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Supported by Erasmus + Programme

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Open Digital Europe

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Out of the Box International develops a tailor made open data model and policies based on open digital environment which is transparent, accountable and secured.

Social Businesses

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Out of the Box International works with already existing hubs, various local and national stakeholders and social entrepreneurs in order to further develop and promote successful social entrepreneurship policies and practices.

Solidarity Europe

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Out of the Box International delivers expertise in the field of cohesive policies by using cross-sectorial approach and non-formal  education, in a global perspective.

European Project

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Out of the Box International  works further to enhance current cooperation in South East Europe region and actively supports the integration of all European countries in common European project.

 

This year’s edition of The European Week of Regions and Cities was fully digital due to COOVID-19 pandemic and spread over three consecutive weeks, each dedicated to one timely topic: Empowering CitizensCohesion & Cooperation, and Green Europe.

Our session took place on 7th, October in line with the Empowering Citizens topic with 150 participants registered. Partners – European Projects Association (EPA), Metropolitan City of Venice, Municipality of Fažana, Out of the Box International and Union of the Baltic Cities presented how to examine and analyze the priorities in cities/communities using citizens’ input, Artificial Intelligence and Information Technology Communication, thus enabling and stimulating inclusive democratic processes.

The first part of the session belonged to Marko Paunovic, the director of Out of the Box International, with the presentation of current rising trends and answering how to increase citizens’ engagement in shaping their communities while developing SMART cities. Real-time information, Decentralizing data centers and decision making, Transparency and other good practices were presented along with OTB’s projects.

The second speaker Lucia Fedrigoni, presented Smart Solutions for the Metropolitan City of Venice. The Multiservice ICT Platform CON.ME – DiMe with 82 online services available to citizens, local businesses and tourists, proven to be very useful during Covid-2019 lockdown. Another smart solution presented is Citizens’ Observatory – a virtual place where citizens and decision-making authorities will be able to exchange and share environmental information, such as flood-related data, through the use of a mobile app and a web-platform. The list of solutions goes on and includes SPID which is an Italian Public Digital Identity System that allows citizens and businesses to access online services of participating public administration and private services providers. WEBMAPP VENEZIA is a smart solution that shares information about tourism, civil society, safety health, environment, sustainable mobility and cycling routes. Finally, Open data ICT Platform ICARUS was presented as a solution aiming at improving passenger intermodal transport connections and easing coast-hinterland sustainable accessibility, thus promoting car-independent lifestyles.

Mantas Jurgutis, President of the Union of the Baltic cities, presented the network and its work. UBC is the leading network of cities in the Baltic Sea Region with around 100 member cities and 7 working Commissions: Cultural Cities, Inclusive and Healthy Cities, Planning Cities, Safe Cities, Smart and Prospering Cities, Sustainable Cities, and Youthful Cities. Through its work UBC promotes EUSBSR (EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region) capacity building among cities, regions, businesses, and academia. The goal of the UBC Sustainability Action Programme that is coordinated by the UBC SSC and is closely linked to the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is sustainable development. Currently, this is managed through exchanging know-how and practices between the member cities on pandemic handling and recovery mechanisms as well as concrete cases by urban planners and architects.

The final speaker Dino Babić, the President of the European Projects Association,
presented a multitude of diverse projects, which are the results of smart solutions to the burning issue of connecting communities. The projects were in the field of Agriculture, Economy, Education, Training, Culture, Youth, Employment and Social Affairs, Energy and Natural Resources, Enterprise and Industry, Environment, Regions and Local Development, Research, Innovation and Technology and Tourism and Travel. These projects were implemented through organizations including European Projects association, Informo, Istrian de Dignan – Ecomuseum, European Academy for education and social research and Fazana municipality. The successes achieved were a result of creating online platforms for learning and specialization, and involving citizens in local and regional work which generated communities of practitioners that continue to participate in further development.

Our workshop was in a ZOOM format and it gathered 60 participants who actively participated in the discussions and shared their experiences. In the final part, the participants rated the workshop as inspiring, with fresh ideas and good practices shared on the subject of empowering citizens.

 

Why Out of the Box International

The seemingly ever-lasting depression of European economies has shaken the very foundations of many European societies. The shear rate of unemployment in Europe and the omnipresent environmental crisis coupled with the often frustratingly slow process of decision making in the EU, are calling for civil society actors to step in and fill the void.

In the aftermath of the 2008. economic crisis, the apprehension of falling under the spell of apathy of economic depression across the continent has not been easy to shake off. However, pinpointing the culprits for the current state of affairs on any particular EU decision maker is not the answer. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the current approach to the economic and environmental crisis hasn’t yet shown the affected citizens the light at the end of the tunnel.

As representatives of the civil society we feel the need to make our voice heard in the midst of the current debate on economic crisis. Being a social enterprise we offer new and feasible ideas in education and community work, creative cross-sectorial cooperation among different actors and strong networking coalitions to turn these dire economic challenges into possibilities through social entrepreneurship initiatives which aim at benefiting wide range of citizens, particularly vulnerable groups and those affected by the economic crisis.

Social entrepreneurship is a simple concept that has been put into practice by civil society actors for the benefit of a specific social group or people, and this is precisely what we want: to create projects and initiatives with fresh ideas in different policies, educational programs or tools, support businesses, empower cultural initiatives and offer different solutions to individuals, corporate bodies, everybody who believe that we can have more Creative, Innovative and Cohesive Europe.

 

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