The European Baykal – regional development inspired by the European Landscape Convention
The Smolensk region and its lake Sapsho, is situated in the West of Russia. It was called the European Baykal by the famous traveller and scientist Przhevalsky. After the loss of 1000 jobs through the close-down of the sanatorium and the decline of the forest industry, an enormous rural exodus took place with empty houses, degradation, pupils leaving for studies and not coming back. The very modern school was built for 1000 pupils, right now there are 200. It seems that the National Park today is the biggest employer with 100 jobs. However it is not clear if this is known to the people. There is a surprising number of private investments and innovation activities – unfortunately not yet in a cooperative manner. The NLSF developed the idea of the territory of sustainable development, based on eco-tourism. The project was inspired by the European landscape Convention and brought forward after a German-Russian working meeting.