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Back On Track - Fostering the (re)integration of NEETs in rural areas

The project aims to create sustainable methods for involving rural NEETs, and supporting their social and educational integration.

In 2021, the European Union (EU) faced a concerning issue with a high percentage of young individuals aged 15 to 29 falling into the category of Not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEET). Specifically, 13.1% of young people were classified as NEET, which raised significant alarms, particularly in rural regions. This situation not only negatively impacted the well-being and living standards of NEETs but also posed threats to the social and economic sustainability of these areas.

To address this pressing challenge, the EU set a target to reduce the NEET rate to below 9% by 2030 and recognized the revitalization of rural regions as a shared European vision. In response, the Back on Track project was developed as a means to tackle these challenges and contribute to achieving these common goals.

Back on Track aims to foster the integration of rural NEETs into society, education, and labour market in the Danube Region. By implementing customized remote education & mentoring programs, rural NEETs experience an enhanced digital inclusion, resulting in strengthened resilience, increased intellectual potential and human capital. Additionally, through boosted virtual mobility, their overall quality of life improves significantly, paving the way for them to get back on track again.

To achieve its objectives, the project will establish a transnational cross-sectoral stakeholder network to ensure the long-term sustainability of its outcomes. It will also develop a strategy for successful outreach to rural NEETs, implement a mentoring programme and create an innovative digital training model tailored to the identified needs of rural NEETs. Through these efforts, the project aims to provide a pathway and new prospects for individual development, training and career orientation without the need to leave rural areas.

Project partners:
South Muntenia Regional Development Agency
ADEL Slovakia
DEX Innovation centre
Development Association NERDA
Pannon Novum West-Transdanubian Regional Innovation Nonprofit Ltd.
Philanthropy, Charitable Foundation of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Foundation for Improvement of Employment Possibilities PRIZMA
Human Innovation Group Nonprofit Ltd.
YES Forum Ltd.
Stara Zagora Regional Economic Development Agency
Ministry of Economy of Tuzla Canton
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia


The area of implementation of the Project includes the locality of Ilinčica (Tuzla) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Zlatibor district in the Republic of Serbia, and it aims to contribute to the increase of tourist offers and services in the cross-border area by strengthening the ability of the tourism sector to attract as many domestic tourists as possible.
The project is planned to further improve the tourist infrastructure of the Ilinčica excursion site in terms of equipping and upgrading the existing facilities intended for an active stay in nature. This will include, among other things, the construction and installation of a 100 m zip-line polygon, a 10 m rock climbing wall, and the arrangement of a recreational park for our youngest fellow citizens. A significant part of the activities will also relate to building the capacity of key players in tourism for the promotion of this type of tourist content and to activities aimed at promoting the concept of tourism based on staying outdoors.
The leading partner on the project is the Association for Development NERDA, and the partners from Bosnia and Herzegovina are the City of Tuzla and the Tourist Board of the City of Tuzla, and the Tourist Organization of Western Serbia, as a partner from Serbia.
The project is co-financed by means of the IPA II CBC SRB-BiH 2014-2020 and the total budget of the project is EUR 394,082.03.

Education4All - Advancing opportunities for inclusive education in elementary schools in Tuzla Canton

This project will contribute to the increased inclusion of children with disabilities in educational program in Tuzla Canton. It will be achieved through the educational workshops aimed at building the skills/capacities of inclusion support teams (teaching assistants, education/rehabilitation professionals and teachers) but also through the awareness-raising activities to be held with children/peers (schoolmates) on the topics related to recognition/respect of diversities.

Donor: U.S. Embassy

Enhancing Competitiveness of Women in Rural Areas of North-East BiH

Grant objective: To empower 60 women from 4 municipalities to access the market with their agricultural products and improve their prospects for generating income. Project beneficiaries will attend 3 sets of trainings aimed at building their skills and knowledge in quality control, sustainable food production, and digital marketing. After the completion of the first set of trainings, NERDA will organize a mentoring workshop at each location to help the trainees introduce health insurance and quality control in the production of their homemade products. These workshops will help the beneficiaries to apply the acquired knowledge. At the end of the project period, NERDA will publish a brochure containing the most important information from the training program related to improved standards in food production and processing, as well as new production opportunities of local women's associations. Short-term outcome: Gained new knowledge and skills in food processing/preservation and introduced international standards in food production.
Long-term outcome: Increased number of women involved in agricultural food production and joint initiatives in accessing the market opportunities. Changed attitudes and behaviors regarding dietary guidelines that will lead to the improved health of the population.

Donor: U.S. Embassy

Ecological aspects of healthy diet

Main objective of the project is to contribute to the increase of awareness and knowledge about the impact of a healthy diet on reducing the emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases in the area of the city of Tuzla. Specific objectives of the project are: 1. To improve the capacities of the Association for the Development of NERDA for holding educational workshops and conducting campaigns to raise public awareness on the topic of ecological aspects of healthy eating. 2. To increase the awareness of school children about the importance of consuming healthy food and its impact on human health and environmental protection. The expected results of the project are: 1. Held up to 4 workshops on the topic of ecological aspects of healthy eating; 2. Educated up to 60 children of higher elementary school grades on the topic of ecological aspects of healthy diets and raised awareness of the importance of healthy dieting and its impact on reducing the emission of harmful gases into the environment; 3. Produced a brochure on the ecological importance of a healthy diet in 500 copies and disseminated it in elementary schools in the area of the city of Tuzla; 4. Produced promotional material for the purposes of promoting the project and project results and disseminated it in schools in the area of the city of Tuzla.

Donor: EU / CRP

Green CBC – Cross-border Open innovation Bioeconomy network


Project Objective:

Project main objective is to establish a Cross-border Open Innovation Bio-economy Network (Green CBC Network) with the aim of increasing cooperation among SMEs, Business Support Institutions (BSIs) and R&D institutions. Series of educational events are organized for SMEs from the target area in order to increase their competitiveness. Apart from that, project partners are conducting a survey in order to identify the technological needs of SMEs, the capacities of R&D Institutions to meet those needs, as well as possibilities of BSIs in the target area to enhance collaboration between the two. The project also foresees establishing and equipping of one (1) green product design laboratory in Vinkovci (HR) and one (1) bio-chemical laboratory in Nikšić (ME).


The Lead Partner, Croatian Chamber of Economy (HR), is responsible for implementation of the whole project and coordination between project partners. It is responsible for the development of 3 types of questionnaires (1 for SMEs, 1 for Business-support Institutions and 1 for Research Institutions). Furthermore, it is responsible for organizing educational and brokerage event and roundtable in Split and for developing Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of the GreenCBC network and for setting up a Web platform as a tool for future collaboration in the targeted cross-border area.

Project Partner 2, Competence Centre Ltd. For Research and Development (HR), coordinates the development and establishment of a new green product design laboratory in Vinkovci. It is also responsible for development of tailor-made educations regarding “Market research” and “Cluster development”, and organization of an educational and brokerage event and roundtable in Vinkovci. One of CEKOM’s role is also coordination of implementation of the project’s communication activities.

Project Partner 3, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center Tehnopolis (ME), coordinates the development and establishment of a new bio-chemical laboratory in Nikšić. It is also responsible for organization of an educational and brokerage event and roundtable in Nikšić.

Project Partner 4, Northeast Regional Development Association (BA), is coordinating activities related to the creation of the Green CBC Network as a solution for enhancement of cooperation between small and medium enterprises in the targeted cross-border area.  It is also responsible for organization of educational and brokerage event and roundtable in Tuzla. Furthermore, it is in charge of developing the report on the cooperation between SMEs, Business-support Institutions and Research Institutions in the field of bio economy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Programme: Interreg IPA Cross-border Cooperation Programme Croatia – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro 2014-2020

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Pannonia-Adria Connection (PA.CON)


Project Objective:

PA.CON aims to contribute to the development of sustainable tourism by utilization and activation of unused natural resources of the CBC region. Common CBC problems: unused natural assets for tourism development, lack of adequate tourist infrastructure, low level of utilization of bird-watching tourism potential; underdeveloped human resources for tourism, uneven and “low reach” promotion of tourist attractions. PA.CON will enable better use of natural assets linked to bird-watching and will thus develop a new joint tourism offer - PA.CON regional thematic route, which will attract new visitors.

The main objective of the PA.CON Project is to directly contribute to development of sustainable tourism in HR, BIH, MNE targeted region by utilization and activation of unused natural resources and assets related to orintho-fauna. This will therefore be linked to the overall Programme goal, as it will lead to strengthening of the social, economic and territorial development of the Programme area. Specifically, by creating the joint tourism offer linked to ornitho fauna and natural resources, this project will strengthen and diversify the tourism offer through cross-border approach and will enable sustainable use of natural heritage in the CBC region.

Project partners:

Lead partner is Municipality of Nijemci from Croatia, while NiH partners are Tuzla City and Development Association NERDA, and aprtners from Montenegro are Center for Protection and Research of Birds - CZIP and Public Enterprise for National Parks of Montenegro.


PA.CON outputs are:

- 3 natural assets in Nijemci, Tuzla, and Skadar Lake area improved and made accessible to visitors,
- 150 target group representatives trained in order to improve capacities in the destination management and quality assurance system.
- All this will lead to 5000 new visitors in the CBC region.

Programme: Interreg IPA Cross-border Cooperation Programme Croatia – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Montenegro 2014-2020

Project duration: October 2020 – October 2022

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Sustainable University - Enterprise Cooperation for Improving Graduate Employability (SUCCESS)


Project Objective:

To modernize WBC universities through the strengthening University-Enterprise partnership in the areas of education and knowledge transfer based on the market needs with aim to improve student employability. Furthermore the project aims to enhance international cooperation and networking at the Regional/international level between universities and enterprises.

Specific objectives are:

• To develop relationships with the professional environment and to evaluate its needs and participation in education of students with aim to increase employability in WBC.
• To modernise 3 technical study programmes at each partner countries HEI by introducing practice-oriented teaching and by modernisation of study programmes and introducing entrepreneurship course.
• To reinforce existing and to establish new Start-up services.
• To create wide university-enterprise network in the Region as well as to set up innovative cooperation platform for the sharing of good practice between academia and business environment.

Project Partners:

International BURCH University, BiH, University of Novi Sad, University of Applied Sciences Kempten, University College of Enterprise and Administration, OBREAL, University of Eas Sarajevo, University Dzemal Bijedic Mostar, University of Tuzla, University of Montenegro, EOPKA University, University "Ismail Qemali" Vlore, Luigj Gurakuqi” University of Shkodra, NERDA, Elektroprivreda BH, Hiperion, Montenegro, CCIVD, Albania

Programme: ERASMUS +

Project Duration: November 2020 – November 2023




RESTART_4Danube - Podržavanje kreativnih industrija u urbanoj regeneraciji za ciljem jačanja Podunavlja


Cities in the Danube Region face challenges to develop a culture that generates public/private synergies to promote SMEs & stimulate creative urban communities. In order to overcome these challenges, the project’s main objective is to improve framework conditions & policy instruments by supporting the regional & local Specialization Strategy S3 for a new model of Urban Regeneration involving Culture & Creative Industries (CCIs).

In this manner, 3 specific objectives are defined:
• Develop a common strategy to support creative and innovative urban developments.
• Implement 5 Local Action Plans to boost transnational collaboration & develop cross-linkages across the Danube Region.
• Provide different opportunities & platforms for public authorities to discuss issues & exchange ideas.

As a part of the project pilot action, 5 Local Action Plans (LAPs) will be developed. The LAPs will significantly improve the transnational & institutional cooperation and enhance the capacity building.
• LAP 1 - New spaces for experimentation, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the CCI sector in Craiova, Romania.
• LAP 2 - Sustainable regeneration of industrial building in Rijeka, Croatia.
• LAP 3 - Transit-oriented development in Maribor, Slovenia.
• LAP 4 - Refurbishing heritage and historical buildings in Sárvár, Hungary.
• LAP 5 - Green urban regeneration in Vratsa, Bulgaria.

Expected results:

• a common strategy on creative urban regeneration for the Danube region,
• a new set of tools for Creative Urban Regeneration,
• the 5 Local Action Plans,
• a package of Cooperation Agreements between enterprises and research & development institutions,
• a package of Readiness Level Audits,
• a training toolkit with modules on Creativity and Urban Governance and on Urban Innovation Management.

The partnership comprises 25 project partners coming from 12 countries and is coordinated by University “Politehnica” from Bucharest, Romania. The project uses a quadruple helix approach through the collaboration of 11 public authorities, 7 companies & business support organizations, 4 higher education & research institutions and 3 civil society actors. The countries participating to the RESTART_4Danube project next to Romania are Germany, Slovenija, Croatia, Bulgaria, Austria, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Ukraine, Serbia, and Estonia.

Development Association NERDA will develop new tools for the support of SMEs active in creative industries in order to support them to be more present and implicated in the processes of urban regeneration.

By participating in this project, NERDA will work on connecting stakeholders in Bosnia and Herzegovina with partner organizations from other Partner’s countries.

Duration 07.2020 – 12.2022

The RESTART_4Danube project is co-funded by 3 European Union funds, the European Regional Development Fund, the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance and the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ERDF, IPA, ENI).

Budget in Euro

Overall: 1.814.895

ERDF Contribution: 1.348.100

IPA Contribution: 57.710,75

ENI Contribution: 136.850

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Renewable Energy Policy Consensus – REPCONS 2.0


Project Main Objectives:

Objective of the project is to develop a regional platform which will facilitate, in a systematic way, continuous dialogue and consensus building amongst opinion makers (experts from industry and academia) in the selected Western Balkans countries that should:
• Provide a structured tool for an independent “bottom-up” evaluation, performed by experts in the region, of the energy transition reforms and country performance/readiness for the energy transition in the WB power sectors;
• Support ambitious but realistic target setting on de-carbonization and development of policies and measures, during preparation of the NECPs that will spur sustainable investments in the power sector, especially in solar and wind power plants;
• Promote the energy transition as a development opportunity and also as an important component of the post COVID-19 “green recovery plan”.

Project Expected Outcomes:

It is expected that the activities in REPCONS 2.0 project will have the following outcomes:
• Enable monitoring of the performance of governments in realization of strategic development documents on a continuous base;
• Contribute to the understanding of root causes for the identified underperformance of the governments, state agencies and public utilities regarding the energy transition;
• Provide proposals how to increase the pace of the energy transition supported by expert analyses;
• Increase awareness of importance of the energy transition as a development opportunity especially in a wide expert community;
• Support strategic planning processes, especially preparation of the NECPs;
• Initiate discussion and provide proposals on possibilities how the energy transition could be an important factor for the post-COVID-19 “green recovery”.

Source of Funding: European Climate Foundation (ECF)

Project Implementation Area: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro

Project Duration: 12 months (January 2020 - January 2021)

Project Lead Partner: Development Association NERDA, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Project Partners:
Association for Sustainable Development (ASOR), Serbia; Climate and Energy Action Network - CLEAN, Montenegro.

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