10 communities in the Transylvanian Highlands will develop better local governance for a sustainable development

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Communities in 10 localities in Brasov, Sibiu and Mureș counties will become a voice in local and regional decision-making and actively contribute to improving their quality of life through a new project developed through the Transylvanian Highlands platform.

The project “Transylvanian Highlands – Active partnership model for sustainable development (PACT 2020)” aims to transfer knowledge and experience of good governance systems to local communities through the creation of a network of mentors and community leaders who will respond in real time to locally identified needs.

Implemented by WWF Romania, Mioritics Association and Mihai Eminescu Trust Foundation, PACT2020 is a continuation of the strategic partnership created in 2013 to support the sustainable development of the protected area Podișul Hârtibaciului, recognized as an ecotourism destination under the name of Colinele Transilvaniei/ Transylvanian Hilghlands.

“We are 11 organisations forming the Transylvanian Hilghlands Partnership and we are working together for a green and inclusive Europe. This protected area, the second largest in the country after the Danube Delta, is a concrete example that shows us how decisions for the socio-economic development of these communities are connected to natural and cultural values”, says Carmen Pădurean, Protected Areas Project Manager, WWF Romania.

The project is taking place in Cincșor, Criț, Viscri (Brașov county), Alma-Vii, Agnita, Mălâncrav, Richiș (Sibiu county) and Archita, Saschiz, Daia (Mureș county) and will collect plans and thoughts from the locals to understand how they would like their community to look like and pass them on to those who make decisions for them at a political level, even to the representatives of the Transylvanian Highlands in the Romanian Parliament.

“Local and regional development strategies are usually approached in a top-down manner, with little consultation happening with the citizens. PACT2020 wants to respond to this challenge and enable citizens from the 44 municipalities of the area to actively participate in decision-making and changes that can influence the life of the community and the special landscape in which they live.”  Caroline Fernolend, President Mihai Eminescu Trust.

The main objectives of the project ending in 2023 include the formation of 10 community involvement groups that acquire increased capacity for action and carry out their own initiatives that can influence the authorities’ decisions regarding community development. Other goals are the identification and promotion of involvement models and experiences from the area to improve local governance in all 44 communes of the Transylvanian Highlands and towards other ecotourism destinations in the country.

“We will also analyse a number of public policies in areas of interest for sustainable development and propose amendments to meet the needs and visions of the communities in terms of socio-economic development and the preservation and enhancement of the natural and cultural capital of the Transylvanian Highlands.”

Project implemented by WWF Romania, Mioritics Association and Mihai Eminescu Trust with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014-2021. The aim of the project is to transfer knowledge and experience about good governance systems to local communities in the Transylvanian Highlands through the creation of a network of mentors and community leaders that will respond in real time to locally identified needs.

 

The Colinele Transilvaniei / Transylvanian Highlands destination includes 7 sites (of national interest and Natura 2000) and is the second largest protected area in the country after the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. The destination is bordered by Sibiu, Brasov, Făgăraș, Rupea, Sighișoara and Mediaș and runs around the Hartibaci, Târnavei Mari and Olt valleys. It covers 267,438 ha and has 90,000 inhabitants in 44 communes in 3 counties (Sibiu, Mures and Brasov).

The destination is associated with the mosaic medieval landscape, with high hills and hills, valleys accompanied by terraces and plains, multicultural villages, fortresses and fortified churches, some UNESCO monuments. The ancient oak forests are iconic, and the meadows and hay meadows have high natural value (HNV), favoured by the preservation of traditional methods of grazing and hay turning. The Transylvanian Highlands is an active destination, with a network of 500 km of hiking and biking trails that take visitors through more than 60 villages. Tourists can try visits to craft workshops, producers or local gastronomic spots.

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