Community development, Environment and sustainability

Roadmap to Common Future

designing an inclusive local sustainable development model and protection concept of Jelovica plateau


Who is behind this?

Katarina Žakelj

CIPRA Slovenia, Association for Protection of the Alps


Who is joining forces?

Sora Development Agency



Idea pitch

Quiet mountain villages around Jelovica plateau are becoming a tourist hot-spot. In the hands of 9 local communities lies a big responsibility: timely and joint decision for a sustainable future.
Now separated villagers will be encouraged to share their vision of local development, get insight to good practices, by bottom-up approach discuss their ideas with local, regional and state representatives. Their vision of the future will be outlined in a document for local development, the Roadmap.

Where will your project idea take place?

Project activities will take place in 9 villages surrounding Jelovica plateau, NW Slovenia

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

This Alpine, lushy green and ecologically protected area is facing a major shift of the century-old way of life: shift from agriculture and forestry to tourism. If this step will be done in consensus with the villagers and neighbouring villages, based on mutual values, history and respect for nature, it can secure sustainable future for generations to come. On the contrast, individual and uncoordinated actions would degrade the landscape and bring profit only to (outside) investors.
Due to its relative remoteness, people from the area consider themselves remote from political centre as well. With bottom-up and inclusive approach we will change this perspective, create a spark of active citizenship, connect to similar areas and sign a joint sustainable development and protection model.

Who are you doing it for?

Villages around Jelovica plateau lie in the hinterland of larger tourist centres. They are witnessing loss of traditional way of life, depopulation, waning cohesion. Villagers are each trying to path their own way into tomorrow, without a common vision or consensus, all fighting similar impediments.
In each of 9 villages, various generations and occupations will unite in a local working group. Its representatives will closely collaborate with other newly formed local groups representatives and other stakeholders in the area. Together we will outline desired developmental goals for the area and form a Roadmap - common document, defining further developmental steps and create necessary impetus for a joint future.

How do you plan to get there?

1. Preparation: revisiting project timeline, identification and mapping of key local, regional, national stakeholders and experts. Quantitative analysis. Updating existing contact list (regional and national institutions and representatives, media). Creating a communication plan, launching news about the project.
2. Meeting villagers: meetings with villagers, mayors, leaders of local communities, promotion in the local media. Presentations of the programme in the 9 villages.
3. Who are we? Inclusive formation of local working groups. Moderating, mentoring, motivating individuals and communities. Listing resources, defining development potentials, outlining common goals. Launching survey research. Addressing possible opposing views. SWOT analysis, compact case research.
4. What do we want? Workshops with chosen experts in the local environment: capacity building, presentation of good practices. Reaching agreement on sustainable development model and its co-management. Creating perception of bigger picture and one’s role in it. Meetings with decision-makers, revisiting the emerging document, reaching consensus. Strategic reflection on further steps. Secondary and qualitative analysis.
5. How will we get there? Preparation of the Roadmap with timeline for its implementation, list of supporting projects, existing finance mechanisms and defined steps for its implementation.

What are the expected results?

At the end of our project:
- previously unconnected individual villages will form a new, common identity, linked to Jelovica plateau,
- villagers will understand the strength of collaboration, learn about project management, economic benefits of sustainable tourism, soft visitor management, effective communication,
- villagers will create direct links to various institutions and experts for further collaborations,
- the Roadmap will be signed by relevant stakeholders, serve as a guideline for further development of the vilages and Jelovica plateau. It will represent a careful balance between opening-up of the communities and maintaining their cultural identity,
- 9 groups will form an association and carry out projects, outlined in the Roadmap.

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

Our idea connects fragmented communities and promotes the benefits of dialogue and collaboration. It enables villagers to openly address current challenges and co-create their future. They will learn how to address challenges together, strengthen their communities and influence decisions. The Roadmap, jointly created document for local sustainable development and protection model, will represent a local commitment and a guideline for sustainable future. The network of stakeholders and experts will advice villagers in further projects and collaborations.
As 2022 is an election year, local and national political candidates will be willing to meet with such initiatives, discuss their proposals, additionally motivating local community.

Why is this idea important to you?

Katarina Žakelj, project manager at CIPRA Slovenia. Skilled anthropologist and ethnologist, devoted to finding inclusive solutions for sustainable future.
Špela Berlot, director at CIPRA Slovenia. Project manager and experienced youth leader.
Gašper Kleč, director of Local Development Agency Sora, devoted to writing local sustainable development stories; experienced in management and business development.
Špela Stanonik, expert in rural development, management of local stakeholders and a Manager of Local Action Group.
All of them have excellent people-leading skills, while being straightforward and approachable. We know the area due to our professional involvement and frequent personal visits.

€ 35000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Personell costs (all partners) 27.500 EUR
Travel 1.300 EUR
Project management, administration 3200 EUR
External experts (lectures) 1500 EUR
Events in local environment 1500 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We are always eager to learn about new successful ways of engaging communities and empowering them for sustainable choices - looking forward to your comments and inputs!


CIPRA Slovenija

Idea created on April 25, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

Write comment