By organizing a Presentation of the activities in the pilot area of Vrmac, in Tivat, on 5 February 2015 and a Final project conference, in Dubrovnik, on 6 February 2015, the partners of "Heritage-Driver of Development" project marked officially the end of this IPA cross-border project realized within the programme of cross-border cooperation between Montenegro and Croatia and supported by the EU Delegation with a total of 550 000 EUR.
The main aim of the project was to contribute to establishing cooperation between institutions in charge of natural and cultural heritage protection through implementing joint programs, education, know-how transfer, as well as to raise public awareness of the value and potentials of heritage in the cross-border area of Boka Kotorska and Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
Implementing six groups of activities, the project partners and associates have acquired invaluable knowledge and experience, producing as the final result for the project pilot area in Boka Kotorska, the Vrmac Peninsula, four expert studies, which include: the Study of Natural Values of Vrmac, the Study of Cultural Heritage, the Study of Cultural Landscape and the Study of Economic Valorization of Vrmac, the last one using the results of the all the others and confirming the premise from which the project has started, i.e. that the heritage of Vrmac could form a basis for the sustainable economic development of the whole area, which is administratively governed by the Municipality of Tivat and the Municipality of Kotor.
Cooperating with the partner organizations that have considerable experience in heritage filed, Cultural-Heritage Association Gornja Lastva and Expeditio - Centre for Sustainable Spatial Development from Kotor, the Municipality of Tivat, which was a project lead partner, has obtained valuable studies that form a necessary basis for furthering activities towards protecting Vrmac as a Nature Park, as this has already been included in the Strategic development plan of the Municipality of Tivat. The Mayor of Tivat, Mr. Ivan Novosel, expressed his satisfaction at the project result, pointing out that they are of great relevance not only for the Municipality of Tivat but also for the Municipality of Kotor and the City of Dubrovnik.
"Benefits of this 23-months long project are already visible and I hope that the true purpose of the achieved results is still to be manifested. Namely, based on the studies resulting from the project "Heritage-Driver of Development", the issue of Vrmac will be addressed in cooperation with the Municipality of Kotor, in terms of proclaiming Vrmac a protected area and ensuring that in the Coastal Zone Management Plan, currently being drawn up, the area of Vrmac is treated as protected natural and cultural heritage. The studies developed for Vrmac give conclusions that have been expected - i.e. that this area deserves to be valorized in an adequate way, not only in terms of its natural and cultural heritage protection but also of its economic valorization. It is our intention to protect and improve this area and make it accessible to our citizens and all those who visit Tivat either as tourists or our guests" - concluded the Mayor.
One of the experts taking part in developing the Study of Economic Valorization of Vrmac was Montenegrin Prince Nikola Petrović Njegoš. Unable to attend the presentation in Tivat he address the audience though a letter that can be read here Letter of Prince Nikola Petrović Njegoš.
That, according to organization of partners and associates' work and its final results, this project can be regarded a positive example in a wider European context, is the conclusion of international experts who spoke at the Final project conference, held in Dubrovnik, on 6 February 2015. They included Dr. Sc. Biserka Dumbović, leader of the team developing the Study of Cultural Landscape of Vrmac; Ms. Katri Lisitzin, a member of ICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and sites and an UNESCO exert, Mr. Aleš Mlakar from Ljubljana, an expert on cultural landscape, and Dr. Sc. Gojko Berlengi, who worked as a team on developing the study on "Identification and valorization of the natural and cultural landscape of Dubrovnik"; and Mr. Marko Peterlin, from IPOP - Institute for spatial policies from Slovenia. As the final project result, Mr. Peterlin and his colleagues developed a "Manual on Protection, Planning and Management of Heritage", which summarizes all the project achievements and proposes recommendations for improving activity in heritage protection field.
The Final conference in Dubrovnik was officially opened by Ms. Marija Vučković, deputy mayor of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. In addition to presenting the overall project activities and developed studies, the conference was an opportunity to show two videos created within the project, one prepared by Montenegrin partners, promoting the campaign "Landscape Days" conducted during 2014 and one prepared by partners from Croatia, promoting the project in general. The conference also showed a multimedia presentation of the brochure and map entitled "Krajodrazi", produced as joint educational and promotional material of the cross-border area of Dubrovnik-Neretva County and Boka Kotorska.
The project, managed in Croatia by the Physical Planning Institute of Dubrovnik-Neretva County and implemented in cooperation with DUNEA - Dubrovnik Neretva County Regional Development Agency and the Public Institution for the Management of Protected Natural Values in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, officially was finished on 10 February 2015. (Antonela Stjepčević, project PR)