Report on the Donauwandel- Forum in Novi Sad
2-4. July, 2013
Thanks to the invitation of Mr. Stefan Barth , CEO of the Agapedia Foundation I was glad to be able to participate at the Donauwandel- Forum in Novi Sad.
The Forum had been connected this time with the event „Cross- border cooperation and civil-society”. In the first part we had the opportunity of learning from the experience of the Four Motors of cross-border cooperations, just as those of Upper Rhine, Rhone-Alpes, Catalonia and Alpine-Space. All of the experts were talking about the main difficulties like cultural and language differences, complexity of the measurement of the value added, finding the right level of institutionalization and first of all having the sound knowledge of real needs of the regions in cooperation.
The main issues the cross- border cooperations were developing the transportation system to make the region more competitive and improving tolerance – even by little steps just like a regional newspaper in all the languages spoken in the region. Bilingualism is a great chance even at the labor market!
We learned that the success factor of cross-border- cooperations are depending on the ability of tackling the difficulties mentioned above, finding the right balance between economic development and preservation of the characteristics of the regions in cooperation, mastering urban spread which makes the situation of the border-regions more difficult, and the most important lesson learned is that priorities should been set up to avoid fragmentation so that the cooperation will be efficient.
In the afternoon we had the opportunity of learning more about the aims and work of different institutions taking part in the Danube- Strategy. First the regional cooperation perspectives from the perspectives from the host, Province Vojvodina were presented, then projects, best practices from the Danube Region. Mr. Florian Setzen, Director of the Europa Zentrum BaWü introduced the project “Gaining with training”, which is a demand-driven vocational training for administration colleguages from the Danube Region that aims to increase efficiency when writing proposals for different funding opportunities. Later we learned about the importance of cultural cooperation for the Danube Region Strategy and the work of the European house of Vukovar and about the Danube network of local and regional authorities as well.
At last but not least Mr. Stefan Barth from the Agapedia- Stiftung, who invited YCDN to take part at the event, was talking about the necessity and benefits of cooperation in the social sector and with the civil society, and his Danube Partners from the project Donauwandel were giving examples and best practices.
On the second day we learned about two project examples developed within the context of Gaining with training, the Supernatural project, which aim is to raise awareness of environmental protection among young people and Lampas Foundation, which aim is to prevent human trafficking.
Then we had the opportunity to discuss strategic and funding issues in two workshops and learn from each other.
In the afternoon we visited the Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization, a partner institute of the Donauwandel-Project, where we learned about the situation of the roma minority and how the initiative of the EHO is trying to help improving their living circumstances and integrating them to the labor market at the same time.
The second part was a social sightseeing in Kac, 12 km away from Novi Sad, organized by the Donauwandel- Group. First we visited the old mill (Pichler- Mühle) and learned about its history how the Family Pichler had tried to help its fellow inhabitants of all nationalities and religions and about the future plans of converting it a dynamic place for the youth with the help of the European Union.
Visiting the old mill in Kac, Serbia
At the reception in the evening we learned more about the project “Old Mill” by Ms. Anna Kirchner, Mr. Herbert Schön, Ms. Vera Dobanovcki, and a positive evaluation of the Donauwandel – project was given by Mr. Stefan Barth and Mr. Peter-Paul Daferner.
Reception in Kac, Serbia
As the last part of the event we visited the local cemetery in Kac, where all nationalities had been buried from the region and as a part of the German- Serbian reconciliation a memorial had been built and other improvements were in plan.
At this place I would like to thank again Mr. Stefan Barth in the name of the whole YCDN-Team for his generous invitation so that I had been able to meet these inspiring people and learn about their great work in and for the Danube Region.
Project manager “EU_TOPIA”