An international forum, “Mission – Creation of a Bioregion in the territory of the Gauja National Park”, was organised on 25 October in Sigulda, Vidzeme region. The event gathered more than 200 participants. They were representatives from the state, municipalities, non-governmental, private organisations, and active representatives of the local community. The Forum had international speakers reviewing the most essential aspects of creating a successful, sustainable bioregion.
During the event, 212 forum participants, including 13 institutional partners, signed the memorandum of goodwill that defines the directions in which the development of the bioregion can be primarily strengthened. The promise will be reinforced with specific actions and activities binding on all parties that have signed the memorandum.
“The creation and operation of the bioregion will also strengthen the strategic development of the Vidzeme planning region, where the preservation and far-sighted management of natural ecosystems and resources are among the most important goals. Big goals can only be achieved together, and the bioregion initiative is proof that we are able and ready to cooperate so that Vidzeme becomes a model for sustainable development, a desirable place to live for sustainably-minded residents and an attractive place for green and inclusive investments,” says Inese Suija-Markova, who is the Deputy Chairperson of the Cēsis County Council, meanwhile also Deputy Chairperson of the Vidzeme Planning Region Development Council.
The participants learned about organic food production and market in Europe and the benefits of sustainable resource management – healthy food in educational institutions, the role of cooperatives in developing organic farms, slow tourism and a zero-waste approach to resource management.
The bioregion mission is based on the motivation and will of the local municipalities and organisations of the Vidzeme region to create a movement in which a wide range of interested parties would participate – representatives of the region’s municipalities and state administration institutions, organisations, research and educational institutions, community representatives, associations, individual residents – anyone who is aware, that the sustainable development of the Vidzeme region can be ensured by the parties cooperating and combining resources, knowledge and experience.
“We make transition! project helped gather important players and stakeholders in group discussions on bioregion development in March and April 2023. Discussions enabled an exchange of views on the bioregion concept: what values should be highlighted and what prerequisites are required to put such a concept into practice. Potential directions of development and responsibilities of participants were also discussed”, says Lienīte Priedāja-Klepere from Vidzeme Planning Region.
Those who participated in the discussions in spring, decided to organise the Forum, which proved to be a good starting point for the work towards the first bioregion in the Baltic States. The following steps include organising workshops for the stakeholders that signed the Memorandum to discuss factors influencing the mission and co-create concrete actions involving various stakeholders and efforts towards the joint mission.
Photos by Santa Sinka