Participants in a roundtable organised within the project “Golija – A transition from planning to development,“ held on 26-27 October in Kraljevo, agreed that all interested parties in the project were striving to change the lives of local population for the better through strategic development of Golija nature park, which implies not only preservation of natural and cultural heritage, but also economic progress of the region as a whole.
The project, spearheaded by the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunication of the Republic of Serbia and funded chiefly by the European Union and the Government of Switzerland through the European PROGRES programme with EUR300,000, aims to create conditions for sustainable development of Golija Nature Park. Apart from drafting a general development management model, the project also entails preparation of missing planning documents on the construction of key infrastructure corridors necessary for further development in Golija.
“Current global trends teach us about the importance of areas with well-preserved environment. We should follow those trends and drive the development of Golija in that direction through appreciation and preservation of the environment and valorisation of cultural and historical landmarks,“ said Miroslav Knezevic State Secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications which has contributed to the project by allocating EUR50,000.
In cooperation with European PROGRES, the Ministry has organised roundtable discussions, bringing together representatives of ministries and local self-governments, institutions, private and civil sector and individuals to size up and define a management model to guide the development of both Golija Nature Park and Golija as a tourist attraction. The two-day roundtable in Kraljevo gathers some 60 participants for a discussion about vital elements of the development of Golija, including environmental protection, preservation of natural and cultural heritage, economic and tourist aspects, and development of infrastructure, with a view to hearing different voices and finding comprehensive solutions.
Pointing to uniqueness of Golija and its considerable potential to bring economic benefits to local self-governments and communities, Marko Vujacic National Manager of the European PROGRES programme said that the process of setting the course of development of Golija should be guided by good governance principles in order to ensure Golija’s status as a nature park is maintained. He also added that sustainable development should always be taken into account.
“Apart from environmental preservation and protection, sustainable development requires participation from all interested parties. We believe that everyone concerned with Golija should take part in the process of designing projects, policies and measures aimed at development of this national treasure,” Marko Vujacic said. He added that good European practice and experience in that area, adapted to local contexts, could also come into equation.
Apart from expertise in the area of infrastructure, UNOPS, which is in charge of implementation of the programme, has experience and capacity to maintain cooperation with all actors in the project even after the programme, which is now in its final implementation stage, has ended, said European PROGRES National Manager.
“I am happy to know that we have recognised the importance of Golija. We think of this project, in which the City of Kraljevo will act as an equal partner, as the beginning of good cooperation that will help Golija complete the transition from planning to development and make it a popular spot on the tourist attraction map of Serbia,“ said Marica Mijajlovic Deputy Mayor of Kraljevo.
The European Union and the Government of Switzerland support activities of the European PROGRESS programme, which contributes to sustainable development of the South and Southwest Serbia, with a total of EUR24.46 million. Approved projects will be aimed at strengthening local administrations; creating an environment that fosters development of infrastructure and economy; and improving the implementation of social inclusion and employment policy. The programme is implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Service (UNOPS).
The municipalities included in the programme: Novi Pazar, Ivanjica, Nova Varos, Priboj, Prijepolje, Raska, Sjenica and Tutin in Southwest Serbia, as well as Prokuplje, Blace, Zitoradja, Kursumlija, Leskovac, Bojnik, Vlasotince, Lebane, Medvedja, Crna Trava, Vranje, Bosilegrad, Bujanovac, Vladicin Han, Presevo, Surdulica, Trgoviste, Brus, Aleksinac, Gadzin Han, Doljevac, Merosina, Svrljig, Babusnica, Bela Palanka and Knjazevac in Southeast Serbia.