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Ecovillages - 7th project partners meeting: the final year of project implementation has started

On 11-13th of March project partners gathered together for the 7th international project partners meeting which was held in ecovillage Kovcheg, Kaluga region, Maloyaroslavets district, Russia. The main objectives of the meeting were to discuss the ongoing project activities and to define the very concrete further steps on producing the final results as the 2013 is the third and the last year of project implementation.

In addition to progress administration issues, the most important matters of final results oriented activities were discussed. First of all, the last preparation stages of manuals covering the guidelines for eco-settling practices and nature-friendly technologies as well as community living organisational ways were considered, taking into account questions of finalizing the content, translations, printing and strategies of distribution. Secondly, the working session on policy recommendations was conducted, where initial recommendations elaborated in each project partners' country were presented. The project team will continue working on finalizing recommendations and submitting those to responsible bodies. Last but not least, the marketing and handbook of Ecovillage road was discussed, aiming at strengthening the Ecovillage road network and its benefits to members and general society.

Partners meeting took place in the ecovillage Kovcheg of Russian citizens' family estates, where each family owns one hectare of land to be kept in the family for generations and seek for self-sufficient and sustainable living. The project team had an opportunity to experience the daily life of ecovillage Kovcheg by living in family houses, sharing the meal together and observing the cultural life in Community House. Project team also participated in an enriching field trip to Milionki ecovillage developed as settlement of individual kin's domains. On the part of project side, the diversity and networks of European ecovillages were presented to Russian ecovillages residents.

Project has stepped into the final year of its implementation. Most of the project results will be ready to use by the end of 2013 and will be promoted at the final conference in Lithuania this autumn.

Link to thegallery of the meeting: http://balticecovillages.eu/gallery/7th-project-partners-meeting-russia.

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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