Lavender field to help local residents attract green tourists

25 Jul 2013


During her visit to Bakhchisaray, Crimea, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Alessandra Tisot met with Mr. Ilmi Umerov, Head of the District State Administration, and local community of Turgenevka village.

Since the mid-1990s Bakhchisaray district was one of the key beneficiaries of a number of UNDP projects. Recently, a large number of community leaders participated in a series of capacity building activities in the area of project design, investment promotion and strategic planning provide by the EU/UNDP project Support to the Regional Development of Crimea. The brand of Bakhchisaray District, investment passport, an industrial park layout, the catalogue of services providers and other documents to attract investors to the region were developed within the project. In addition, a well-qualified team able to prepare and submit proposals to international and national funding sources had been formed.

Before, from 1995 till 2001, Crimean Integration and Development Project (CIDP) has implemented a number of project in Bakhchisaray focusing on improving water supply system in compact settlements, supporting business development and youth centres, as well as the first aid posts. UNDP CIDP supported Bakhchisaray in developing its ten-year Strategy of Socio-Economic Development that has been adopted by the District Council in 2009.

"UNDP is a long-term partner of Bakhchisaray district. Since 2002 to 2007 with the UNDP’s support the district implemented a number of projects on 6.6 million UAH, 50% of which was provided by the Programme. The support corresponded to phases of district development – starting from basic community projects to elaborate industrial part planning and strategies. The knowledge is embedded into concrete products developed together and people who continue working for the district” explains Ilmi Umerov, Head of the District State Administration of Bakhchisaray District, “Currently we support local community initiatives, such as Lavender Festival in Turgenevka village, The Battle of Alma conference in Vilino village within UNDP’s Sustainable Development of Crimea project, and are very interested in supporting any new community projects in our District, as well as improving of the city and district aesthetics with the help of revitalization.”

Between 2002 and 2009, 57 community projects and 5 projects to support tolerance building and democratic governance in schools were funded by UNDP. To help local economy, one agricultural servicing cooperative providing tillage services was supported by UNDP. Moreover, during these years the project provided capacity building and advisory services on a number of topics, including strategic planning, rural tourism, and economic development. Recently a new UNDP project helped the community and local authorities to develop an industrial park concept and the branding and communication strategy of Bakhchisaray district.

“The synergy of the District State Administration and community for the sake of the city and the district development which focus on systematic approach to revitalization, community mobilization and public-private partnership is really impressive. I look forward for further cooperation of my UNDP colleagues in the district in creating a win-win situation for the government, local business and the community” – stressed UN Resident Coordinator.

Visiting Bakhchisaray district Ms. Tisot, has met with the community leaders of Turgenevka village where Sustainable Development in Crimea: transformational models for rural territories and advisory services” project was piloted since 2012. This project, as all the other initiatives implemented by UNDP in Crimea, has a cross-cutting conflict prevention component. Turgenevka village is a multi-ethnic village, where formerly deported people represent roughly half of the population. The project is helping to improve local economy through attracting tourists to the village and the biggest lavender field in Europe located in the vicinity. To this end with UNDP support local residents have recently organized the first “Mountainous Lavender” festival that attracted over 500 participants and caught attention of local media. In the near future it is planned to build a flower yard producing various flowers, bushes and trees. This will help create jobs and to boost income for people of Turgenevka.

“People’s enthusiasm, energy and strive for changes to the better give inspiration and desire to move forward and jointly solve problems which seem unsolvable at first,” shares Tatyana Golovko, representative of the Ukrainian House organization. “Community self-organization provides opportunities for economic growth, development and belief in better future. This belief and the acquired knowledge helps us to move forward and develop new projects, such as creation of a flower yard on one of touristic paths in our village – a place where tourists can take a break and enjoy the view; building a playground for children, and much more to make Turgenevka a beautiful, hospitable and prosperous village,” Ahtem Emirov, leader of community organization in Turgenevka added.

Addressing to the community member Ms.Tisot expressed her appreciation to the community leaders and their achievements: “Turgenevka village community must be proud of what you have achieved. Starting from the point with no gas in the village you were able to mobilize human potential, showed economic benefits of your activity to the authorities, and brought new economic opportunities to the village and, literally, to the entire district.”