Stemming from the kind invitation of the Euro Mediterranean Scientific and Biomedical Institute (ISBEM), Marco Boaria, ALDA Resource and Development Union Coordinator, and Aldo Xhani, ALDA Project Manager, travelled to Brindisi to meet with Prof. Alessandro Distante and Dr. Prisco Piscitelli in order to coordinate the activities of the joint project COHEIRS.
The meeting took place at ISBEM’s headquarters in Mesagne on 27-28 March 2013 and was an important occasion to discuss the methodology and the action plan of the project whose kick-off is foreseen for April, 15 as well as all relevant details for launching the first activity.
The project brings together 17 partners from 12 different countries in wider Europe and aims at supporting active participation of citizens in the EU democratic life and more specifically in the implementation of the precautionary principles, as detailed in Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (EU), through the establishment of citizens panels focused on health and environment. These groups of “civic observers”, duly supported and guided, will monitor the condition of the environment by paying special attention to those violations and misconducts directly or collaterally threatening the public health. At the same time, they will be progressively inscribed and involved in an international network, which will support their efforts, advocate on their behalf at the EU level and coordinate the drafting of recommendations to be addressed to the relevant local, national and European decision makers.
The meeting was also an opportunity to introduce ALDA to a broad range of local actors such as local authorities and civil society organisations committed on active citizenship and environmental issues and to showcase the Europe for Citizens programme. The presentation gave the input for exchanging with the participants on concrete ideas and tools enabling an efficient and effective implementation of the project as well as on several other environmental issues and potential future project ideas. As coordinators of the project, ALDA and ISBEM agreed on a detailed action plan to be submitted later on to the whole partnership for further feedbacks.
ALDA delegation was particularly pleased of being informed of the relevant role that ISBEM plays at the local level in endorsing the local youth and in providing them with a fecund environment for unleashing their potential. Indeed, it is within this context that local youngsters find the tools in terms of knowledge, experience, support and networks for developing a professional life and tackling phenomena of strong impact in the region such as youth unemployment and migration. The two days’ coordination meeting was further enriched by a guided visit of Mesagne’s city centre and accompanied by concrete features of the depopulation issue strongly affecting the area.