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The Carpathian Convention and green tourism

What is Ecotopia?
"Ecotopia" is the biggest international camp in Europe, involved in environmental and social issues, that has been held for over 13 years moving from country to country each year and is organized by a local grassroots environmental organization that is part of the EYFA network. Ecotopia has taken place in both Eastern and Western Europe, in Czech Republic, in France, in Hungary, in Holland in Germany, in Scotland, in Findland, in Bulgaria, in Ireland and this year it will be held in Ukraine.
Ecotopia is not only a camp or a non-formal educational event, but something extraordinary created when 300-2000 activists form their own ideal society for two weeks. Ecotopia is trying to be an eco-utopia in practice: non-pollutive, egalitarian, and just. Ecotopia is an example of ecological living with composts being used and waste being sorted. Equality means that all people coming to the camp are asked to take part in the everyday tasks and in the decision-making. Where possible Ecotopians participate in regional actions and clean ups, try to get local people interested in ecological problems and empower local organizations.
Furthermore, Ecotopia, also called EYFA's summer university, is a place to exchange experiences, spread information and enrich one's knowledge about the environment through workshops, debates and art. People form all over Europe and beyond come to share their skills, plan for campaigns and have fun.
Ecotopia is also remarkable for operating on the "Ecorate" system. Official bank exchange rates mean that people from some countries can't afford to participate in international activities. "Ecorates" is an alternative economic system based on living standards and income of people involved in the network rather than financial markets, which means that you pay for e.g. food at Ecotopia the same amount as you would pay for it in your own country.

For the first time Ecotopia is going to come to an ex-Soviet republic which means more people from former USSR, who are often left outside Europe-wide processes due to visa problems and high travel costs, will be able to join the international activist community. Therefore we especially encourage activists from Caucasian and Central Asia countries to participate in the gathering. Western Europeans at the same time will be able to discover what life is like where it used to be "the other side of the iron curtain".

A small village of Sheshory, Kosiv district, Ivano-Frankivsk region is going to host Ecotopia this year. The village is situated in a picturesque place in the Carpathian mountains, that is the considered to be the centre of Ukrainian ethnic crafts and culture. Residents of Kosiv district are, for the time being, the only ones in Ukraine's Carpathian region who chose to improve their living standards by developing recreational and cultural capacities of their land, rather than by logging and selling timber.

How to get there?
Ecotopians are encouraged to use sustainable transport methods to get to the gathering be it by boat, train, bus, foot or bike.

The basic venue to make for in Ukraine is Ivano-Frankivsk
For those coming from Russia, Belarus, Caucasus, Central Asia, Scandinavia:
Take train Kiev -- Ivano-Frankivsk (a night train), then take bus Ivano-Frankivsk -- Kosiv (the bus station is near the train station), and then bus Kosiv - Sheshory. The local authorities might arrange more frequent buses for the time of Ecotopia.
From St.Petersburg (Russia) through Minsk (Belarus) there is a train to Lviv. From Lviv there are trains to Ivano-Frankivsk.
For those coming from Western Europe: Take train Przemysl - Lviv to ivano-Frankivsk, then take bus Ivano-Frankivsk - Kosiv (the bus station is near the train station), and then bus Kosiv - Sheshory.

Or: Take bus Prague - Kosiv, and then bus Kosiv - Sheshory. More detailed information with transport schedules and fares will be available on registration.

There is a possibility to go to Ecotopia by rather cheap mini-bus from different points in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, (maybe Spain) that will take Ecotopians directly to the site in Sheshory and back home. The fare should be not more than 80-90 Euros one way and 150 Euro return (the price for those who is going from the Netherlands).
The bus-company works a bit as a taxi. You phone and make an appointment when and from where you are going and the driver picks you up on his way to Ukraine.
The contact of the bus company V.I.P. in Kiev, Ukraine: +38-044-2372315
Contact organisers at, or

For those that have the time, a bike tour to Ecotopia across Poland and Western Ukraine is organised for a few weeks preceding the gathering . More info at

Travel reimbursement
For some participants with difficulties in attending the gathering (e.g. due to economically disadvantaged country of origin), there is a limited budget for travel reimbursement. If you really can't afford to pay for your travel costs and visa, you'll have to fill in an application form in advance explaining in which way you're planning to be active in / contribute to Ecotopia and the reason for the travel reimbursement. Because the organisers usually get more requests for travel reimbursement than they can meet, you may be offered to cover only some part of your costs. Usually we reimburse not more than 70% of travel costs, but there are exceptions of course. If you'd like to ask for reimbursement, please point that in the application form before 1st of July.

Camp Life
Day-to-day policy at Ecotopia is made by consensus at the daily morning circle. This is when the day's activities such as workshops, actions, recreational activities and important housekeeping information are announced. People volunteer to help out with various chores, e.g. collecting firewood, heating water for showers, cooking, cleaning, etc.
In order to satisfy all dietary requests we plan to serve delicious vegan food made from local organic products. However, those who are vegetarians, will be able to buy inexpensive local diary products at the small market that is planned to be arranged at the campsite. There will be a participation fee of approximately 5-7 ecos (not finalised yet). For Ukranians for instance it is about 2 Euro per day. You'll be able to calculate the actual costs after we have the ecorate system for the year 2003 up-dated.
At the site there will be a reception area, a camping area, a dining area and a recreational area. Showers and compost toilets will be provided. A few big tents will be erected to conduct workshops and accommodate people for the night. At the same time, we do encourage you to bring your own tent, so that you don't feel crowded and uncomfortable.
There will be a possibillity to live at houses of locals in a village. Please point that in the application form.
In the evenings there are events related to the previously announced Ecotopia theme. This is also the time when you can relax, perform or enjoy various performances: music, dance, films, street theatre.
On August 27 the ethnic music festival will take place at Ecotopia, presenting music from Ukraine, UK, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Russia, Moldova and Belarus.

Theme and Workshops
There is a different theme at Ecotopia every year, based on relevant issues for the host country.
The main themes of "Ecotopia 2003 - Ukraine" are YOUNG PEOPLE AND CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES ON HUMAN RIGHTS and on a very important for the region subjects - the Carpathian Convention and green tourism.
The Carpathian convention is to be signed at the 5th Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" that is to take place on May 2003 in Kiev. The organisers see Ecotopia as a chance to attract attention of local residents of the Carpathian region to the problem of preservation of the Carpathian mountains. Green tourism is considered as an environmentally-friendly way for the region's economic and social development, alternative to logging. In fact, Ecotopia will be the first large-scale practical "green tourism" project in the district.
The success of the educational component of Ecotopia depends on people coming forward with ideas or offers for workshops. You or your group are encouraged to contribute to Ecotopia by presenting a workshop. It can be related to such topics as human rights, environmental awareness, green tourism, climate change, non-violent direct action training, GMO, immigration, organic agriculture, racism and xenophobia, human rights, globalisation, intercultural differences, independent media and alternative culture, "terrorism" and global conflicts, vegetarianism, ecological building, Ukrainian history and traditions or whatever you find interesting and useful for other participants.
Please, contact us as soon as possible on your proposed workshop as we need to coordinate the basic frame of the programme. At the same time, if you are brand new to these ideas, there is no compulsion on participants to present a workshop. All are welcome to come and learn more. Please find the worshop form on our web-site.
Full programme will be available a bil later.
For the simultaneus translations we are going to use radio transmitter. Please bring your own portable radio with headphones.

GREEN DOSSIER. Green Dossier's major activities aim to promote environmental education and raise public environmental awareness through dissemination of information on the environment and environmental problems in mass media. It is a non-profit group established in 1994. Its volunteers and staff members are mostly young people under 30. Among other Green Dossier's current projects are the establishment of East-West European network of environmental NGOs with the help of ICT, informational support for the Kiev-2003 conference.
The participants from CIS can contact GREEN DOSSIER on Russian, Irina
SVIT. The Ukrainian NGO working group on volunteering, SVIT (Solidarity, Volunteering, Initiative, Tolerance), was formed in fall 2000. The word "svit" means "world" in Ukrainian.Through its name, SVIT members indicate their willingness to learn about volunteer initiatives internationally and to share their experiences both internationally and within Ukraine.
The participants from CIS can contact SVIT on Russian Julia Myasyshcheva, Olga Malakhova

Mailing list
You can be subscribed on Ecotopia2003 mailing list and get all the Ecotopia news if you go there:
All the questions about Ecotopia 2003 send on
EYFA telephone number +31-20-6657743.
Tel. number of EYFA representer in Kiev is +38-044-411-18-85 (Javier)

Data: 23.06.2003  


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