• Rural Development CSOs get active to address Bosnia’s rocky road to accession
    Rural Development CSOs get active to address Bosnia’s rocky road to accession
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    Citizen led conference ups the stakes on the institutional deadlock in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Wednesday, Sarajevo, 26th June 2013.  Catalys, joined Green Council and over 65 representatives of BiH institutions; Parliament, donors, media, business and NGOs to call for a State level Ministry of Agriculture to help clear political roadblocks to investment in agriculture and rural development, as well as to help the path to EU accession.
    The conference reviewed the findings of a 5 month research project undertaken by the Green Council (http://green-council.org/); supported by the Centre for Civic Initiatives, Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG) and USAID). The researchers looked at the evidence to determine the case for a state level Agriculture Ministry, the legislative basis for the unsatisfactory status quo, and the relative merits of the alternatives currently under consideration.  The research also compared progress in BiH with that in Croatia over the past decade; during which time BiH has achieved as much progress in 12 years as did Croatia in their first 12 months of the accession process.
    The following piece covering the conference also appeared on the Alterural site:
    A greater place for CSO’s in rural development policies
    In Bosnia, after a long silence, CSO’s participation in public life gradually emancipates from political arenas as lately seen with the tragic case of baby Berina and large demonstrations in Sarajevo. It is a struggle to draw the conditions for greater involvement of civil society in public policy. In rural development issues as well, the citizens themselves are the most legitimate to identify their own needs, and contribute to the development of the most appropriate responses to the challenges of tomorrow. This begins with most basic individual rights and goes to much technical issues such as the integration to EU. The 28th of May in Ilidža was held a conference to enhance the ACoRD project „Alliance for Common Rural Development“ in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  This is a project funded by the European Union from pre-accession programmes to support the civil society development. It is implemented by the Agency for Cooperation, Education and Development (ACED) as a lead organization in partnership with REDAH, Nesto Vise, LAG Una-Sana and European partner ELARD. This forum is considered as a very positive preliminary step for CSOs to organize the debate on technical fields to improve advocacy. This was significantly the same conclusion focusing on the role of citizens during a conference organized by the “Green council” NGO under the auspices of USAID in Sarajevo on the last 26th of June.

    Given the lack of political will and lost available funds, the role of civil society will be decisive for the future. The objective of the event was to present the result of a research on the question: ”Why does BiH need a state Ministry of agriculture, food and rural development?”. For rural tourism stakeholders and Alterural, it is essential to participate to these forums and develop exchanges. Indeed, the sector particularly targets family agriculture and possible diversification strategies in the Bosnian Countryside. The support to a sustainable Rural tourism can indeed be an important and dynamic element of local rural economies. It also emphasies the role and involvement of active local NGOs in rural areas.

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  • Local Fishermen & Communities to drive Fisheries Development in Croatia
    Local Fishermen & Communities to drive Fisheries Development in Croatia
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    Catalys has completed its report into Fisheries in Croatia and the report has now been published by UNDP.

    The result of 6 months consultation, research and development with the local teams particularly at UNDP and Croatia’s Directorate of Fisheries, the report concluded that Community Led Local Development (the FLAGs – or Fisheries Local Action Groups, as they are currently known), has a considerable role to play in the future development of the fisheries sector and Croatia’s wonderful coastal zone.

    Ideas such as a national fishery skills training centres, direct fish product marketing, value adding on the islands and joint fishery/tourism initiatives were all expressed to the research team.

    It is clear that for Fisheries to continue to be a key part of Croatia’s culture and economy as the country enters the European Union, that all the tools available will be needed to address the very real structural issues in the sector and supporting structures.  The CLLD mechanisms are one of the most powerful of those tools, offering the ability for the sector to link directly productively with other sectors of the economy.

    The question now for the ministry is how to maintain momentum in this sector, whilst at the same time meeting the many new and growing responsibilities that come with being the EU’s newest member state.  Sretan put!!

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  • Local Development summer school – its about the local economy…stupid
    Local Development summer school – its about the local economy…stupid
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    Preparation for the summer school on the beautiful island of Hvar is gathering pace.
We can now confirm that Bob Hancké is joining the team to give us the benefit of his internationally renowned expertise in European economic affairs and discuss the implications for local development.

    Does the economic crisis make it more or less likely that local developments will receive funding and should its implications be factored into local project design?  These are questions that could make the difference between success and failure and we are sure will be the subject of heated debate.

    So join us… more information and booking details can be found at http://www.catalys.org.uk/summerschool.html

    Bob is Reader in European Political Economy at the European Institute of the London School of Economics. A long standing contributor to our summer schools, he is an internationally renowned expert on comparative economic performance, labour relations and Economic and Monetary Union. His website is:http://www2.lse.ac.uk/europeanInstitute/staff/academicStaff/hancke/home.aspx

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  • Catalys in North Cyprus
    Catalys in North Cyprus
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    @catalys visited Cyprus this week to meet representatives of the local and international community.  We looked at a number of project ideas, with High Commission, EU and local representatives.

    The first impression was that N Cyprus is very clearly at a crossroads, and although that sounds a cliche, what other word can you give a community with such clear dilemmas in terms of its existence and its identity.   Geographically and atmospherically it also at a crossroads, between west and east, between christian and muslim, but also between north and south, as Russian and gulf investment makes its way through the country and sub-saharan Africans appear in larger numbers.

    One thing that seems to come from all our discussions was that the 2004 Annan plan, although voted down by the Greek part of the island is likely to form the basis of any future unification with its principles of a bi-community, bi-zonal federal structure, which enshrines the all important property rights and individual equality of all citizens.  Any unification will need to be based on a reformed plan, but these principles will probably remain central.

    Clearly economic development patterns in NCyprus will need some considerable re-thinking.  Whilst tourism will continue to be important, developments that simply bus in large numbers of people into totally self contained resort hotel complexes, where all the customers, supplies and staff come from Turkey provide little local benefit, with the local environment and communities simply dealing with the impacts of this unsustainable model.  Unpicking these models will take time.

    There are interesting parallels with our work in the Balkans, particularly Bosnia, where tri-community solutions are necessary for all the key questions, in order to make progress.  In the case of Cyprus, the resolution seems a lot more possible, albeit that nothing appears to have changed over the 9 years since rejection of the Annan plan.

    Population census is also a disputed area, which can make evidence based policy development tricky.  The censuses that have been taken tell an interesting story about the relative balance between the influx of Anatolian Turk settlers and the relative and continuing decline in the Turkish Cypriot population.  Most commentators and the censuses that have been taken estimate a population of about 300,000, split 50/50 between indigenous Turkish Cypriots and the growing settler community of largely rural Anatolian Turks.

    There also appears to be a story of the departure of more educated young Turkish Cypriots and an inflow of less well educated rural people.  It is dangerous to base a view of the current situation on anecdote, but there were clearly a lot of rural Anatolian Turks living in NCyprus and another perspective we heard being aired was that more Turkish Cypriots live outside Cyprus than live on the island.  At one point, we observed a sad scene a family of Turkish being evicted from a house they were occupying illegally near the green line on our walk around Nicosia.  Whatever the politics or the demographics a tragedy for them, and particularly the children.  In the absence of a reliable census, it is impossible to be certain about these questions.

    Most of all though we were given the most wonderful welcome and hospitality wherever we went and it is in the generosity and hearts of people on both sides that the greatest hope for the future resides.   I also want to thank EPIC – The European Policy Information Centre for organising the visits and Andreas Staab for being great company.

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  • Rural Development Training in Bosnia
    Rural Development Training in Bosnia
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    European Policy Information Centre (EPIC) and Catalys consultants held a two-day training seminar in Sarajevo this week for representatives of all ministries responsible for rural development in Bosnia on “strategic planning and harmonisation of agricultural measures.” One of the last steps of this two-year project supported by the British Embassy.

    At the seminar, the participants updated their knowledge, in relation to IPA (Instruments for Pre-Accession) in a further step designed to prepare Bosnia for EU accession.

    One of the participants commented – “with your training, we learnt all about our future obligations for the first time and it has made a deep impression on us.  Still those things we learnt in our earliest training continue to have an effect”


    Britanski konzorcijum konsultanata European Policy information Centre (EPIC) i Catalys je danas u Sarajevu održao seminar za predstavnike svih ministarstva nadležnih za ruralni razvoj na temu “Strateško planiranje i harmonizacija poljoprivrednih mjera”. Ovo je jedna od posljednjih aktivnosti kojom se privodi kraju ovaj dvogodišnji projekat Britanske ambasade.

    Na današnjem seminaru učesnici su saželi sve dosadašnja znanja, te se upoznali sa novim IPA projektom kojim će se ova specijalistička obuka nastaviti. Ovim je napravljen još jedan korak na pripremi BiH za pristup EU.

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  • Dunsany Declaration endorsed by BiH Coops
    Dunsany Declaration endorsed by BiH Coops
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    Catalys were delighted to present the Dunsany Declaration today to the Bosnia & Herzegovina Cooperatives Annual Conference “Cooperatives for Peace and Reconciliation”.   The great news was that the conference endorsed the declaration and the discussion now is how to take the next steps.

    The Declaration has been made by International Cooperatives Association, FAO, ILO, International Committee for Agricultural Organisation, the Plunkett Foundation, amongst others and urges that Cooperatives be seen as an integral element in feeding the world, based on a decade of growth for rural cooperatives.

    The BiH cooperatives Associations took the clear step to endorse the Declaration and representatives from Macedonia and Montenegro also discussed how they could do the same.

    For those who haven’t had the chance to see the declaration before, please use the link above – the declaration gives a good balanced prescription for cooperatives growth and development; highlighting the enabling role of governments along with the need for Cooperatives to take a proactive role in the development process.
    #Dunsany #Plunkett #Catalys

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  • Young People in Local Development – we’re committed!
    Young People in Local Development – we’re committed!
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    Catalys is committed to promoting the role of young people in local development and so it is a great pleasure that Ian Baker was interviewed this week as the “Inspiring person of the week”.   Our commitment to promoting young people includes the proposal to use a proportion of our profits to promote enterprising young people, our support of the new Young Britain initiative and provision of training to young Bosnian graduates in project and strategy development.




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  • Catalys undertaking Impact Assessment for Outdoor Tourism INTERREG project
    Catalys undertaking Impact Assessment for Outdoor Tourism INTERREG project
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    Between now and the end of 2012 Catalys will be undertaking an Equality Impact Assessment for the Ireland/Wales INTERREG project.

    It’s is an exciting project for several reasons, not least the wonderful environment of N Wales and SE Ireland.  We are however particularly interested in bringing together the views of equalities and outdoor activities professionals.  The notion of examining the potential of Outdoor Tourism for its potential to promote inclusion is new and we look forward to some good debates.

    Our colleagues ate STI, Marilyn Larder and Karin Eckhard, have agreed to coordinate their work on sustainability assessment with the equality work, which raises some fascinating opportunities to bring social and environmental issues together.

    We will be consulting representatives of the outdoor sector along with equalities bodies.  If you feel you would like to add to this debate please contact info@catalys.org



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  • Cambrian Mountains – call for ideas
    Cambrian Mountains – call for ideas
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    I’m currently looking at the potential of historic farm buildings for adaptive and viable re-use as part of the Cambrian Mountains Initiative in Mid Wales. Supported by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, the aim is to identify a range of opportunities to bring some of these properties back into use, possibly as bunkhouses, remote hostels, food and craft outlets and other suitable commercial activities, without compromising their historical integrity. One of the first tasks is to develop a set of criteria against which this potential can be gauged, in terms of planning, access, infrastructure, spatial and financial considerations. Quite a challenge!

    Arwel Jones



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  • Catalys & Serbian energy & rural professionals @BXL
    Catalys & Serbian energy & rural professionals @BXL
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    Catalys will be in Brussels this week, mainly to accompany our Serbian Rural Development and Energy students on their study tour of the Brussels institutions.  We will also take the opportunity to meet representatives of DG Agri, drop in at Green Week and meet representatives of the Group de Bruges (the EU wide CAP reform Think Tank) to discuss the development of an online course for this interested in the practical relevance of CAP policy in accession and pre-accession environments.

    Anyone interested in this last topic – please let us know.


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