Another AI-NURECC event was successfully held in Mostar (Bosnia Herzegovina) as part of the AI-NURECC Skills Development action.

Last 16 and 17 July 2019, the Adriatic Ionian Euroregion organised a training event aimed at promoting access to EU programme and funds and addressed to local stakeholders such as actors responsible for implementing sustainable development strategies including local institutions, educational institutions, intermediate bodies, freelancers, small economic operators, associations and NGOs as well as young people, students and young professionals.

The two-days event was held at Mostar (Bosnia Herzegovina) and was attended by AIE’s member Nerevta-Herzegovina Canton, represented by its Prime Minister, Mr. Nevenko Herceg, as well as by the Mayor of Mostar, Mr. Ljubo Bešlić, who provided their institutional opening speeches. Then, the AI-NURECC Initiative was introduced by Mr Stavros Kalognomos, representative of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR), AI-NURECC Coordinator. The seminar in Mostar was an occasion to illustrate the initiative’s main objectives and the results achieved so far in terms of stimulating a greater role of local and regional actors in the implementation of the EUSAIR as well as their ownership of both the Strategy and its pillars. To this end, Mr Thanos Smanis, Blue Economy and Environmental expert, provided an overview of the WestMED Assistance Mechanism, a sub-region initiative that promotes access to EU funds with relevance to the pillars of the WestMED Roadmap.

Participants were then introduced with the opportunities, synergies and good practices for sustainable development and youth cooperation at regional and cross-regional level. This session was animated by the Minister of Agriculture, Water-Management and Forestry of HNC, Mr. Donko Jović, who explained the development strategies, priorities and currently running EU-funded projects under the 2014-2020 Interreg IPA Cross-border Cooperation Programme Croatia-Bosnia and Herzegovina-Montenegro. Following, representatives of youth organisations gave an overview of their initiatives: Ms. Berina Bukva from the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), Mr. Ismail Šehić from the Bosnian Representative Association for Valuable Opportunities (BRAVO) and Mr. Ismail Ćidić, from the Bosnian Advocacy Centre, who illustrated the work of the Western Balkans Alumni Association.

After this general and introductory session, a very practice-oriented and interactive training took place, focusing on models of participatory project-design and management such as the Community-Led Local Development (CLLD), which, among the currently available tools, fits the sustainable developmental needs of rural areas such as the Nerevta-Herzegovina region and most of the Western Balkan area.

The training was led by experts Ms Milena Rosa, Mr Andrea Jakova and Ms Caterina Palombo and focused on presentations of case studies and good practices among which projects implemented by AIE’s Albanian member, the Shkodra Region, as well as the Stewardship model applied to the sustainable development goals. The CCLD was also explored as a possible methodology to develop youth-related initiatives in the area. Young people were in fact hightlighted as engine of sustainable development.

Keeping in mind the macroregional perspective, all existing EU funding opportunities in which Bosnia Herzegovina is an eligible country were presented, including EU funds, Territorial Cooperation and direct management programmes as well as grant opportunities at both domestic and international level. Through some simulations on tender search engines and platforms (e.g., and SEDIA Portal), participants were guided to better understand how to build a successful CLLD strategy.

By the end of the seminar, participants had their own CLLD-based project proposals created, with particular attention to the cross-border perspective. It was in fact emphasised how, by targeting defined geographical areas in cross-border regions which are characterised by a set of common problems, the CLLD model can increase coordination and cooperation in the whole Western Balkan region.

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