Five-nation cooperation in the Carpathian region
In the south-eastern corner of Poland a cross-border cooperation centre has been established with Norwegian support to promote interaction between NGOs, businesses and municipalities from the Carpathian region, spanning Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine.
In the borderland of Europe's largest mountain chain the Carpathian Foundation is working to promote and stimulate cooperation across the five national borders in this region. Now, with close to €400,000 in grant support from Norway Grants, the cross-border regional foundation has been able to set up conference, seminar and exhibition facilities in the small Polish town of Sanok to stimulate local and regional development in one of Europe’s poorest regions.
"Our aim is to build good relationships between the people living as close neighbours in the Carpathian region, by creating a joint space where they can meet, voice their different opinions and solve key issues together," Zofia Kordela-Borczyk, executive director of the Carpathian Foundation, said.
Four months into the four-year project, the project is well on track with a newly renovated building to host the Carpathian House and preparations are underway for the first of a planned series of forums and exhibitions. "We will organise a big NGO conference this fall for participants from the five countries," said Kordela-Borczyk, adding that separate gatherings will be organised later for business and municipalities from the bordering areas.
The Carpathian Foundation, which is managing the Carpathian House project, celebrated its ten-year anniversary last year and was originally established by local and regional governments from the bordering areas of the five countries. For more than a decade the foundation has worked to support democracy and economic development in the cities and small towns of the Carpathian Mountains, and provided grants and assistance to NGOs and local governments.
The Carpathian House will enable the organisation to continue and extend its activities, and the people of the Carpathian have given the project the thumbs-up. "Despite the national boundaries and the wide diversity in the region, the Carpathian area faces a number of shared challenges and opportunities that are best solved by coming together to discuss, generate ideas and exchange best practice," Kordela-Borczyk said.
In addition to the planned forums, several study tours will be organised for NGOs, businesses and local governments from the five countries to give them a chance to visit their regional counterparts across the borders.
A third element within this multi-faceted project is a presentation of the five regions through a joint Carpathian exhibition hosted in the Sanok house. "We want to show everything which is valuable and important from the point of the local populations in the Carpathian area," Kordela-Borczyk said. The Carpathian Foundation will also develop a six-language website about the project. For more information visit http://www.carpathianfoundation.org.
Carpathian House – Stimulation of Transfrontier Co-operation of the Carpathian Regions
Regional policy and cross-border activities
Type & project assistance:
Type of institution:
EEA Grants and Norway Grants
Grant agreement date:
23 February 2007
The purpose of the Project is the stablishment and operation of the Carpathian House in Sanok as an events and conference centre; with the overall objective to stimulate cross-border co-operation – mostly among local and regional self-governments; civil society organisations and business and tourism promotion organisations in the underdeveloped regions of the Carpathian area (Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine). Reference is made to the application dated 6 January 2006, as well as additional information provided by the Focal Point on 15 May 2006.
The Grant will finance the adaptation and equipment of the Carpathian House building, preparation of a six-language website of the Carpathian House, as well as Carpathian Expo exhibition; and 6 conferences and 3 study visits to foster co-operation between representatives of local self-government, NGOs and businesses from the Carpathian regions of the participating countries.
The Project Promoter is the Carpathian Foundation-Poland. To facilitate the Project, the Project Promoter has concluded partnership agreements with co-operating Carpathian Foundations from Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. The partners will be responsible for co-ordinating activities in the framework of the Project within their respective countries.
The Project Promoter shall provide at least 10 per cent of the estimated eligible project costs.