RCE Warsaw Metropolitan - 2019

GreenGo! Promoting role of green infrastructure in sustainable development of non-urban areas
Basic Information
Title of project : 
GreenGo! Promoting role of green infrastructure in sustainable development of non-urban areas
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Warsaw Metropolitan
Contributing organization(s) : 
UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Elżbieta Wołoszyńska-Wiśniewska
Organizational Affiliation: 
UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Friday, May 31, 2019
The European Union Biodiversity strategy for 2020
At what level is the policy operating?: 
The European Union Common Agricultural Policy
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Science curricula for secondary education
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Mazowieckie and Lubelskie Voivodeships
Address of focal point institution for project: 
UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre
Sobieszyńska 8, 00-764 Warsaw, Poland
Target Audience:
Community, Primary, Secondary, Teacher Ed., Youth (Informal)
employees of the local community offices
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Mazowieckie and Lubelskie Voivodeships are located in central and eastern Poland. Mazowieckie with the city of Warsaw - capital of Poland - is the richest region in the country. In both of the regions agricultural sector of the economy is quite important.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
Poland is perceived as a country that due to its traditional cultural landscape, characterized by a large ecosystem diversity, was able to maintain, to a large extent, the biodiversity associated with non-forest areas. Unfortunately, over the past 30 years, accelerated elimination of this important areas has been observed in favor of simplified landscapes. Main reason for this situation is the replacement of traditional ways of using the land with intensive food production. However, those green & blue, non-forest elements (green & blue infrastructure) in rural areas are not only crucial to keep cultural landscape alive but, predominantly, for keeping our environment (and thus, food) health and help farmers cope with climate change challenge.
September, 2015
One of the huge challenges of our times is to stop the loss of biodiversity and preserve the natural and semi-natural ecosystems in good condition - those ecosystems which can help us to fight climate change. But how can this be done in areas where care for food production seems to contradict the protection of nature and landscape values? One solution is to maintain and develop green infrastructure. So "GreenGo!" project was launched as a response to the need to broaden the recipients' knowledge about the role and methods of sustainable development of green infrastructure in rural areas. It was also linked to the need to better recognisition of local natural resources and strengthening of the relationships between project recipients to foster joint actions to protect and develop elements of green infrastructure in the local scale. Therefore, we decided to cover quite broad audience including representatives of local authorities, young people (aged 12-19), particularly those attending agricultural schools so farmers-to-be, and local community members as our target groups.
Main goal of the project was to increase ecological awareness of our receipients, and particularly:
* to broaden their knowledge about the role of green infrastructure in rural areas, showing practical examples of ecosystem services provided by ecological focus area (also in the context of climate changes adaptation),
* to educate them how to collect information about existing green infrastructure using geoinformation tools and how to plan maintenance and development of new green elements in a sustainable way,
* to change their attitude towards green infrastructure, proving that taking care of nature means also saving money (for municipalities and also individual farmers).
Activities and/or practices employed: 
In the frame of the project we:
1) Developed GreenGo! vortal with an interactive ‘knowledge base’ including wide range of information resources on green infrastructure (http://www.greengo.gridw.pl/);
2) Organized series of trainings, workshops and demonstration lessons for students, employees of local governments, members of Local Action Groups and all interested in the topic of shaping green infrastructure in rural areas (about 700 participants in total);
3) Proposed a competition for young people called "GreenGo! We are mapping green infrastructure! " with a goal to prepare local databased on green infrastructure elements – modern tools that would facilitate the management of the natural, landscape and cultural resources of the commune;
4) Developed an interactive geoportal application supporting inventory and mapping of green infrastructure elements which was used by all participants of the project;
5) Fostered integration of local communities and cooperation of young people, employees of municipalities, farmers, representatives of non-governmental organizations, experts for the sustainable development of green infrastructure – in some communities quite many people got involved in the competition mentioned above, helping students to collect information needed;
5) Organized series of educational picnics for local community members.
Size of academic audience: 
ca. 530 young people aged 15-19; ca. 70 officers from about 40 municipalities and more than 1000 members of local communities
As the main result of the project 15 local Green Infrastructure Databases has been developed. All the databases include GIS dataset, an inventory with information about the location of specific green elements (results of the extended fieldwork), as well as full report presented on the vortal including assessment of the current status and role of green infrastructure in the community. Furthermore, there are also suggestions included on how to maintain and develop GI in the area to help it provide ecosystem services in most comprehensive way. All GI Databases are available onlin at http://www.greengo.gridw.pl/projekty-szkol.

Those amazing local products are the result of the common work of ca. 180 young people (very often future farmers-to-be), local governments, farmers, foresters, experts from Centres of Agricultural Advisory Services, etc. And those GI Databases are the best prove that sometimes only little support is needed to make big change on the local level. They visually present changes in the level of knowledge, skills and attitudes of the project's participants and are available as an inspiration for all other communities.
Lessons learned: 
Through implementation of the "GreenGo!" project we’ve learned that to really engage people in a discussion about sustainable development of the area:
* activities need to be deeply set up in the local context so people can ‘feel the topic’;
* local resources should be used – knowledge and expertise of the community members and experts who have been living here for a long time;
* the results/effect of the work must be visible (presented to the broader audience) to help people feel that their engagement really matters;
* young people should be invited to the discussion as the full right members – with their creativity and potential they can propose solutions that we would have never think off.
Key messages: 
One of the huge challenges of our times is to stop biodiversity loss and preserve ecosystems so they can provide their services, helping us to fight climate change. How can this be done in areas where care for food production seems to contradict the protection of nature and landscape values? Maintenance and development of the green infrastructure, in a collaborative and inclusive way, is one of the solutions providing great opportunities for both, rural and urban, communities to grow.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
Activities of the RCE Warsaw Metropolitan are focused mostly within and in the neighborhood of the City of Warsaw. For many years, green infrastructure and ecosystem services it provides for the inhabitants has been a ‘hot topic’ in this area. We cannot speak about sustainable development of the urban areas without having GI in mind – not only as a way to cope with climate change but also to support us with food production (urban farming idea) or taking care of human health (air quality issues).
Project was co-funded by the National Fund for Environment Protection and Water Management and own funds of the UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon TrainingForLocalGovernments.jpg (209.3 KB) Training for local governments - officers learn how to use mapping tool to collect information about elements of green infrastructure and ecosystem services they provide UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre
Image icon LessonsForStudents.jpg (143.35 KB) Young farmers-to-be learning about GI UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre
Image icon EducationalPicnics.JPG (3.66 MB) Educational picnics - learning local communities about role of green infrastructure in adaptation to climate changes UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre
Image icon Fieldwork.JPG (3.84 MB) Young people during fieldwork UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre
References and reference materials: 
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level