South East Europe National Pilot Projects (Local Development)
The Local Development Pilot Project aims to draw up a joint plan for the long term development of the Rupea-Cohalm micro-region, within an extended partnership and through a multi-sectoral and sustainable approach.
The pilot project is creating alternative development models for the predominantly rural territory. It facilitates participation mechanisms within a relevant institutional framework, enabling local development processes. The specific objectives are the following:
To conceive a local development project for the micro-region that sustainably values the local heritage, both cultural and natural, as the key element for social and economic development;
To implement Pilot Actions which would involve the local community in the long term development project, making the project relevant and visible to the community;
To support the local, regional and national institutions by optimising the consultation and partnership mechanisms, in order to achieve better local development policies and strategies;
To improve local management capacities, by valuing the principles of continuing education, experience and good practice exchanges;
To adopt a Regional Development Strategy, defining broad guidelines for the sustainable development of the territory, and an operational programme which helps to achieve this.
Relevance of the project to the objectives and priorities of the country
In the heart of Transylvania, the micro-region of Rupea-Cohalm is home to a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population. Their peaceful cohabitation is testified by a rich cultural heritage, providing a specific identity to the region, as for instance by the fortified evangelic churches in typical rural Saxon villages. The agricultural character is inscribed in hilly landscapes of meadows and forests. Specific fauna and flora habitats have become natural reserves.
The departure of the Saxon population has led to the disruption of former social networks and the loss of crafts and traditions. The young skilled population is leaving, and only the elderly remain. Abandoned Saxon houses are being occupied by a new population of Romanians and Roma. Unaware of the value of this heritage, some owners do not maintain the built environment.
The presence and the current condition of this rich cultural and natural heritage demands an integrated approach to sustainable development. The creation of a local brand provides an identity and vision so that the potential for attracting resources can be increased and further partnerships developed.
The LDPP increases the possibilities of creating synergies between Romanian institutions and authorities from all levels: local, regional and national. In addition, it promotes a modern, participative method of conceiving programmatic documents for territories which are primarily rural, possessing, however, a strong cultural identity, natural richness, and thus potential for economic and social development in a sustainable framework.
Identification of perceived needs and constraints in the pilot region
The Territorial Charter represents the identification of perceived needs and constraints in the micro-region pilot. The purpose is to have a point of reference for decisions-takers, determining development objectives and the actions to be implemented in the future. The preliminary results of this diagnosis indicate the need for specialised human resources, working in partnership and able to attract funds, as well as for resources to revitalize and develop the territory. Furthermore, there is a need to consider natural and built heritage as an asset, to define a sustainable agriculture and the preserve traditional crafts.
The implementation of the Local Development Pilot Project should contribute to a greater recognition of the potential offered through the cultural and natural heritage in achieving a sustainable development of this micro-region. This approach is in line with the measures and policies targeted by the Council of Europe.
Partners and final beneficiaries
The Ministries concerned with the social and economic sustainable development in Romania (the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage; the Ministry of Environment and Forests; the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism; the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection; the Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Business Environment) as well as other Ministries (the Ministry of Public Finance; the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport; the Ministry of Administration and Interior);
The municipalities of Buneşti, Caţa, Hoghiz, Homorod, Jibert, Racoş, Rupea, Ticuşu and Ungra;
Other organisations and institutions such as the National Commission for Prognosis, the Rupea Protopopiate of the Orthodox Church, the Rupea Parish of the Evangelical Church C.A. Braşov, the Mihai Eminescu Trust, the Braşov County Council, the Regional Development Agency Centre and the Braşov Agency for Sustainable Development (BASD/ADDJB).
State of Progress
The preliminary phase was finalised through the approval and signature of the Political Statement, guaranteeing political support to the LDPP;
The management structures have been set up and are operational; the Inter-ministerial Commission, the Steering Committee and the Project Implementation Unit;
The Project Implementation Unit is hosted within the Braşov Agency for Sustainable Development;
The local population has been mobilised by participating in thematic working groups who produced significant material for the elaboration of the Territorial Diagnosis;
Several Pilot Actions have been implemented in the pilot territory, such as the design of a logo, providing the project with a special identity and image;
The LDPP has been promoted in the Working Group on Sustainable Development of the Romanian Government
The support guaranteed by the General Secretary of the Romanian Government helps to consolidate the Inter-ministerial Commission through the signature of a revised Memorandum of Understanding;
The partnership between the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage with the Braşov Agency for Sustainable Development has to be renewed;
The material produced by the thematic working groups is used for the finalisation of the territorial diagnosis, reflecting the current, common understanding of the territory by all stakeholders;
The opening of a local office for the Project Implementation Unit by the Braşov
Agency for Sustainable Development helps to organise Pilot Actions, to implement
the Project Communication Strategy for better mobilisation and involvement of
the local population;
As the territorial diagnosis phase is finalised, the strategy phase can be launched, and new thematic working groups organised.