The Project

GEMS – inteGration and Solidarity European Models for Sustainability

logo_webThe 5 small alpine towns which adhere to GEMS project (Werfenweng-A, Bad Reichenhall Kur-D, Bled-SI, Moena-IT, Forni di Sopra-IT), share local development strategies (economy based on sustainable tourism), and related challenges, caused by recent EU financial and social turmoil.

GEMS aims to establish a network of towns in transition towards a solidarity model for local development, in which

  • the towns’ specific developmental challenges, related to sustainable tourism, are faced within a “solidarity in times of crisis” perspective (i.e. civil society or private initiatives filling gaps in public funded interventions);
  • new residents (e.g. immigrants, asylum seekers, etc) are perceived as an opportunity to overcome developmental challenges, rather than an obstacle, able to  give a new boost to sustainable tourism;
  • citizens and local authorities debate around a common vision for the EU (development) future.

The project foresees:

  • 5 transnational events, in which a group of network experts (local authorities and civil society organizations) work with citizens from hosting communities (at least 70 locals per event, covering a wide range of stakeholders), so to identify “solidarity& integration mechanisms” that can boost local development, while generating the sense of belonging to a transnational community based on shared EU values (peace, mutual understanding, etc);
  • activities of awareness raising on EU2020, policies and opportunities for participation, allowing citizens to analyze local experiences in an EU framework.

Ultimately, GEMS:

  • Produces a Network Solidarity&Integration Model-online catalogue (local best practices and network recommendations)
  • Establishes the Alpine Award for the most innovative Alpine “solidarity&integration initiatives”
  • Establishes the basis for future network cooperation- Friendship Agreement
  • Guarantees the transfer of grassroots solutions for local and network challenges, to EU institutions, by means of dissemination and lobby activities.