Ten years after the designation of the Wadden Sea as a World Heritage of Humanity and more than 40 years after the establishment of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation (TWSC), the Wadden Sea community has taken another milestone to deepen its cooperation. In the framework of today's Wadden Sea World Heritage Experience Festival on the occasion of the World Heritage title anniversary, representatives of the trilateral Wadden Sea Forum, environmental NGOs, the Wadden Sea research sector and sustainable tourism sector from Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands signed an agreement with the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation on the establishment of a “Trilateral Partnership in support of the UNESCO Wadden Sea World Heritage”.
Olaf Lies, Minister for the Environment, Energy, Construction and Climate Protection of Lower Saxony: “As a child of the coast, I feel a special responsibility to preserve this globally absolutely unique ecosystem for future generations. For this we need strategic partnerships. The United Nations show us how – with multi-actor partnerships for mobilization and for knowledge and resources sharing to achieve the sustainable development goals. Today is a good day for the Wadden Sea World Heritage. Today, the first strategic partnerships for the World Heritage have been sealed with a Memorandum of Understanding.”
In the names of trilaterally active networks their represent, 14 signatories put their seal on the Memorandum of Understanding during today's ceremony. Other representatives have already announced they intention to sign the Memorandum as well. Among other, it states that the transboundary cooperation for the protection of the Wadden Sea will be further strengthened under the umbrella of the “Wadden Sea World Heritage” brand and that the trilateral network beyond the governmental collaboration will be enhanced and intensified. The shared goal is to protect the world's largest tidal flats system, stretching for 500 km along the Danish, German and Dutch coasts from Esbjerg to Den Helder, and to preserve it for the generations to come. The Memorandum forms the basis for joint projects, ventures and a planned trilateral network establishment (“Partnership Hub”), which will find a home in the new building of the Trilateral Wadden Sea World Heritage Partnership Center in Wilhelmshaven from 2021 onwards.
The underlying partnership concept is being developed within the Interreg project PROWAD LINK, which runs from 2018 to 2021. The international project also aims at engaging and activating small and medium-sized enterprises to develop nature as a brand in co-creation, thereby unlocking the potential of natural areas as a driver for jobs and sustainable development. “The idea behind it is simple: nature conservation and sustainable development can and must support each other,” said Karin Lochte, Chair of the trilateral Wadden Sea Board and co-signer. “Enterprises built on regional, sustainable products and services benefit from an intact nature. Consequently, it makes sense to work for the conservation of nature. A win-win situation arises.” PROWAD LINK is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the framework of the Interreg North Sea Programme.