CIFAL Findhorn is now formally designated as a UNITAR Associated Training Centre.
On Friday, September 22 representatives of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Moray Council, Findhorn Foundation, and the UK Mission to the United Nations signed an agreement for the opening of the CIFAL Findhorn training centre in Scotland.
The centre is part of the CIFAL network (French acronym for International Training Centres for Local Actors) and will bring regular delegations to Scotland to learn about advances in environmental planning and sustainable development. Regular seminars and trainings will be hosted at the Findhorn Foundation and Moray College from November onwards. These are aimed for local government officials, civil society leaders and diplomats from around the world. The centre will specialise in environmental policy and best practice in sustainability. This establishment of this centre is the culmination of nearly a decade of continuous work in partnership with the UN.
Convener of The Moray Council, Councillor Eddie Coutts, said: “No one in this field can work in isolation today, and the sooner a network of energy-aware bodies starts to work together the better. For Moray, this is a wonderful opportunity to put ourselves on the international map as never before, and I am proud that Moray Council has been able to support the CIFAL Findhorn project from the outset.”
Representing the Local Authority in Geneva for the signing director of environmental services, Bob Stewart said: “I am delighted that Moray has been recognised by UNITAR as an excellent location for their first training centre in the UK. The Moray area has an excellent reputation for imaginative housing, crystallised by the building and projects undertaken at the Findhorn Foundation, making Moray an ideal location to train others in this important sustainable culture.”
The CIFAL Findhorn Project Director May East is also one of the signatories to the agreement with UNITAR. She said: ‘The Findhorn Foundation project team has been working for eight years to reach this stage. It is expected that we will offer five training sessions in the first year of activities, the first of which is Sustainable Energy Solutions in November. This will be done in partnership with the Moray College UHI Millennium Institute. We are overjoyed about all these developments.’
Scottish Minister for Rural Affairs, Ross Finnie, welcomed the agreement. ‘I recently met with a delegation of representatives from Findhorn to discuss the project and was very encouraged and interested to hear about the progress that has been made. Indeed, The Scottish Executive is supporting the project through financial and other assistance delivered via the local enterprise company Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Moray. The Scottish Executive very much welcomes the establishment of the CIFAL centre at Findhorn and I wish to offer my congratulations to all those involved in the project for their efforts to date and for having reached this important landmark in the process.’