Sustainable regional economy
It is possible to sustain an economic system of commerce, services, and infrastructures that are based on and acts rationally for the benefit of, local “assets”, such as residents, local businesses, communities, infrastructures, culture, landscape, history and so on. A sustainable regional system develops the community, preserves environmental resources for the benefit of future generations and acts rationally for the benefit of the region’s residents.
The Partnership for Regional Sustainability is developing a common strategy for the sustainable regional economy with meaningful dialog among the many stakeholders who are members of the partnership. The strategy deals with three central questions: what is the current situation in this field (what are currently the main problems and opportunities), what is the desired future situation (what are we aiming for) and what are the steps that must be taken in order to actually realize the defined vision. In order to develop a strategy, we set up a task group whose members represent the range of stakeholders. The group met for a series of workshops in which the main issues were defined, understandings were formulated with respect to the main aspects of the current situation in the region, and the desired future situation was developed. At a later stage of the process, the group determined aims for advancement, defined directions of action and suggested a range of projects for implementation.
What are the central issues that the strategy deals with?
Shared marketing platform Inclusive economy
Leveraging local assets Local employment
Alternative financial tools Local purchasing
Support and accessibility of local businesses
What’s happening in our region:
As part of the strategic process, Dr. Gili Baruch, the expert accompanying the task group, together with Irit Porat, assessed the current situation in the region of The Partnership. The region is characterized by a number of main trends:
- Most of the money that “flows in the region” comes from private incomes rather than from public investment by the councils. In other words, most of the money comes from the salaries of the region’s residents who earn a comfortable living.
- On the other hand, most of the commercial activity and services used by the region’s residents take place outside of The Partnership’s communities. In other words, most of the people spend most of their money outside of the region. Local businesses are losing.
- The daily patterns of most of the residents indicate relatively low local employment, which creates dependence on economic activity outside of the region.
- Strong economic inequality exists between Jisr al-Zarqa and the other councils participating in The Partnership for Regional Sustainability.
Examples of possible projects:
- Weekly market of regional produce only
- Internet store for regional marketing of regional produce
- Creation of a local currency for purchasing in local stores
- Networking and advertising of local businesses
- Establishing a purchasing mechanism for municipalities and public institutions in the region that gives preference to local suppliers and producers
HaMoshava High School in Zikhron Ya’akov is establishing a second-hand shop on the grounds of the school. The shop is being set up by the school’s students and is intended to begin serving the students and residents of the town in the current school year. The students will collect used and intact clothes and accessories, construct the shop space and set it up for selling products, and will also sell the items and oversee the daily operation and maintenance of the shop.
- Coffee-book project: a display of books by artists who published their books through private publishers in a local café in the town.
- The swap-meet project: a new project that aims to establish a platform for negotiation between people within the community who are interested in donating objects that they no longer need to people who are interested in receiving second-hand objects.