Partners collaborating within the Central and Eastern European Greenways (CEG) have agreed on the following declaration on common goals for 2006 - 2007:
CEG is a model regional program under the umbrella of the Environmental Partnership for Sustainable Development (EPSD).
This international association of foundations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria is focusing on mobilizing and empowering the people of the region to improve their environment, their local communities and societies.
EPSD is leading a regional program creating a network of greenways in CEE and linking them with other European and Transatlantic initiatives.
With assistance of these foundations the CEG program is also expanding to South/Eastern European countries such as Serbia and Croatia, Belarus and Ukraine. The CEG program is also active in Austria through its NGO partner Future base Weinviertel, Niederösterreich Werbung and destination agency Weinviertel Tourismus GmbH. In Germany a new cooperation is starting with Landesstiftung Natur und Umwelt in Saxony.
Definition of Greenways in CEE
Greenways are multifunctional trails for non-motorized users typically leading along linear green corridors, historic trade routes, rivers and railways. They are managed by local people in order to encourage sustainable development and healthy lifestyle. Greenways provide a framework for community-based initiatives and projects related to nature conservation, cultural heritage preservation, sustainable tourism and mobility. Greenways seek to address needs of locals and visitors and to provide a positive contribution to the local economy.
Goals and principles of CEG
CEG program provides local communities with inspiration and assistance (financial and technical) in their efforts to preserve the uniqueness of the places they live as well as to achieve harmony between protection and exploitation of local resources.
The CEG program is an initiative to create an open network between civic, public sector, business, and governmental organizations that can provide complex and diverse support for efforts of local people to build and revitalize for public benefit trails and natural corridors called Greenways in the countries and regions of Central and Eastern Europe.
Main objectives of the CEG program:
- develop and support Greenway projects that integrate solutions to a number of problems connected with preserving cultural heritage, environmental improvement, fostering sustainable development and improving quality of life in urban and rural areas;
- create a network of cooperation between institutions that can provide organizational, technical and financial support to projects and initiatives that share the Greenways philosophy.
CEG Agenda for 2006/7:
Expand CEG network
EPSD through its national Greenways programs will focus on further expansion of the operating CEG network to other partner organizations from Central and Eastern Europe, especially from Serbia, Monte Negro, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Slovenia, Macedonia, Ukraine and Belarussia. EPSD will provide the necessary information on mutual European goals of Greenways, EPSD activities, European Greenways Association (EGWA) activities and partner organizations in the USA and Australia.
Strengthen co-operation with EGWA
Common goal of CEG partners is strengthening position of EGWA in Europe. We understand EGWA as a platform for European cooperation on Greenway topics and partner for the EU bodies. All CEG partners are therefore encouraged to join EGWA as individual members by 2007. At the same time our common policy towards EGWA will be creation of regional branch of this association for Central and Eastern Europe. This branch will be responsible for CEG agenda and will represent the common interest of CEG members.
- prepare EGWA membership applications and submission of applications
- prepare proposal for establishment of regional EGWA branch for CEE (in form of a licence for CEG)
- discuss organization and funding for an European/regional Greenway conference in 2007/2008
Mutual European Greenways Events
The activities of CEG members will concentrate on 3 major events:
1. Earth Day (April 22nd)
This event will be used as an opportunity to present contribution of Greenways for the ENVIRONMENT (landscape and environmental protection, „greening“ of municipalities and environmental education along CEG trails). We will organize tree planting events and establishment of parks along our Greenways with public participation
2.Week of Cycletourism (first week of June) and International Trail Day (first Saturday of June)
We will use these days to approach trail users and make them aware of their contribution towards HEALTHY LIFESTYLE (improvement of quality of life, promotion of sustainable forms of tourism). We will organize and support hikes, bicycle rides and other forms of trail promotion for sport and recreation.
3. European Mobility Week (September 16-22) and European Greenways Day
This event will be used as an opportunity to present contribution of Greenways for the SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY (safety and accessibility in cities). We will organize and support events for public highlighting right of pedestrians, bicyclists and other users of non-motorized transport for public space and adequate infrastructure currently provided for other forms of transport.
- prepare mutual declaration about these events and approach all influential partners on national level with a request for support (tourism and sport associations, ministries, national tourism organizations, regional governments and municipalities)
- discuss Week of Cycletourism with ECF (in form of Euro Velo Week) and WTO
Mutual CEG project
Bicyclists Welcome! and Clean Tourism
All CEG partners will actively seek the opportunity to implement or support certifications scheme for bicycle friendly establishments Bicyclists Welcome! in their country. Mutual base for such projects incl. graphic design (certification criteria and certification logo) will be based on the example of the Czech Republic where this certification is being implemented. (This project is being currently prepared in Slovakia and Poland).
- prepare English version of criteria and conditions of certification Bicyclists Welcome! as common base for individual national projects
- approach national authorities ready to recommend and support such project on national level in CEE countries
- develop a proposal for European-wide unification of criteria, conditions and graphic design towards countries where this certification has already been implemented. This proposal will be also sent to ECF and WTO.
CEG partners will also look for possibilities to implement another certificate adressed to tourist companies along greenways - CLEAN TOURISM developed in Poland. The goal is to improve competitiveness of tourism sector companies by helping them improve their environmental performance and engage in community action. CLEAN TOURISM certificate was developed as a response to the growing need of tourism companies to comply with and adapt to European and world-wide trends and standards in the tourism industry.
Abandoned railways and railway heritage protection
The CEG partners will actively map and analyze the situation of abandoned, unused railways as potential corridors for greenways in their country. The example of such national report will be circulated from the Czech Republic. After submission of national reports it will be decided by CEG about coordinated approach of decision makers and EU bodies on how to turn this infrastructure into functioning Greenways. The CEG partners will also initiate and support projects related to protection and interpretation of the railway heritage along greenways.
Using our own experience and experience gathered from partner organizations in Europe and USA, the CEG partners propose following Greenway criteria for successful development of projects in CEE. Fulfillment of these criteria is a condition for using the term Greenway. The listed criteria is attached.
More information on CEG: www.greenways.info
These proposals from CEG meeting are signed by:
CEG coordinator and manager, Environmental Partnership for Sustainable Development (EPSD)
Environmental Partnership for Sustainable Development (EPSD) coordinator
Czech Greenway co-ordinator, Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation
Polish Greenway co-ordinator, Polish Environmental Partnership Foundation
Slovak Greenway co-ordinator, Slovak Environmental Partnership Foundation
Hungarian Greenway co-ordinator, Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation
Romanian Greenway co-ordinator, Romanian Environmental Partnership Foundation
Bulgarian Greenway co-ordinator, Bulgarian Environmental Partnership Foundation
Greenways co-ordinator, Green network of Voivodina, Serbia
Future Base Weinviertel, Austria
“Carpathian Paths” Foundation, Ukraine
Rural and Ecotourism Association, Belarus