Baltic Ecovillage Network gathered in Järna, Sweden










Utilising the week of international meetings in the Swedish town of Järna, the Baltic Ecovillage Network (BEN) held its third annual meeting back to back with the bigger REALS conference. The assembly had an impressive number of around 30 representatives physically present. As the assembly 2015 was carried out via skype, the well-attended annual reunion was a welcomed opportunity for activists to reconnect and catch up on events in the national networks and ecovillages of the Baltic Sea Region. BEN is a unique constellation of national ecovillage networks (full members) and other initiatives (associate members) in the countries around the Baltic Sea. It is both a full member of GEN Europe and founding member of the Europe-wide community initiative umbrella ECOLISE. As a macro-regional network within GEN, BEN attempts to assist the national networks and facilitate cross-border exchange between ecovillages facing similar climatic and geographic conditions. The meeting voted to widen the scope of the organisation to allow for full membership for Ukraine. Roman Kucherenko, representing the embryonic network of Ukrainian ecovillages was pleased by this move even if that network is not yet ready to apply for membership. The meeting voted in a new board with full members Ansa Palojärvi (GEN Finland), Sven Aluste (EEN, Estonia), Maxim Vlasov (ERO, Sweden), Irina Sardarova (REEN, Russia), Thomas Meier (GEN Germany) led by a new chairperson, Prokop Suchanec (LOES, Denmark) with Mia Saloranta, Robert Hall and Roman Kucherenko as auditors. The priorities of the new board are international teacher exchanges, sharing solutions, needs and offerings of the region’s ecovillages, BEN’s own EVS accreditation and a BEN researchers’ network and their research on critical issues for influencing.

Written by Robert Hall, GEN Europe