On 2-3 November 2016, the Special Initiative “Working towards sustainable development: Civil Society, Local Actors and EU Strategies” of the LADDER Project Environmental & Sustainable Development Path was successfully held in Bratislava. The Special Initiative was organised by Foster Europe in cooperation with the partners of the EUSDR Danube Participation Days, the Plenipotentiary for Civil Society Development in Slovakia, the Council of Danube Cities and Regions and the ARGE Donauländer. The event had a high participation with around 180-200 participants and a great visibility.

The 2-days event brought together experts and high level representatives of regional organisations, institutions and networks representing civil society, academia, cities and regions. During the first day the resilient sustainable development as an issue of participative multi-level governance in the Danube Region was taken into account.

The event was opened by a session regarding Sustainable Development in Politics and Society in which Gisela Erler (State Counsellor for Civil Society and Civic Participation, Baden Württemberg, Germany), Franz Fischler (President European Forum Alpbach, Austria) & Irene Lucius (WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme, Austria) discussed and shared their perspectives and expertise about the topic. After this first panel, 6 different workshops regarding several subjects, such as Open Government Partnership, Energy and Environment, Social Innovation, Impact of Consumer and Producer Behaviour, DEAR-Turning Local Ideas into Global Solutions, Infrastructure and Participation were developed.

The second day of the event was instead dedicated to the role and the potentiality of local actors in making sustainable development in the Danube Region possible, gathering together some other high level speakers such as Karl-Heinz Lambertz (First Vice-President, European Committee of the Regions, Belgium), Stefana Greavu (Regional Cooperation Council, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Ugo Poli (Central European Initiative, Italy), and Dragana Pejović (Institute “Jaroslav Černi”, Belgrade).

This Special Initiative represented a great opportunity to pursue the discussion on sustainable development and applied it to a concrete context which is the one of the Danube Strategy. In addition, it remarked the importance of LAs and CSOs’ cooperation. As highlighted by Corina Cretu (European Commission for Regional Policy) “Civil Society Organisations (including NGOs) are vital partners for decision-makers, as they are best placed to know people’s development needs. In both EU and non-EU countries, we need to strengthen the involvement of Civil Society Organisations in the drafting and implementation of development policies. […] The civil society is becoming more and more involved in the implementation of the different Priority Areas of the Danube Strategy. This is essential to bring our Strategy’s thematic focuses closer to citizens.”.

Useful Links:

Photo Gallery
Other pictures from the event
Website of the event
Report from the Workshop on DEAR – Turning Local Ideas into Global Solutions (the report of the other workshops can be found in the website aforementioned)
Agenda of the event