Sustainable communities for sustainable development

Date: 2013. 10. 09
The main target group of this project is local inhabitants living either inside or close to Protected Nature Areas regarding them as a key to both sustainable maintenance of our common natural and cultural heritage and raising awareness of broader society about the importance of these values. The aim of this project is to implement the first steps towards providing most suitable and effective life long learning possibilities to these people by carrying out a profound survey in three different nature areas in Nordic-Baltic region to identify education needs of local population and work out an action plan to meet them accordingly. Taking care of educational and other needs of local population is also one of the main principles of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas - sustainable planning document worked out by EUROPARC Federation and currently awarded to 107 European nature areas, including two areas involved in this project. This aspect will provide added value by making it possible to compare results and draw conclusions about changes in educational needs of local population in nature areas working with sustainable development for a long time (Syöte National Park (FIN), over 10 years), short time (Ķemeri National Park (LV), under one year) and not working with it yet (Grazute Regional Park(LT)). The project aims not only at meeting educational needs of separate communities but also at transferring the project experience as best practice to other nature territories via EUROPARC Federation and its Nordic-Baltic section network. The survey of educational needs of local populations in three different protected area territories in
Nordic-Baltic Region will provide profound basis for action plans to create most suitable and appropriate non-formal and informal learning possibilities for these target groups.
The survey ensures that the future offer of learning possibilities is demand-based, answering the needs of the local communities. The project activities aim at strengthening the possibilities for target groups to participate in stewardship of our common natural and cultural heritage and achieving sustainable development. The project will develop and disseminate an innovative community programme that will encourage and support other protected areas in Nordic-Baltic region to learn the needs of local communities and address them to benefit mutually. The overall aim of the project is to contribute to shared stewardship of the common natural, historical and cultural heritage by carrying out the first steps towards providing demand-based learning possibilities for local communities inside protected areas of Nordic – Baltic countries.
Providing possibilities for local communities to learn about nature management, tourism development possibilities and local culture contributes to the sustainable development of the region. Learning together promotes private initiative, entrepreneurship and stronger communities, as well as help strengthen adult competences and promote life long learning and cultural exchange. The set of activities carried out to meet the educational needs of the mentioned target group will be called "Community programme" and the Project aims at transferring it as a best practice example to other protected areas in Nordic-Baltic Region and beyond via EUROPARC Federation and its Nordic Baltic Section Network.
Laura Ivanauskienė