Democracy and participation, Environment and sustainability

Kosmos of Sustainability Ambassadors

Just transition to a green society empowered by grassroots initiatives

Creators

Who is behind this?

Ioannis Tsoutsas

Innovation Hive

http://innovationhive.eu/

Greece

Who is joining forces?

KOSMOS

http://kosmos.gr/

Greece


Skyros Project

https://skyrosproject.uniwa.gr/

Greece


Together for the Environment of Corfu

https://oloimazigiatinkerkyra.gr/

Greece


KOSMOS and SkyrosProject are not legal entities yet. Both have signed a private agreement with our host partner Innovationhive. KOSMOS will become an NGO before 09/2020. Skyros will rely on agreement.

Idea

Idea pitch

We are downscaling UN and EU sustainability policies through a network of grassroots ambassadors in peripheral regions of Greece. Together with CSOs, we will practice participatory decision-making for better governance within the EU's development policy by participating in consultations and making environmental policy proposals at the local level. Participating organisations will become the roots of democracy and sustainable development in their areas, a Kosmos of Sustainability Ambassadors.

Where will your project idea take place?

We start in Corfu and Skyros islands, and Thessaly region. Then, we expand over the Greek periphery!

What is the local challenge?

The challenge is the puzzlement of local communities on how to achieve the green transition to a sustainable future "leaving no one behind". Our focus areas are endangered biodiverse ecosystems in Skyros & Corfu and the agricultural hub of Thessaly, which face overgrazing (Skyros), overtourism and lack of waste management (Corfu) and groundwater depletion (Thessaly) creating a conflict between environment & economic development. We operationalize the EU Green Deal and the SDGs of the pillar “planet” (6, 12, 13, 14, 15) as a "Just Transition" roadmap to sustainability. As a result, we will collectively frame just, local, green, economically viable transition policy proposals for: clean water & sanitation, responsible production & consumption, climate action, life under water, life on earth.

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

Our focus regions were prioritized due to the low participation in the nationwide "call to action" launched by KOSMOS. They were selected because of the existing activities and local network of our partners, which make them open entry points with registered actions and successes, that can be reinforced and connected to achieve a bigger impact. Through this initiative we aim at strengthening the participation of the community in local governance, as well as in consultation processes in the EU and in Greece. Using Arnstein’s ladder degrees of citizen participation as a means to express our methodology, we aim to start by informing communities about policies and possibilities for participating in local, national and European decision-making, resulting in citizen control of certain processes.

Who are you doing it for?

For citizens and CSOs in the peripheral regions of Greece. We provide them with tools to exercise the democratic right of voicing their concerns and suggestions from the local to the highest EU political level, showing that it is not difficult or impossible. We will exploit the know-how of KOSMOS in empowering citizens to increase their participation in local governance using democratic tools offered by the EU (open consultations, opportunities for dialogue with EU politicians) and the UN (SDGs), in order to find solutions to local sustainability problems. To achieve this, KOSMOS has started establishing a network of active citizens and stakeholders, relying so far on digital communication. Through this project we aim to expand the network and make "deep dives" in local physical meetings.

How do you plan to get there?

By creating a network of local Sustainability Ambassadors who will be fully trained in the KOSMOS methods and techniques, we will provide communities with tools and a platform to interact and exchange knowledge, problems and solutions towards local sustainable development. Three NGOs have already been identified and are partners of the project while two more will be recruited during the project lifetime through a public Open Call. The Ambassadors will be responsible for increasing civic infrastructure and civic literacy in their areas through the following activities:
•Regional capacity building events organisation
•Increasing citizens’ participation in Open Consultations
•Policy workshops and focus groups aiming at producing policy recommendations
•SGD Festival (pillar "planet")

What are the expected results?

•Progress with addressing local Environmental issues thanks to policy recommendations (policy briefs & infographics) coming from citizens and stakeholders engaged in the project.
•A network of active citizens and CSOs around the country working together on sustainable local development and just socio-environmental transitions, "leaving no-one behind"
•Enriched know-how of all participants in regards to the process of understanding and promoting environmental sustainability through the roadmaps of UN, EU, and national Greek policies.
•Informed participation in consultations of the European Commission and Greek Government.
•E-library of policy and research papers and reports, educational material, visual material from meetings and workshops.
•Large participation in the SDG Festival

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

Training with regards to (and participation in) Democratic procedures is the core of our initiative. We aim at strengthening participatory decision making and good governance within the EU’s development policy in the following ways:
•Creation of awareness about EU and global level environmental policies for sustainable development, and the social aspects of the Green Transition, making sure to "leave no-one behind" (Just Transition)
•Training on how the EU system functions and how citizens can participate in decision-making.
•Participation in EU consultations.
•Visits to the EU parliament, workshops and lectures by officials and experts (we have secured other funding)
•Training in writing policy and action recommendations with solid argumentation after informed research.

What is your story?

Through the Sustainability Ambassadors project we intend to establish close collaboration with CSOs around Greece and scrutinize environmental concerns and policies. We aspire to sit around the table and discuss socio-environmental issues, participate in consultations together with local groups of citizens, and witness the co-creation of policy recommendations by people who have deep knowledge of their context and understand the real repercussions of applying policies in practice. Moreover, we are excited to set-up, facilitate and expand a nationwide network of Sustainability Ambassadors through a digital platform, communication and collaboration tools. Adoption of solutions proposed through our policy recommendation in different parts of the country will be the final reward.

€ 49810,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 122425,-

Total budget

Major expenses

• Travel to focus regions: 13.500€
• Focus groups & local events: 7.000€ (4 in each region)
• Dissemination events: 6.000€ (Ambassadors Plenary meeting & Final SDG Festival)
• Expansion phase: 8.000€ (open call, 4 focus groups & 2 events in new regions)
• Printing services, digital marketing: 2.500€
• Staff: 13.263€ (the initiative aims at enhancing and multiplying evolving activities, therefore the work of 10 experts and several volunteers is partly covered by funds/own income already)

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Feasibility comments, feedback on the idea and general comments are welcome.
We would like to meet similar organizations and possibly partner for new ideas and future actions!

Team

InnovationHive

anna.palaiologk

Alexandra Tsatsou

lingosalex

Idea created on May 22, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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