project implementation was discussed, but also first public outputs were presented.

Ecovillage self-evaluation sustainability test

First of them is Ecovillage self-evaluation sustainability test. It is a tool for ecovillages, which will help them to:

1) Form a vision of their ecovillage;
2) Diagnose a real ecovillage situation;
3) Assess gap between vision and reality;
4) Identify what aspects of the ecovillage governance should be improved.

This can be done by filling-in evaluation questionnaire and analysing the results in a spider gap format. It is possible to choose from two version of the analysis: short analysis with 12 questions and detailed analysis with 36 questions. Short analysis covers all six dimensions in general, while detailed analysis is more in-depth and analysis ecovillage's concrete actions. More information and the test itself can be found here: www.balticecovillages.eu/ecovillage-self-evaluation-sustainability-test 

Ecovillage road virtual network

The second output is Ecovillage road virtual network. It aims to gather valuable knowledge created by the Ecovillage Movement and to make it accessible to a broader public. The activities of the network will be accessible on the Ecovillage Road website, where ecovillages and related projects can offer their knowledge, services and products for the general public and to each other. The website will include information and access to:

• Open events organized by ecovillages or other eco-projects;
• Seminars, courses, trainings and consultations on eco-related issues;
• Internship or volunteering programmes in ecovillages;
• Places where to buy organic food, eco-building materials, handicrafts, eco-cosmetics, etc.;
• Eco-tourism activities in ecovillages;
• Individual consultants in eco-related practices.

Ecovillages and consultants will be able to start their registrations already by the 29th of October. In the same time, website will be open for visitors. Ecovillage road managers note, that service or activity registration will be an on-going process, so the information in Ecovillage road website will be constantly updating. Link to Ecovillage road website: www.ecovillageroad.eu (will be opened on the 29th of October, 2012)

Ecovillage Movement SWOT analysis

Despite the outcomes, which can already serve for public purposes, project partners were also working on Ecovillage Movement SWOT analysis in their countries. It will be a background for political recommendations oriented towards strengthening the Ecovillage Movement in the Baltic Sea Region. Recommendations will be completed and presented to politicians and the general public in 2013 spring.

Inspiring examples

As usual, meeting participants visited few other ecovillages in the region, Feldheim and Lebensgut Lübnitz, also met with the regional centre's mayor B. Klembt to talk about community development issues here. Additionally, Mr. A Schiller visited the meeting and spoke about eco-engineering activities, as well as Dr. J Niklas presented his sustainable timber company "Ökotec GmbH". All of it was the inspiring examples of sustainable development practices in our region.

Next project meeting is planned to be held in Russia, in one of the ecovillages, in the beginning of March, 2013. For more information, please contact project team by email: info@balticecovillages.eu

Click here to see photos of the meeting

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Project acronym: Ecovillages

Project title: Ecovillages for sustainable rural development

Application call: 3

Priority: 4. Attractive & competitive cities and regions

Project website: www.balticecovillages.eu

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Lead Partner:

Lietuvos agrarines ekonomikos institutas
V. Kudirkos g. 18
LT-03105 Vilnius
Rasa Melnikiene
E-mail: laei@laei.lt; rameln@laei.lt
Phone: +37052614525
Fax: +37052614524

Project Manager:

Lietuvos agrarines ekonomikos institutas
V. Kudirkos g. 18
LT-03105 Vilnius
Zivile Gedminaite-Raudone
E-mail: zivile@laei.lt
Phone: +37052617978
Fax: +37052614524

Information Manager:

Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics
V. Kudirkos g. 18-2
LT-03105 Vilnius
Simona Griskute
E-mail: simona@laei.lt
Phone: +37052624156
Fax: +37052614524

Summary description of the project:

The Ecovillage Movement is an initiative looking for a more sustainable way of living in rural areas and promoting a lot of innovations which deals with climate change, environmental pollution, resource shortages and social problems people face nowadays. Project “Ecovillages for sustainable rural development” aims at fostering ecovillages development as a more sustainable way of living in rural areas of the BSR. Aim will be achieved by collecting and transferring innovative concepts and good practices of the Ecovillage Movement to the society. The knowledge transferred by project activities will help for inhabitants of BSR region to develop new nature-friendly ways of living together on the land in a genuinely more sustainable way. Sustainability in the project includes physical, environmental, economic, social and cultural aspects.

The overall objective of the project is to develop more sustainable ways of living in rural areas of the BSR by offering a toolkit for ecovillage initiators and developers of various technological and social eco-initiatives.

Project will create informal education system on eco-technologies and nature-friendly living models within BSR region based on Ecovillage Movement experiences and produce training materials with case studies of best practice examples from BSR.Recommendations for policy-makers resulting by project activities on new rural development measures will help to find innovative ways to increase sustainability of rural areas within BSR.

The partnership composition is based on integrated territorial development principles realized through the inclusion of partners from different BSR countries. Project has partners from Poland, Latvia, Sweden, Finland, Belarus. Lead partner is from Lithuania.Project also has associated partners from Germany,Belarus,Russia,Finland,Sweden.

Key messages of the project:

• Ecovillage movement suggests an alternative idea to the individualistic, materialistic and consumer-oriented lifestyle.

• Ecovillage principles aim at combining sociocultural environment with a low–impact way of living.

• Ecovillage is one of the innovative concepts, which deals with climate change, environmental pollution, resource shortages and social problems people face nowadays.

• Project aims at fostering ecovillages development as a more sustainable way of living in rural areas of the Baltic Sea Region.

• Ecovillages are important element of sustainable rural development in BSR and beyond.

• Project contributes to the EU’s Baltic Sea Strategy and its Action Plan by proposing environmentally sustainable ways of living.

Achievements of the project so far:

Over 45 ecovillages were interviewed in BSR countries, assessing demographical, social, economic and ecotechnological aspects of ecovillages. Based on the results, case studies have been prepared which serve as a background for two manuals - guide for eco-settling practices and nature-friendly technologies and guide on social aspects of ecovillage creation and development. Manuals have been released in 6 BSR languages and are available for free in a project website. The handbook for Ecovillage road aiming to inspire ecovillages to engage in green business as well as leaflet presenting Ecovillage road have also been released. Books are being distributed in PPs and APPs countries in order to spread the knowledge about sustainable ways of living and practical examples among society members.

Final transnational conference with external guests participation has been held.

Information on project implementation progress and project outputs are available in the multilingual project website.

Ecovillage sustainability self-evaluation test is available in project website in 6 languages. It is a tool to: a) form a vision of the ecovillage b) diagnose the real ecovillage situation c) assess the gap between vision and reality d) identify what aspects of the ecovillage governance should be improved. Short and long versions of the test measure ecovillage’s real and desirable situation on 6 dimensions by using 5 point scale.

The Ecovillage road website is ready to use. Ecovillages, eco-projects, consultants are constantly registering as services/activities/knowledge providers. Ecovillage road network continues working in different areas to promote, expand and develop the ecovillage movement in the BSR.

Guideline for establishing an internship programme in ecovillage has been created and is available for public in the Ecovillage road website.

3 newsletter issues were released presenting Ecovillage movement, illustrating project progress and highlighting outputs.

A proposal for a Regulation 2014 - 2020 supporting rural development was prepared and submitted to respective bodies. The proposal highlights the growing role of ecovillages in the development of rural regions in the EU as well as designates how ecovillages could contribute to the sustainable rural development by transferring knowledge to the rest of society. The online petition to support the proposal was organized and reached over 1000 signees.

Policy recommendations have been prepared identifying 6 issues (Energy, land use, planning & building regulation, Public funding & support, Alternative business & organizational models, Education, training, information dissemination & exchange, and more R&D focus on eco-living, alternative food production) and potential reforms to tackle these areas. They are addressed to national MEPs and EU institutions in order to improve the development of ecovillages and to utilize their full potential as sustainable development drivers of rural areas.

Project Duration: Sep 2010 - Dec 2013
Approximate total project budget in EUR: 1.291.800,00
ERDF co-financing: 1.054.000,00
ENPI co-financing: 0,00
Norwegian national contribution: 0,00

List of partners

Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics
LT-03105 Vilnius | LITHUANIA
V. Kudirkos g. 18
Region: Lietuva
Contact person: Rasa Melnikiene
Phone: +37052614525
E-mail: laei@laei.lt; rameln@laei.lt
Web: www.laei.lt
Approximate total partner budget in EUR:544.783,00
ERDF co-financing:463.065,00
ENPI co-financing:0,00
Norwegian national contribution:0,00
MTT Agrifood Research Finland
31600 Jokioinen | FINLAND
Humppilantie 14
Region: Etelä-Suomi
Contact person: Hilkka Vihinen
Phone: +358 9 5608 6313
E-mail: hilkka.vihinen@mtt.fi
Web: www.mtt.fi
Approximate total partner budget in EUR:225.250,00
ERDF co-financing:168.937,00
ENPI co-financing:0,00
Norwegian national contribution:0,00
Latvian State Institute of Agrarian Economics (LSIAE)
LV-1039 Riga | LATVIA
Struktoru street 14
Region: Latvija
Contact person: Daina Saktiņa
Phone: +37167583403
E-mail: daina@lvaei.lv
Web: www.lvaei.lv
Approximate total partner budget in EUR:169.664,00
ERDF co-financing:144.214,00
ENPI co-financing:0,00
Norwegian national contribution:0,00
The West Pomeranian Business School
71210 Szczecin | POLAND
Zolnierska 53 Street
Region: Zachodniopomorskie
Contact person: Jerzy Rozwadowski
Phone: +48 91 814 94 84
E-mail: Jrozwadowski@zpsb.szczecin.pl
Web: www.zpsb.szczecin.pl, www.business-edu.eu
Approximate total partner budget in EUR:137.100,00
ERDF co-financing:116.535,00
ENPI co-financing:0,00
Norwegian national contribution:0,00
Suderbyn cooperative society
621 99 Visby | SWEDEN
Västerhejde Toftavägen 211
Region: Småland med öarna
Contact person: Robert Hall
Phone: +46-498-211014
E-mail: suderbyn@ekobogotland.se
Web: www.ekobogotland.se/SuderbynEcovillage
Approximate total partner budget in EUR:215.000,00
ERDF co-financing:161.250,00
ENPI co-financing:0,00
Norwegian national contribution:0,00