The term “sustainable development” has firmly established in the modern fashionable expressions. Although, it is willingly used by politicians and public figures, the meaning of the expression is not always clear. What does “sustainable development” mean? What does it have to do with our lives?

Today, a region’s socio-economic and technological progress is considered sustainable only if the interests of three parties – business, society and nature – are respected. To put it simply, if entrepreneurs achieve their goals by killing the environment or harming society, we are not talking about sustainable development, but about the criminal life of one day. Some examples are around the corner: poaching, stealing trees from forest belts, ploughing riverbanks, usage of dangerous pesticides in the fields. 

Despite the preoccupation with everyday life and the generally bleak atmosphere of our lives, the people of Bessarabia find time to think about the future of their native land. It is not surprising, as the present landscapes of Bujak and the Danube region look like a chaotic landfill in some places and we all have to live in its midst…

The Horodne Community could probably be one of the pioneers of the environmental movement in our region. Recently, Bessarabia.UA informed its readers about local eco-projects. This spring, in the Territorial Community, in the framework of the big initiative “Together we shall preserve the clean environment of our native shore!” local residents were surveyed about their environmental concerns, and training began for eco-ambassadors – schoolchildren ready to join environmental work and promote it in their neighborhood by involving others in the cause. In April, a hundred and fifty Crimean pine trees were planted marking the beginning of the restoration of the Horodne forest.

These were the first steps towards the implementation of a long-term comprehensive programme on environmental protection and sustainable management of natural resources that will be implemented over the next four years. Two other key events were recently held in Horodne: an environmental awareness training session and a strategy one. High school students and adults – representatives of the village council and deputies – met again with representatives of the project. The citizens talked about pressing environmental issues, potential threats, ways out and “points of growth”. They were disturbed by the loss of greenery, the poisoned air, the exhaustion and contamination of the soil of their native land, pollution of waste, silting and pollution of water and groundwater – suffice it to mention that in Horodne all drinking water is brought, and wells with clean water in these parts are long gone…

– We had a lively and informative conversation,” said Valentina Stoykova, the Project Manager. – Children listed main issues, the adults made this range of problems clear, so now we are developing a concept of great work programme to be implemented in the coming years. It is encouraging that children and adults are enthusiastic: the residents of Horodne feels the desire to be helped in a vitally important initiative.

In the coming days, the finalized long-term action plan will be discussed further with the community and village councillors. The comprehensive development program will cover several areas: the protection of water and air, the preservation and restoration of land, and the preservation and reproduction of flora and fauna. If successful, the Community will create favourable living conditions for the population and preserve the landscape and biodiversity. There will be a model system of territories and objects of the natural reserve of the country. Finally, the popularization of environmental knowledge will contribute to the enhancement of the environmental culture of the population, the “activation” and the involvement of people in important political decisions. As already stated, the sustainable development of the region is possible only in the presence of all three “pillars”: ecological, business and public.

It should be added that the project “Together we shall preserve the clean environment of our native shore!” is implemented by the Bessarabia Development Centre Public Organization in partnership with Horodne village council. The project is implemented under the financial support of the Lion Society (Lviv, Ukraine) funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (Washington DC, USA).

Bessarabia.UA editorial board note: The views expressed in this publication may not coincide with the point of view of the Lion Society (Lviv, Ukraine) or the National Endowment for Democracy (Washington DC, USA) and do not necessarily reflect their position on this issue.