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EU-Inco Copernicus Project SWAPUA
Project brief as of 12 May 1999

Short title:

SWAPUA-Project on Urban Agriculture

Full title:

Soil and Water Management in Agricultural Production in Urban Areas of CEE/NIS Countries

Objectives:

formulation of local policies and innovative action-research programmes on urban agriculture in five CEE/NIS countries;

to facilitate networking among stakeholders in urban agriculture by building linkages and stimulating information exchange

Summary

Urban agricultural activities play an important role for food production, income and employment, and recreation in many countries. Urban planning and urban administration should integrate the various existing agricultural activities within the cities. The ultimate goal of the project will be the formulation and dissemination of a policy framework for the integration of Urban Agriculture in urban planning and administration.

Duration:

January 1999 - March 2001

Cooperation partners:

Centre for Ecology, Technology and Culture (ETC), the Netherlands (Project coordinator)

Romanian Institute of Soil Research and Agrochemistry (ICPA), Rumania (Scientific coordinator)

ICLEI European Secretariat, Germany

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, Austria,

The Ecological Youth of Rumania (TER), Rumania

Foundation for Organic Agriculture (FOA), Czech Republic

Centre for Agricultural Initiatives, Russia

Institute for Sustainable Development, Slovenia

Sustainable World Foundation, Sofia, Bulgaria

Municipalities involved:

Sofia, Prague, St. Petersburg, Bucharest, Ljubljana (among others)

Working language:

English

Funding:

European Commission, DG XII, INCO-COPERNICUS

own contributions

Project team:

Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, Wolfgang Teubner, Birgit Baumbusch

Summary

Urban agricultural activities play an important role for food production, income and employment, and recreation in CEE/NIS countries for a long time and the importance of urban agriculture has increased under the economic pressure of the transformation process. For example, the World Bank states that 88% of the Russian potato yield is produced on small household plots. Property reforms add to the scenario of change.

Agenda 21 emphasises the need to develop sustainability of urban areas, and points especially to the re-use and recycling of urban waste water and organic matter. Urban planning and urban administration should integrate the various existing agricultural activities within the cities (e.g. horticulture, small animal production, urban forestry, waste water fed aquaculture).

However, the environmental benefits and problems of urban Agriculture have hardly been studied.

The proposed project encompasses the following main objectives:

To increase knowledge on extent and significance of agricultural activities in urban areas of CEE/NIS countries and assess changes due to the transformation process;

To identify main problems and possible solutions with respect to soil and water management in agricultural activities in urban areas, especially with regard to

1- recycling of organic wastes from various sources

2- water use and recycling of waste water;

Best practices of soil and water management will be identified and documented for dissemination;

To formulate and disseminate a policy framework for improved resource (especially soil and water) management in urban agricultural production in cities of Central and Eastern Europe. The project intends to enhance awareness and knowledge among policy makers, town planners and urban administrators in Western, Central and Eastern Europe by collecting available information and expertise on urban agriculture, on its potential, its constraints, and strategic options for its support;

To assist local organisations in the formulation of innovative action-research programmes on urban agriculture with participation of the various local stakeholders. Western European experience is used to develop action-research programmes in CEE/NIS countries. The project will facilitate the formulation and implementation of innovative projects applying a process and participatory approach involving the various stakeholders (municipal policy and planning, supporting governmental and non-governmental organisations, groups of urban farmers, etc.); it will be oriented at development of sustainable urban farming systems and techniques (especially waste recycling) and the integration of urban agriculture in urban policies, urban planning and legal systems;

To facilitate networking among stakeholders in urban agriculture by building linkages and stimulating information exchange. The project supports local, national and European information exchange, and establishes linkages between local authorities, urban planners, research institutions, associations of urban farmers, neighbourhood organisations, and small and medium scale enterprises involved in recycling of urban wastes, and processing and marketing of urban produce.

Environmental protection in urban areas increases in importance. The transformation process offers chances to reshape land property and access to crucial resources, and to develop rules and regulations for sustainable use of resources. Understanding the role of urban agriculture in CEE/NIS countries will also support the revision of European agricultural policy with respect to future EC member states.

Source-ICLEI data base

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