Following the Final Conference of the Interreg Central Europe SENTINEL project on 19 May, the CEI – Executive Secretariat held a virtual stakeholders’ meeting yesterday, showing the sustainability of the project.

The main objective of the webinar entitled “Social Innovation and Mountains at the time of COVID-19” was to highlight the results of SENTINEL by stimulating a concrete discussion on the impact of this project in particular with regard to the current health emergency and related restrictions.

The webinar gathered participants from the three mountain regions involved in the project: the Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG), Veneto and Trentino. Representatives from the Autonomous FVG Region, the Trentino Federation of Cooperatives, local Cooperatives, Societies, Area Science Park and University of Trieste’s spin-off shared reflections, ideas and good practices on having faced isolation in these mountain areas during the COVID, proposing tangible development stages for policy makers. The stakeholders emphasised the potential of creating networks amidst the crisis and highlighted the fundamental role social enterprises could play in the local development of mountain areas.

During the webinar, Vanni Treu from the Cooperative Cramars of Tolmezzo presented the Atlas of the Mountain a strategic tool created within the project to analyse and process data for territorial planning as well as for creating not only an alliance for the development in mountain areas but also a community and modern image of the Highlands.

Best practices such as the project “Comunità Frizzante” from Trento which managed to involve the community and establish partnerships across the country to create a local beverage, or the project “Il terragnolo che conta” which started from distributing bread to the elderly to as well as medicine and groceries during the pandemic crisis have managed to keep the community alive and more connected in this difficult period.

As Sandra Sodini, Director of the International Relations department of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region said, “the Covid pandemic has also allowed to re-discover the sense of community”. She highlighted the need for shared strategies between mountain territories to have a more united position at regional level, in particular in the context of the new Regional Programme 2021-2017, which seeks to propose a unique strategy for cohesion policy, encouraging sustainable growth and valorising the resources of our territory.

Recalling the words of Winston Churchill “Never waste a good crisis”, CEI senior expert Gian Matteo Apuzzo closed the meeting stressing that the current situation had clearly provided new opportunities for the development of the mountain and marginal areas.

For more info: marconato@cei.int