Project: „Capacity Building of Anyksciai Municipality in Sustainable
Development and Tourism Planning by transferring Norwegian Experience”

The project is:

Project partners:

Norway's experiences

A little about the concept of sustainable development

      The concept "sustainable development" was introduced by the United Nations commission for environment and development in 1987. The starting point for how the concept of "sustainable development" reached the global agenda was the basic observation that it is physical impossible that the growth in consumption of nature and resources can continue in an endless process. The earth has its limits, and sooner or later the way of producing and consuming has to be met with limits and has to change.
      During the Rio-conference on environment and development in 1989 the heads of governments recognized that the problems with both the environmental challenges and the global injustices could not be solved "from above". A broad democratic mobilization was needed, in which businesses, trades unions, local government, NGOs, women's organizations, youth and ethnic minorities must participate, and it was named the Local Agenda 21. The need for better knowledge about the global challenges and an increase in the exchange of experience with solutions were also emphasized.


      The Norwegian Ministry of the Environment has in the latest decades initiated different programs for environment and sustainable development in the Norwegian municipalities and local communities (in cooperation with the Norwegian National Association of Local and Regional Authorities):

      - In 1988 The program "Environmental protection in the municipalities". Grants from the state was used to strengthen the professional competences and to environmental protection jobs in the municipalities. The program tested different organisational placements
      - From 1997 - 2001 The National program supporting Local Agenda 21. The main focus was political mobilisation and building partnerships between the local governments, the civil society and the private sector.
      - From 2006 - 2010, the National program "Liveable communities." The focus in this program is to implement environmental issues and sustainable development in the leadership, in the planning and in the operation of the municipalities. Among 195 municipalities are taking part in the programme and work together in thematically networks.
      - For 5 years (2000-2004) the Ideas Bank were running the program "Frontrunner Communities in Local Agenda 21" (supported by the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment). The 18 Norwegian municipalities aimed to inspire others by reaching for ambitious goals: revitalising local democracy, reducing resource consumption and bridging the North-South gap. The Ideas Bank assisted the Frontrunners in sharing ideas and experiences, developing common goals and tools, and informing other communities in Norway and abroad about their work.


      We hereby present several Norwegian best practices:

Nature preservation, culture and tourism hand in hand in Lom

     In the end of the eighties the municipal council decided that they wanted to go their "own way" in the land use management and the preservation of the nature in the district. As a municipality that works with tourism they recognized the danger of ending up delivering too commercial "plastic tourism". They stated that Lom had and has far more significant values to build up on when it comes to reputation. It was decided to brand Lom as a centre for nature and culture as "two sides of the coin". Cooperation and involvement of the local private sector and the citizens have been an important part of the success.

The Mountain Museum (Photo: Kari Sveen/Lom Municipality)
The Mountain Museum (Photo: Kari Sveen/Lom Municipality)

     Building tradition is one of the important issues instead of prefabricated houses; proud of the local tradition the local authorities developed certain demands and building restrictions for new buildings and maintenance of old, based on the local traditions and the local heritage. This was done in cooperation with the local private sector.
     The district covers 1945 square kilometres. Around 90 % is high mountain area over 900 meters over the sea, 1 % is cultivated land and 4 % is forestry. More than the half of Jotunheimen National Park is a part of Lom. Farming and forestry is the biggest single trades. Bed and breakfast on farms combined with outdoor activities is one of the growing businesses.
     In 2008 - as a result of their efforts - Lom was given the status as one of the five first National Park Villages in Norway by the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment as a part of a pilot project. The goal of the project is to combine nature preservation with rural community development using the resources in the nature and culture attached to the place. In the longer term the goal is to use the potential of added value which is related to the status of being a National Park Village.
     The pilot project in Lom works under the title "Liveable Lom". The main activities in the project have been connected with local workshops in the area called Boeverdalen where different local groups and youth have been involved. As a part of this two pupils' enterprises produced and sold a collection of profiling t-shirts. The local youth school works continuously with youth entrepreneurship.  A Winters Festival was started. And seminars about nature preservation and added value were arranged. Earth hour celebration was combined with a local folk song festival. Systematic local communication and information work has been emphasized as well as networking with other projects. The knowledge gained so far is the fact that the local community has to be the driving force.

Link to films from Lom with English subtitles http://www.lom.kommune.no/filmar-fraa-lom.161793.nn.html

Local food in Norwegian mountains

     Røros is situated in a mountain region close to the Swedish border. Historically Røros was a mining town, while agriculture and tourism are important economic activities in the region today.
     Some 30 shops in the small mountain town of Røros (population about 5400) and surrounding communities now offer their customers locally produced food with a distinctive label. In 1995, the municipal Environment Department in Røros launched a project to gain acceptance for a special quality label for food produced and processed in the east-central Norwegian mountain region ("Fjellregionen"), comprising ten municipalities in all. They succeeded in getting local farmers, food processors, shops and consumer groups to join in. Since 1999 the project has been organised as a limited company, Mat fra Fjellregionen BA, which is backed by the "Food, health and environment alliance" with 21 member companies and organisations.
     The label came into use in 1998, and can be found on products as diverse as eggs from free-range hens, smoked reindeer hearts, cloudberries, local dairy produce, sausages, liver paste and fish from Norway's second largest lake, Femunden. The project has three objectives: To improve the market for local products by making them more visible, to reduce energy consumption for transport and to heighten consumer awareness of "clean" local food. The initiative has led to significantly increased sales for some local producers. One producer of eggs has for instance increased his output by 150 % and sells it all in the local market, where he is now the dominant supplier. When the co-operative TINE chain closed the small branch dairy in Røros, the premises were taken over by local people who created an € 1.3 M market for local dairy products within two years.
     The Co-op supermarkets in the two towns of Røros and Tynset, which are the biggest single retail outlets in the region, have separate counters and freezers containing only certified local produce.

Friendship exchange on sustainable tourism

      When the communities of Hol and Ål began their Local Agenda 21 effort, they wanted to establish a friendship links with local communities in other parts of the world. Hol and Ål are small places that both receive a large number of tourists, and wanted contact with a local community that was exposed to the same kind of challenges. Around the same time the community of Solala in Guatemala contacted the organisation Friendship North/ South to hear if there were any Norwegian council that were confronting the issue of tourism's effect on local nature and culture. This resulted in the two local communities' were being linked. The cooperation was formalised in May 1999, when the mayor and two other representatives from Solala visited Ål and signed a 15 point contract for co-operation.
      In addition to exchange experiences on how the tourist industry can develop while preserving local natural and cultural heritage, they also want to cooperate on developing traditional agriculture, and start a cultural exchange. Local democracy is going to be another key issue in the co-operation. In the affluent Norwegian communities, many people do not see why they should get involved in shaping their local community. In Sololà, representative democracy is a new thing. The communities are going to co-operate on something that is a concern for them both - development and renewal of local democracy.
      Since 1999, groups from Sololà have visited Ål each year, while several groups from Ål have visited Sololà. The visits have focuses on the topics that are mentioned in the original agreement: tourism, culture (including folk music and weaving traditions), agriculture and democracy. According to Reidun Aaker of Ål municipality, this has led to new insights in both communities. "We have learnt to view our own activities with other people's eyes", she says, and contrasts the difference between the emphasis that is set on material values in Ål, with the emphasis on social values in Sololà.

Exchange of experience around the open fire (Photo: Ål municipality)
Exchange of experience around the open fire (Photo: Ål municipality)

      Visitors from Sololà have been amazed at the fact that people in Ål choose to build their houses well apart from their neighbours. But both parties have also found that they have a lot in common, including a dilemma they are both facing: how to maintain an income-generating tourist industry while also preserving local traditions and environmental qualities? Aaker is impressed by the way in which people in Sololà mobilise when important decisions are to be made and translated into action. The delegation from Sololà that visited Ål during the Norwegian general election of 2001 was equally impressed by the fact that political opponents in this country could gather peacefully in one room and swap jokes. 
      The twinning project is co-ordinated by a friendship committee in each of the two communities. In Ål, this is comprised of representatives of seven NGOs along with the municipality itself. http://www.al.no/en/html/

Green accounting and outdoor life in Ski municipality

      Ski - close to Oslo and the regional centre of the Follo region - is the trade and commercial centre in this region, which totals over 110.000 inhabitants. Ski has more than 300 registered ancient historical artefacts. The countryside has several burial-grounds surrounded by ancient cultural scenery, and large, well kept forest areas, giving unlimited possibilities for an active outdoor life. Ski tries to combine the roots in the past and being a modern community as well. 
      Since 2001 Ski Municipality has been working with the so-called "Green Accounting" as an important part of managing the local sustainable development. Each year the local council considers and decides on this "green accounting", in addition to the traditional economical accounting. The short-term economically considerations are in this way supplied with the ecological considerations: Has the consumption of energy been reduced, how is the quality of the water, how many rare species have been preserved and have the number of alien invasive species been reduced? How much of the waste has been recycled, in which way has the municipality organized the public spaces in order to strengthening the health conditions of the citizens? This is some of the questions to be looked at.
      The "Green Accounting" has many functions: It is an important and indispensible tool in the political debate; it is a tool for a united and systematic documentation of the environmental work in order to identify both "bad practice" and to recognize the possibilities of improvement. The "Green Accounting" is as well a useful tool in the public information and transparency towards to citizens, the local schools included.
       Education and building of knowledge on the importance of sustainable development are generally emphasized. Since 2002 Ski has made an annual calendar to all citizens and firms. You will find information about waste treatment, how to reduce CO2 emissions and use of energy, tours in the local areas, invasive alien species, meetings in LA21-forum etc. The work with the calendar involves the children in the local school. Each year they arrange a drawing competition related to the theme of the year.

The Ski Eco-Calendar 2009, theme: Sustainable transport
The Ski Eco-Calendar 2009, theme: Sustainable transport

      Education and learning through practice is also highlighted in the managing of the in the municipal forest that is used as an area for health and outdoor life. The enthusiastic forest manager, Reidar Haugen and other committed employees work cross sectors with guided tours, lectures and meetings for a big variety of groups. 
      Each school and kinder garden in the local community has their own outdoor location in the forest which they can form in their own way. When not used by the kinder gardens and schools other visitors are able to enjoy these locations. This initiative started as an answer to a local problem and concern related to the fact that too many children in the community suffered from overweight and too little physical activity. The outdoor life is a tool to spread the local culture and to work for the conservation of the nature. Outdoor communication is an important part of this work such as information placards, signs, maps for fishing, bicycle, ski tracks, rest-places etc.


More good examples of sustainable practices you could find in Ideas Bank web page http://www.idebanken.no/english/Goodexamples/hoved.html