South East Europe National Pilot Projects (Local Development)
The Skadar Lake Local Development Pilot Project aims to help local and national institutions, NGOs and local communities to identify the long term social and economic development potential of the territory, based on natural and cultural heritage.
Bearing in mind the LDPP long term perspective and its purpose to improve the practice of regional planning, the project defines several specific objectives:
To implement the Local Development Pilot Project on the Skadar Lake by exploring new methods and practices for the social and economic development of the region;
To initiate and support the creation of operational and co-ordination structures at national and local level, involving all stakeholders in the activities and enabling sustainable development, based on the cultural and natural heritage;
To prevent further destruction of cultural heritage and to adopt policies for the preservation of natural reserves and the flora and fauna, and for the development of cultural tourism whilst respecting the environment and cultural heritage;
To emphasise the significance of the Skadar Lake National Park and its surroundings;
To promote multidisciplinary cooperation between the governmental, non-governmental and local self-government sector regarding the analysis of the long term potential of the pilot territory with the purpose of improving social and economic development;
To promote the religious and ethnic diversity of the territory as an asset, and necessary for dialogue;
To provide the necessary human resources for the implementation and follow-up of the Local Development Pilot Project;
To guarantee the medium and long term implementation of the Regional Development Strategy Plan for Skadar Lake defined in the forthcoming Territory Charter.
Relevance of the project to the objectives and priorities of Montenegroro
Skadarsko Jezero, also called Skadar Lake or Lake Scutari, is an inland sea on the border with Albania and is the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula. It is surrounded by diverse cultural landscapes with rich cultural and natural heritage as well as a multi-ethnical population of different religions. The surrounding area of the Skadar Lake is marked by human interventions which have positively transformed the landscape. However, traditional activities such as agriculture, wine production and fishing are at risk of disappearing. Due to the lack of economic possibilities and absent social structures, young, skilled people emigrate, leaving behind an ageing population and deserted villages resulting in a gradual loss of this intangible heritage. As settlements face the phenomenon of depopulation, buildings are abandoned and fall into disrepair. Interventions on the environment are not coordinated. The lack of a spatial planning tool impedes integrated management of the region and the development of sustainable activities.
The Local Development Pilot Project offers Montenegrin national institutions and local authorities the possibility to improve their practices in the development of rural areas with a strong cultural identity and economic potential, with a view to adapting their policies accordingly.
Identification of perceived needs and constraints in the pilot region
Regarding the current situation in the pilot territory, priority is being given to the design of a Master Plan, to the development of tourism (including agro-tourism), to the development of local activities such as wine manufacturing and fishing, to the creation of a label for local products called Skadar Lake, to the assessment, rehabilitation and preservation of cultural and natural heritage, including vernacular ensembles, to a link between the region of the Skadar Lake with the urban centres of Podgorica, Cetinje and Bar; as well as to investment in the social infrastructure.
Partners and final beneficiaries
The Skadar Lake LDPP is being implemented through cooperation between many partners at national level (Ministry of Culture; Ministry for Sustainable Development and Tourism; Ministry of Human and Minority Rights; Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; and Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs) and local level (Municipalities of Podgorica, Cetinje and Bar). Other organisations and institutions are supporting the project and helping to implement it, such as NGOs, social institutions, tourism and cultural organisations, local businesses, the media and local communities.
The local communities are the main final beneficiaries. Governmental and local institutions also benefit from this experience, through the multiplier effect of the methodology to other regions in Montenegro and the improvement of institutional mechanisms.
State of progress
The preliminary phase of the project has been finalised by the approval and signing of the Political Statement and the Terms of Reference, giving political support to the Skadar
The management structures have been set up; the Inter-ministerial Commission, the Steering Committee and the Project Implementation Unit;
Political support for the implementation of the project has been guaranteed;
The population has been mobilised by taking part in thematic working groups and through the implementation of numerous Pilot Actions (the organisation of the first edition of the European Heritage Days in Montenegro ‘Skadar Lake fortresses – unexplored heritage’; the promotion of ecological sports such as windsurfing, hiking and biking from 2008 to 2011; the Preliminary Technical Assessments from 2008 to 2010 of four important cultural heritage sites, Lesendro, Besac, Grmozur I Balsic and the Summerhouse in Godinje village; the documentary on old local crafts ‘Protectors of the old crafts’ from 2009 and 2010; the publication about local communities ‘People and the lake’ from 2009; and finally through the annual Festival of Culture and Nature);
The Territorial Diagnosis is being finalised.
The management structures for the Regional Programme and the Local Development Pilot Project will be redefined and re-established – the Inter-ministerial Commission, the Steering Committee and the Project Implementation Unit;
As the political commitment of the various partners is guaranteed, the Memorandum of Understanding can be signed, a financial contribution by the partners assured in order to provide sustainability for the implementation of the project;
Legal questions regarding the partnership between the different Ministries and the status of the Project Implementation Unit can be clarified, a Project Manager can be appointed;
The Territorial Diagnosis of Skadar Lake has to be finalised so that the strategy phase can be launched;
The mobilisation of the local population through promotion and communication activities such as festivals is followed-up;
A Project Communication Strategy will be drawn up and implemented in the pilot territory;
A Skadar Lake LDPP web page will be designed.