”Fostering regional cooperation and balanced territorial development of Western Balkan countries in the process towards EU integration- Support to the Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group (SWG) in South-East Europe”
The SWG in May 2015 started the implementation of EU funded project: ”Fostering regional cooperation and balanced territorial development of Western Balkan countries in the process towards EU integration- Support to the Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group (SWG) in South-East Europe”.
The project aims at fostering regional cooperation among institutions and stakeholders in the agriculture and food sector, as well as to facilitation of the process of balanced territorial development of the Western Balkan countries in the progression towards EU integration.
The objective of the project is to strengthen the networking and cooperation among the public institutions and stakeholders, as well as with other relevant regional bodies in order to accelerate the EU accession process of the WB candidate and potential candidate countries in the field of agriculture and rural development.
The project will involve participation of policymakers in the dialogue process, together with major stakeholders including representatives of local self-governments, civil society, and representatives from business community, NGOs and other civil society groups as well as, academics, experts, and will stimulate a culture of dialogue and discussion on various important agriculture and rural development policy issues and issues on economic development of rural cross-border areas.
Implementation of the action through SWG will emphasize the importance of functional, accountable, transparent and inclusive cooperation between WB countries, where the regional ownership will be guaranteed.
During the project implementation the SWG will promote regional cooperation as a platform, with coordination of the regional structures in the four target cross-border areas (“Drina-Tara”, “Drina-Sava”, “Prespa” and “Sharra”), through facilitation of capacity building process, as well as dissemination of knowledge and information on key economic developmental issues and available funding.
Through the established structures – SWG Project Management Units in the regions, the project activities also will be directed to facilitation of cooperation among the stakeholders in the target cross-border areas of “Drina-Tara”, “Drina-Sava”, “Prespa” and “Sharra” (local administration, civil sector, business sector) through organization of meetings of the Stakeholder Groups.
The programmes for economic development of the cross-border regions using the ABD approach were developed within the EU funded projects: “Preparation for implementation of Area Based Development Approach (ABDA) in the Western Balkan countries” in close cooperation with stakeholders and have a multi-annual planning perspective for economic development of the Western Balkan rural cross-border areas.
The project activities will also focus on facilitation of the achievement process of the strategic development goals defined in the strategic frameworks and Programmes for economic development of the regions.
This will be done through dissemination of information about the available funding opportunities, as well as support to the stakeholders from the regions in networking, match-making and interactive and participatory facilitation of the process for preparation of project proposals for different Calls for projects especially those within the IPA instruments.
The project will continue to work on building and consolidating capacities and structures within the SWG and selected regions and continuation of fund-raising activities to provide funding for the implementation of the Strategic Development Framework and Economic Development Programmes developed in the selected region within previous projects.
In addition the SWG will initiate performance of baseline analysis and strategic planning and programming of economic development in at least two additional cross-border regions, by facilitation the networking process in the region through various dialogue and networking events.
The SWG in line with its mandate will facilitate and support the implementation of the South East Strategy 2020 and contribute to the achievement of the overall targets.
The SWG will also facilitate the trade of agriculture and food products within the provisions of CEFTA and will contribute to overcoming the border problems related to trade issues.
This project is funded by the European Union.
Project duration: June 2015 – May 2017