It was the Social Ecological Institute, SIE (www.sie.org.pl), that was behind the January 1996 initiative to found an association provisionally labeled as “Pro-Development Coalition”. The Social Ecological Institute is a non-government organization focused primarily on sustainable development of the rural gminas (communes) in Mazowieckie Voivodeship (province). The underlying assumption of the above said project was that a partnership covering the areas of 3 local gminas – of Winnica, Pokrzywnica and Zatory – with similar business profiles (predominantly agricultural communes depending on a small farm economy) and with similar community and natural environments, should be developed. In June, 2006, the coalition acquired a new legal status as a Local Action Grup (Lokalna Grupa Działania, LGD). Its work was undertaken in stages. In the years 2007 and 2008 the LGD got its first experience working towards sustainable development. The partnership expanded when 6 other local gminas joined in, and the Local Development Strategy for the years 2009-2015 was designed. In 2007, LGD’s application for grant assistance from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism was approved, which provided the association with funds necessary to cover its office related costs and to broaden the scope of its operations in 2008. As a result, an office staffed with 2 personnel was established. LGD’s primary operational goals included member training, further development of the association, as well as territorial spread of the partnership and its participation in the EU funded LEADER Program in the years 2007-2013.
Since “Green Bridges over the Narew” LGD originated from a grassroots initiative, it did not formally include members of the local governments concerned. However, it was vital to convince the local authorities to cooperate more tightly, to delegate relevant staff, and to join as legal persons. In each of the interested gminas, the LGD Management Board had information meetings with the heads of the local administration, including that of the local villages and of groups of such villages, and with local councillors. As a result, from January to December, 2008, resolutions to join LGD were passed in all the 7 gminas within the administrative borders of the poviat (county) of Pułtusk, and in two gminas belonging administratively to Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki (Nasielsk and Pomiechówek). The partnership grew stronger over the successive period of consultations and meetings held towards the end of 2008 and aimed at designing the Local Development Strategy.