On 7-8 June the BIO4ECO project partners and their stakeholders met for the 3rd interregional meeting, hosted by RDA Centru, and organised in the framework of the additional activities of the BIO4ECO project (5th call related activities).

The aim of this event was to discuss how forests are managed in Centru Region Romania and to assess the COVID-19 impact on this sector. During the meeting several GPs were presented. Also models of sustainable communities from Centru Region and from other partner countries & models for mitigating the effects of Covid-19 in bioenergy sector, in the field of sustainable development and, in particular, energy efficiency, were presented.

Taking into account the theme of this event, the first day of the meeting consisted in a workshop, organised in Viscri a small rural community from Transylvania & the second day included a field trip in the virgin forest of Sinca Veche, a UNESCO Heritage Site. 

The first day of the event was dedicated to a thematic workhsop on Transition to green communities - funding opportunities and policy tools. Post-COVID-19 approaches. The workshop gathered 45 persons and was organised on June 7, 2022 in Viscri, Brasov County, a small rural community best known for its highly fortified church, originally built around 1100 AD by the Szecklers.

This day included discussions & debates regarding the forest management and status quo biomass use in Centru Region and short presentations of other regional approaches from Finland and Catalonia, including discussions with the project partners and their stakeholders on other approaches for supporting the sector and to improve the policy policy instruments, tackled within the project. 

The discussions started whit a short presentation from Ms. Ovidia Caba, Head of the Programming and Regional Policy Unit from RDA Centru, how briefly presented how green communities are approached in Centru Region.  The second presentation entitled Forest Management in Romania was provided by dr.M.Sc.Norocel Nicolescu, professor within the Faculty of Silviculture and Forest Engineering, Transilvania University of Brașov. 

After these main presentations, the workshop was divided into two sessions:

Session 1 – presentation of models and good practices, including a short overview of the existing funding opportunities in the Centru Region for developing these green communities. Presentation of Viscri and Toplita Communities were made.

Session 2 - the second session started with the presentation of the results of the study conducted in Centru Region on the impact of COVID 19 on the biomass use and forestry sector and contiunued with 2 presentations from the BIO4ECO PPs from Finland and Catalonia, on regional approaches for supporting green commuities and social and environmental responsibility criteria used for forest fires prevention.

 The workshop ended with debates and discussions between particpants. The questions raised were:

- What are the challenges of your communities in the transition to green communities: carbon neutral economy, energy efficiency targets?

- Do you consider that the policies and programs for 2021-2027 are in line with the needs of the communities?

- Are the immediate priorities and needs of your communities in line with the objectives of Green Deal?

- How can be integrated the lessons learnt from the BIO4ECO learning exchange into the policy instruments tackled in each region?

After the workshop all participants were invited to walking tour in the village, including presentation of the fortified church.

Field Trip in Sinca Veche

The second day of the event was dedicated to field trip at Sinca Veche Virgin Forest. The field trip started with a stop in Sercaia at the Forestry Service managing the forest of Sinca Veche. Gere a presentation of the management of the Ancient and Primeval Forest Forest was made. After this brief presentation all participants departed with 4X4 cars in the virgin forest.

During the 2-hours walk in the forest, the BIO4ECO delegation was accompanied by profesor Catalin Petritan and Tudor Stanioiu from Transilvania University, who presented their research conducted in Sinca Veche forest.

After lunch, the lunch included a short visit of the Rupestral Monastery of Sinca Veche /Temple of Wishes, one of the oldest cave monasteries in Romania. According to several researches that have been undertaken in this area, Sinca Veche Monastery is supposed to be even older than 7,000 years, being founded by the same ancient civilization that built-up the White Temple, located on the Snake’s Island. This temple, according to some historians, unique in the world, was the refuge for Transylvanian monks when they were asked to abandon the Orthodox belief, by an order given by Maria Teresa in 1762.