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REGIONET – Strategies for Regional Sustainable Development: An Integrated Approach beyond Best Practices An Integrated Approach beyond Best Practices

The promotion of regional and social cohesion as well as of environmental protection and sustainability are among the most important Community objectives. The thematic network REGIONET (consisting of 16 european partners) will contribute knowledge that helps to better integrate environmental issues in regional development plans and management (also now needed for Structural Funds proposals) and to integrate environmental protection with economic development and social policy. REGIONET has the following specific objectives: · The improved integration of sustainability issues in the regional development plans put forward to the EU structural funds. · An understanding of the relationship between the implementation of regional sustainable development and issues of regional and multi-level governance. · An integrated framework for evaluating regional sustainable development (methods and tools) at the European, national and regional levels. · The cross-fertilisation of sustainable development research and the establishment of regional partnerships. The project explicitly addresses these issues by organising four workshops which will bring together different stakeholders, i.e. policy-makers, researchers, business/industry, and users/consumers:Workshop 1: “Strategies towards Regional Sustainable Development: The Users’ Perspective” Network partners and stakeholders will contribute to the workshop by preparing and presenting their views on integrating sustainable development issues into Structural Funds projects. Workshop 2: “Regional Sustainable Development: Strategies for Effective Multi-level Governance” Contributions will come from actors with relevant experience in the field: scientists and academics who have studied decision-making and concertation processes; regional and local actors who have initiated these; and non-governmental organisations, including citizens movements, which have participated in consultation processes. Workshop 3: “Towards Regional Sustainable Development: Evaluation Methods and Tools” Contributions will primarily be invited from scientists and consultants working on the assessment of initiatives, projects and policies according to the concepts and parameters (quantitative and qualitative) of regional sustainable development. It will also have contributions from international organisations like European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), World Bank, and the European Commission on their perspectives on criteria in evaluation. Workshop 4: “Regional Sustainable Development: Results of the REGIONET Project” The final workshop will synthesise and elaborate on the findings of the REGIONET project. It will provide a unique opportunity for networking between decision-makers, researchers, business and NGOs/citizens from various different regions in Europe. The Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IOEW), Regional Office North Rhine-Westphalia, is responsible for the cross-fertilisation and integration of results of the REGIONET project in Workshop 4.