Facilitating development of rural cross-border areas in the Western Balkans, 5th May 2011, Belgrade, Serbia

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The European Commission (Joint Research Centre – Institute for Prospective Technological Studies & Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development), in close cooperation with the Standing Working Group on Regional Rural Development (SWG-RRD), took the initiative to organize Donors’ Conference on “Facilitating an area-based development approach in rural cross-border areas of the Western Balkans”.

The Conference will be hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management

of Serbia with an assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sector for Agriculture, Rural Development Department) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of Montenegro, with the advice of FAO, UNDP, World Bank, OECD…

The event is inspired by the positive feed-back from area-based development pilot project which was implemented in the Drina-Tara area in the past months. The project, supported by the EC and SWG was backed by 14 participating municipalities and the governments of the three countries involved: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. Active involvement of national actors from the respective countries has facilitated synergies between national and local perspectives for development. The local development strategy and action plan developed will be presented at the Conference by the stakeholders.

Since the initiators would like to see this pilot project as a start, rather than an end, the scope of the Conference will be broadened to highlight other potential target areas in the Western Balkans and to provide the participants with community-driven cooperation concepts for unlocking the development potential of rural cross-border areas in the Western Balkans.

Participants from the following countries will discuss at the Conference: EU, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Participation of the Ministers for Agriculture and Rural development from all Western Balkan Countries is expected.