For the third time, the Programme representatives have actively participated in one of the largest and most important conference in Central and Eastern Europe - the Economic Forum in Krynica. In this year's event, which took place under the slogan “The Europe of Tomorrow. ‘Strong’ Meaning What?’” took part over 4 thousand participants from 60 countries. For us, it was an opportunity to present the Programme at a stand in the “Mineral Water Pump Room” organized jointly by the Centre for European Projects.
The main topics discussed during the Forum were related to the PBU projects regarding health and environmental protection. On the second day of the Forum, the head of the JTS Andrzej Słodki, with a presentation about the Programme, started the thematic block “How to Protect the Environment – Eco–investments in the Regions". The ceremony of signing the grant contract of another micro-project closely related to environmental issues - "Carpathian bee – joint actions for the preservation of unique natural heritage in Ukrainian-Polish borderland" - complemented this part of the event. (More about the project and signing the contract: here).
The panel organized by the Center of European Projects "Environmental Protection in Cross-Border Areas", moderated by Andrzej Słodki, was attended by, among others Viktor Plejtukh, Deputy Chairman of the Shatsk District Administration, representative of the Lead Beneficiary in the Large Infrastructure Project "Improvement of the environment within the Shatsk National Natural Park by building sewer systems in rural settlements around Lake Svityaz". He emphasized the great importance of the project for environmental protection in this area. - "Thanks to the project, the waters of Svityaz Lake will be so clean that will be drinkable ..." – spoke with enthusiasm about the expected results of the project. The discussion ended with outlining goals for the future. There was talk about the need to finance renewable energy sources and the construction of infrastructure allowing for equal opportunities for environmental protection on both sides of the border.
Representatives of the Programme also took part in numerous discussions about cooperation with Ukraine, which, for the first time in the history of the Forum, were conducted under the roof of a specially created so-called Ukrainian House. During the panel "The role of regions in the building of mutual relations ", CEP Director Leszek Buller stressed that - "Cross-border Cooperation Programme Poland-Belarus-Ukraine supports development initiatives of both infrastructural and interpersonal cooperation, whose role we particularly appreciate from the perspective of over 15 years of the Programme’s existence. That is why we regularly carry out, for example, educational competitions for children and youth from three countries whose friendly relations today will result in good cooperation between neighbouring regions or countries tomorrow. An example of how the Programme is focused on interpersonal cooperation is also the one-week study visit of local government officials from Ukraine to Poland, carried out from September 2-6, during which, we are pleased to share the Polish experience of regional development with the help of EU funds." The development of cross-border cooperation was also the subject of the panel „Common Borders. Joint Decisions” with the participation of Andrzej Słodki and directors of the Departments of International Cooperation from the State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus and the Director of the Ukrainian Institute for the Future. he necessity of developing a common strategy of action and searching for solutions that would be beneficial for all parties was stressed.
Three days of the Forum, both at our stand and during numerous discussions, allowed us to present the Programme, talk about its results so far and present plans for further cooperation.