Danube Spirit in Port Communities
As part of the cross-border area, the local communities of the three partner cities, Constanta and Calarasi in Romania and Ruse in Bulgaria have a total population of 535,000 inhabitants, of which the age group between 15-50 years old is considered as most interested in the project theme and activities and its long-term beneficiary.
The local communities of the project partners have been nominated as exponents of their national culture and elements capable to create additional communication ties by mutual acquaintance; they can act as effect multipliers and allow the necessary change of attitude, thus accelerating the overcoming of the still existing physical and socio-cultural barriers. Also, they are entities capable to promote new relations with the port authorities.
The selected target group is the most open to change, being interrested of all the opportunities provide by joining the EU to both countries, of the free circulation of people, goods and services.
The elements which form this target group are to rapidly overcome their complex stereotypes promoted by the border societies regarding their immediate neighbors.
The port authorities were selected because of their attributions with regards to port strategies, social responsibility programs and their local and cross-border partnerships; since the project aims to bring about a change in their attitude towards local community and facilitate the creation of information distribution networks with regards to cross-border development opportunities, we estimate that this shall increase their willingness for interdisciplinary cooperation.
The local authorities are another player of local development; they have attributions in economics, culture and education in the three partner cities.
The target group was selected for its role as a catalyst in future cross-border and especially interdisciplinary projects, but also for its future ability to improve relations with the port authorities for the benefit of local communities; therefore we estimate a solid involvement of the target group in programs, projects and actions aimed to remove barriers between the two communities.
Cross-border feature of the project
It proposes common development strategies. All three project partners have cooperated many years and implemented their first CBC project, financed by the PHARE CBC Program Romania-Bulgaria during 2008-2009. Within this framework, a special attention was paid to the identification of new projects to be further implemented and developed. Thus, the idea of thoroughly investigating the subject of the Danube and approaching the theme of ports and local communities, with the involvement of the old project partners, resulted in the new project Spirit of Danube - Port Communities.
Throughout the development of the common project the ideas and priorities of all partners were considered. Several reunions took place on various occasions, mostly cultural events organized in Constanta, Calarasi and Ruse or in their proximity.
In order to ensure project implementation and adequately coordinate all activities, several instruments and management and communication techniques were studied and approved. Thus, according to the project, part of the activities is under development through the common effort of all the partners and each partner is contributing to the final outcome (study, art expression, camp), while other activities with jointly designed content take place in every city in order to cause local impact and generate cross-border impulses. LP shall play a role of general coordination, in observance of the financing contract, including the schedule of proposed activities and resources.
Mixed joint personnel – the project implementation team consists of single positions: 1 joint project manager and one joint financial manager, local coordinators and team members with various tasks, local and community activities. The project implementation team consists of 10 persons with an average of 1/3 part time.
Jointly mixed financing - the project partners have developed a common project budget for all the activities and therefore there shall be a single joint reporting; it was decided that this is the best suited solution for a joint implementation. The budget was divided among all three partners, depending on the activities carried out, each providing its financial contribution. There shall be more than one bank account and the funds will be administered and distributed by LP.
Based on the project results, the more than 3,000 persons coming in contact with its activities shall have a different perception about the Danube as generating element of local and cross-border synergies, while the project message regarding the finding of solutions to reduce the gap between local communities / people on the one hand and ports on the other hand shall increase the awareness regarding their belonging to cities facing joint cross-border problems. One of them is the fact that the two parties should be in constant and dynamic communication, supporting each other in their development.
The messages of art works, their reasoning, thoroughly disseminated across the border and the study regarding the mutual port-community perception shall facilitate this awareness, as well as changes in the port-city mentalities. By this new vision over the cross-border characteristic of the port and communities, the wide perception on the Romanian and Bulgarian neighbors shall be improved, as well as the mutual trust and interests and openness towards joint actions and projects shall increase through the new, European and modern type of relations which we wish to initiate.
In local communities, the project shall change the perception of 0.5% of the local population – 535,000 inhabitants during its implementation and 1% of the population each year after the project conclusion due to its durability.
On institutional level, the project impact is reached both by direct activities and dissemination activities alongside the Romanian and Bulgarian border, towards port authorities and local authorities. Thus, the project is expected to be a cross-border survey which will show the joint conclusions for both sides of the border, regarding the outdated and non-productive relations between ports and cities, in order to have a higher impact on the management of institutions.
The participation of Romanian and Bulgarian teams, port authorities and local authorities in various actions, shall create the context for exchanges, mutual understanding and creation of networks, as well as the framework in which to benefit from the development opportunities of the cross-border project.
By the project conclusion, all 15 Danube ports, the port of Constanta and their authorities shall have a new vision or confirm the existence of interdependence relations on their territory; in a midterm and long-term perspective this relation shall be improved by the removal of psychological and physical barriers opposing the two worlds.
In order to consolidate this cross-border impact, all target groups and direct beneficiaries shall have access to several instruments and activities which continue after the project is completed: the communication guide of port-cities shall be implemented by cultural and artistic projects and non-intrusive actions, the website section shall stimulate virtual communication between ports and local communities and surveys and information materials shall generate new projects. Also, the project partners shall continue to support the target groups in changing their perceptions and in their working together.
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Romania-Bulgaria Cross Border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013 is co-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund.
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