The Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group (SWG) in South-Eastern Europe Europe, within the project: “Strengthening regional capacities for rural development through integrated forest and water resources management in Southeast Europe (LEIWW)”, supported the organization of the International seminar “Preserving diversity of the Web of Life of the Balkans” which was organized by the NGO “Natura Balkanika” and was held in Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia on 20 March, 2017.
This international seminar represented the synergy of several active projects and activities of partner organizations – NGO “Natura Balkanika”, Faculty of Ecology and SWG. Through lectures and workshops, knowledge and practical experience in the active preservation of agro and biodiversity in the marginalized rural areas of the Balkans was presented. The focus was given on linking food and tourism value chains.
Concrete experiences were presented and the ideas from the relevant international ongoing projects: ESSEDRA – N. Balkanika and ABD regions – SWG were exchanged, as well as the practices of the Faculty of Applied Ecology “Futura” in the field of biologically high value production systems and sustainable tourism in the service of rural development
The second part of the seminar served for practical application of the modified method RRA (Rapid Rural Assessment) for exploration of several High Nature Value Farming systems in the Western Balkans with the participation of students, experts, farmers and entrepreneurs from the ABD regions. In the final discussion, the participants addressed the possibilities for cooperation in the joint effort to create and run branding of the ABD regions in the field of linked protection: biodiversity-indigenous products-tourism, as well as promotion of this brand in future actions which are under preparation in the new, but also in the already established regions.