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12 December 2018

Homecoming

Aiming for the future, CEEweb is touring around Hungarian universities to present the INSiGHTS project and start discussions on slow, green and healthy tourism.

One project, two weeks, four universities, five presentations and 120 students in the field of sustainable tourism: looking to properly expand its impact into the future, the INSiGHTS project has been recently working towards helping prepare the next batches of tourism professionals to understand and be ready to work on integrated slow, green and healthy tourism strategies.

Thus, between 14 and 28 November2018, CEEweb for Biodiversity, INSiGHTS’ Project Partner, carried out a series of presentations in universities of Budapest and Gödöllő, Hungary, in order to introduce the project, its working pillars and their relation to the concepts of slow, green and healthy tourism, as well as the corresponding strategies currently being worked on the project. An emphasis was also put on the work carried upon for the production of the booklet “Collecting state-of-the-art good practices in slow, green andhealthy tourism in the Danube region and beyond,” which was shared with the participants, as well as with each of the libraries of every university visited.

The booklet allowed to start discussions with several students and professors on how to define good practices to look upon to, replicate and adapt to distinct contexts, as well as on what other local and international examples and practices they had seen or worked on during this early stage of their careers.

INSiGHTS University Tour

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In total, three presentations were done for Hungarian students, while the other two were done in English language for international students. The academic institutions visited thus far have been Szent István University (on the 14th and 19th at its Budapest and Gödöllő campuses, respectively), Edutus University (on 16 November), the Metropolitan University and Kodolanyi Janos University (both on 28 November).

Finally, the interest in the project’s theme and on its outcomes have already meant to be invited by all of the aforementioned universities to come back on 2019 and present the final results of INSiGHTS.

11 December 2018

Preparing for the final lap

INSiGHTS partners met in Komarno to discuss sustainable tourism marketing and integrated management schemes.

Partners from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia gathered at the 5th Steering Committee meeting and 7th thematic meeting. The meeting took place in Komárno, Slovakia on 22–23 November 2018 and was hosted by the lead partner Pons Danubii EGTC.

Partners met on Thursday morning at Restaurant Kortina, located in an old reconstructed fortification in Komárno and were welcomed by Zoltán Bara from Pons Danubii EGTC. The welcome speech was followed by a short presentation of the city of Komárno and the work of Pons Danubii EGTC in the city. The introductory words were followed by the discussion on project management issues and progress of work packages. Project partners were informed about the project performance so far and reminded about the important details regarding the reporting in the last period. Partners presented their actions and plans in the scope of Tour & Picnic events, Michael Meyer from CEEweb and Prof. Ulrike Pröbstl-Haider from BOKU University from Vienna presented the professional publications on the project results and Eva Vovk from the Development Centre of the Heart of Slovenia presented the draft version of the project video. After lunch, the meeting continued with a strategy building session and discussion on sustainable tourism marketing and promotion, smart tools and methods for coordinated sustainable supply linked to greenways and integrated management schemes.

Project partners

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The first day of the meeting was concluded with a guided tour of the city and visit of the fortress. The participants had the opportunity to see the well-preserved remains of the fortification structure, Komárno’s main historical monuments symbolizing both the pride and resilience of this historically important town. The fortification structure includes Old and New fortresses at the confluence of the rivers Danube and Váh and the bastions from the Palatine’s line to protect the city from the west. After the tour of the fortress, partners walked through the city to the Courtyard of Europe. The unique architectural work is stylistically designed to represent historical architecture typical for the European Union member states. In the middle of the Courtyard of Europe stands a functional copy of the original well which stood in the square until 1878. On the walk through the city, partners stopped in front of the monuments of Komárno’s famous citizens such as Franz Lehár, famous composer and Mór Jókai, the world-famous Hungarian romantic writer and novelist and learned about their importance for the city.

On Friday partners met again at Restaurant Kortina and discussed pilot action plans. First, an overview of pilot action plans implementation was made. Then partners presented their pilot activities and its progress. As part of pilot action plan presentations, the hosts organized a presentation of Virtual reality tour of the fortress that was visited the previous day. Partners had the opportunity to try the VR Tour and see how the fortress looked like while it was still in use. Partners officially concluded the meeting with a presentation of planned activities in the forthcoming months.

The final multilateral meeting will be held in Litija and Šmartno pri Litiji, Slovenia at the end of May 2019.

About the project

The 30-months long project (January 2017 – June 2019) was approved within the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).

The INSiGHTS project is about finding solutions for making regions more attractive to tourists by developing tourism strategies that keep in the focus the protection of natural and cultural resources. Regions in INSiGHTS all have outstanding natural and cultural resources, and at the same time they have a great potential related to the fast-growing recreational trend of slow, green and healthy tourism.

Partners are working in close cooperation with stakeholders in eight regions to gain relevant local feedback on the current situation of tourism and also ideas and proposals for new opportunities for slow, green and healthy tourism. There will be eight integrated sustainable tourism strategies developed by the partner regions and they will be adaptable all across the Danube Region.

For more information about the INSiGHTS project please visit www.interreg-danube.eu/insights


7 December 2018

European leaders must act on sustainable development

In advance of the planned European Council summit in December (14th & 15thSDG Watch Europe  has issued an open letter to EU Leaders highlighting the urgent need for them to focus on the Union’s future by adopting a strong political vision and showing global leadership on sustainable development. Civil society organisations see very real political risks linked to the current, almost exclusive, focus of EU leaders on the management of Brexit and associated political issues and ingoring other challenges linked to sustainable development.

Klara Hajdu from CEEweb, who is also a member of the Steering Group of SDG Watch Europe said: “The key findings of the recently published IPCC report on climate change again remind us that humanity has moved beyond planetary boundaries. Climate change, but also and the destruction of ecosystems pose serious risk to the survival of humanity. We now have a window of opportunity over the next decade to radically change how our economy and society works, or we will need to face ever more devastating consequences of not acting in time. We must restore the planet’s ability to provide us with a stable climate and other essential services like pollinating crops, protection from floods, producing nutritious food or controlling pests and diseases,.  This all underpins the implementation of the whole 2030 Agenda.

Please also see the press release and the letter to European leaders

 

26 November 2018

Time to vote!

Voting time!

Deadline to cast your votes for the “People’s choice” and “Public vote” categories: 3 December 2018.

Help us pick the winners of the “Go Wild! Stay cultured” Photo Contest!

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15 November 2018

Financing Green Infrastructure after 2020

The concept of Green Infrastructure (GI) is importantly also about prevention: conserving ecologically active areas to provide ecosystem services for the people. Our ability to conserve them very much depends on the various investments in rural and urban areas, and sustainability and biodiversity proofing can  provide useful tools to prevent harmful investments with the use of EU (or other type of) funds and to encourage investments in GI projects. 

Klára Hajdu from CEEweb provided this insight at the conference organised by the Ministry of Agriculture of Hungary within the framework of an EU funded project on GI, Natura 2000, landscape and ecosystem services. In her presentation (see in Hungarian) she pointed out to the various available sustainability and biodiversity proofing tools,  calling for the ministry and other stakeholders to integrate the GI  into the programming of the EU funds, and the Hungarian strategic plan under the Common Agricultural Policy for 2021-27.

Integrating GI in the objective setting of the Operational Programmes, requiring bidders to consider GI and nature based solutions in providing public services, including GI into the project selection criteria, integrating GI indicators into the programme and project monitoring, involving also biodiversity experts in the evaluation committees are just a few tools to avoid investments that are harmful to GI in the future cohesion spending.  

Photo: Archive of the Ministry of Agriculture, Hungary

 

 

10 November 2018

Water, water, everywhere!

The Natura 2000 Plitvice Lakes National Park is the place to hydrate eyes and soul, and to take outstanding pictures for our photo contest.

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8 November 2018

The EU Council should better integrate sustainability in the future EU budget

We call on the General Affairs Council to better integrate sustainability safeguards in the future EU budget. (more…)

7 November 2018

When art meets wilderness

Looking for inspiration for our “Go Wild! Stay Cultured” photo contest? Check out what the European Wilderness Society recently accomplished.

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6 November 2018

European election 2019

The next European election will take place between 23-26 May 2019. The results will decide the composition of the European Parliament for the term of 2019-2024 and will also determine, who will become the next President of the European Commission. Their political priorities and approaches will also influence how successfully environmental and biodiversity issues, as well as sustainable development can be represented on European level in the coming years. 

European NGOs have thus drafted a common manifesto for the EP election, which was signed by 173 organisations, including CEEweb.  The 12 demands reflecting on all dimensions of sustainable development have been presented and debated with various political groups in the EP. National organisations are also encouraged to disseminate the manifesto widely so that the various national candidates and voters can reflect on these topics in the upcoming campaign. 

 

6 November 2018

Soul-Stirringly Beautiful

The italian term sassi literally means ‘stones’ (Photo credit: Loris Silvio Zecchinato)

Become acquainted with and photograph the sassi within the Gravine di Matera Natura 2000 site.

 

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