DIRECT project is financed by the CEI – Central European Initiative and the Austrian Development Cooperation.
The project is being carried out jointly by BLUEWATERS Environmental Consultants, AZRA (Development Agency of the Varazdin County) and the Varazdin County, Croatia.
The main objective of the project is to develop the institutional framework for the sustainable advancement of rural communities in Varazdin County through the transfer of know-how from Austrian and the elaboration of the strategic plan for the rural development. Achieving this outcome will ensure sustainable development and the improvement of living standards in rural communities in the Varazdin County region.
The main activities in the project comprise:
- Structural analysis on the existing situation in the rural communities in Varazdin County
- Definition of key development problems in rural communities in Varazdin County
- Definition of key development goals and vision of the rural development in Varazdin County
- Creation of the rural development strategy of the Varazdin County
This project will serve as a reference point for stakeholders in the Western Balkans on how to create development strategies in line with EU Acquis based on the transfer of know-how from EU member states.
The EU rural development policy for 2007 to 2013 is focused on three themes, so called "thematic axes". These are:
- improving the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector;
- improving the environment and the countryside;
- improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging diversification of the rural economy.
To help ensure a balanced approach to policy, Member States and regions are obliged to spread their rural development funding between all three of these thematic axes.
BLUEWATERS is the project leader and the know-how donor, responsible for coordination and implementation of project activities and the quality assurance within the project.
Sustainable development stands for meeting the needs of present generations without jeopardizing the ability of futures generations to meet their own needs – in other words, a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come. It offers a vision of progress that integrates immediate and longer-term objectives and regards social, economic and environmental issues as inseparable and interdependent components of human progress.
Governments all over the world have focused upon sustainable rural development in an organised way, whereas strategic documents build a basis for successful definition of rural development policies and measures.