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Visit to Nottingham, UK, 23-25 November 2000

Visit to Nottingham by Polina Pimenova (Ecoproject) had a goal of exploring contacts and opportunities for Minsk-Nottingham twinning co-operation in environmental field between NGOs, academic institutions, businesses and City authorities.

Programme of the visit was very tight and well organized thanks to Ian Hewitt's efforts.

Thursday November 23rd, 2000

12:40  Meeting Ian Hewitt, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering of the Nottingham Trent University. Ian is very much involved into various non-governmental environmental and globalization initiatives, he is a Chairperson of Ecoworks organization and he is interested to explore Minsk-Nottingham twinning opportunities for the future.

14:00  Meeting with Colin Love, CEE academic projects coordinator for the Business School of Nottingham Trent University. Colin does a lot of project work with Belarus already since a long time. These are mostly training programs and advice for academic governmental and non-governmental institutions (like Institute of Privatization and Management, Belarusian State University, Linguistic University, etc.) on the issues of human resource management and strategic management. Method 'train the trainer' is a core of his training programs. Colin works closely with REAP program as well as different UK government and EU support institutions and programs.

He expressed his interest in future co-operation opportunities and agreed to give advice when needed, even though he did not work with NGO sector a lot so far.

Nottingham 1 15:00  Meeting at the Nottingham City Council (NCC). Ms Sarah Southwell, the Twinning and Projects Officer of the NCC, and her colleague Mike Peveril, responsible for Agenda 21 projects.They both were also interested, gave some good suggestions for further contacts in NCC and other organizations like NGOs.

As we found out, representatives of the Minsk City authorities visited Nottingham in March 2000, it was mainly related to the issue of waste management and minimization. Visit was organized by the organization CIWEM (Chartered Institute on Waste and Environmental Management, East Midlands Branch) of the Environment Agency and was not involving many 'twinning' meetings and procedures. There is however idea for British experts to visit Minsk in return next year. 

Nottingham 2 16:00  Meeting with the Sheriff of Nottingham John Hartshorne was a special highlight of the visit. It was a formal civic meeting, but we managed to discuss some very critical issues for both Minsk and Nottingham. Sheriff is a Councillor also and he was previously the Head of the Environmental Committee of the Nottingham City Council. 
He is very advanced in the issues of sustainable development, environmental management, energy efficiency and he promised his political support to our joint initiatives and projects in these areas. He praised our desire to enforce environmental issues in the twinning co-operation between Minsk and Nottingham.

19:00  Evening meeting of NCC, Nottingham Citizens Resource Centre (NCRC) and NGO representatives from Nottingham City to discuss the idea of establishing Area Community Resource and Information Points (ACRIPs) for the citizens to support community involvement and awareness as well as to provide information, training and advice for community groups/orgs. Future of co-operation and potentials/obstacles were discussed and raised after the work in small groups. Funding for these centres is still an open issue and NGOs believe that NCC should support these centres from the City budget. Future of NCRC is still unclear, although many NGOs agree that the support it provides is very useful and crucial.
*Orgs present: FoE UK, Rainbow, Veggies, Youth Shop, Ecoworks, NCC, NCRC, etc.

This evening was a good opportunity to learn about NGO activities in Nottingham and to get valuable contacts.

Friday November 24th, 2000

9:30  Meeting at the Nottingham Trent University with the Head of the MME Department

10:00  Meeting with Ecoworks Ltd. and NGOs Rainbow, Veggies to learn about their approaches in working for the local community;

12:00-14:00  Twinning meeting in NTU to make contacts and to brainstorm on the possibilities of co-operation.

Goals of the meeting were as follows:

  • to introduce Ecoproject NGO objectives, activities and future possibilities;
  • to get a picture of environmental  NGO range and activities in Nottingham and Minsk;
  • to establish personal contacts for future projects preparation and implementation;
  • to figure out and to decide upon the common issues of interest for co-operation, identify possible partners and target groups;
  • to brainstorm on the possibilities of future project funding and support;

* Results of the meetings are available upon request.

Nottingham 3 14:30  Ecoworks visit. At the specially devoted piece of land outside of Nottingham Ecoworks members together with many volunteers maintain examples of permaculture ideas and concepts: in building, in gardening, in waste management.
In the future a new place for seminars and trainings will be erected.

16:00  Meeting continued with some academia and NGO representatives to agree upon some points of interest for common work Minsk- Nottingham in the future;

Saturday November 25th, 2000

Nottingham 4 9:30  Meeting with Mrs Mel Read, MEP (Member of the European Parliament from Nottingham, East Midlands, UK). She was pleased with our idea to initiate joint environmental projects and suggested some possibilities of the 'political' support in the 
European Commission and twinning links.

As the result of the 3-day visit we have got valuable contacts for the enforcement of the Nottingham - Minsk environmental co-operation and hope for the future development of the established initiatives.

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