From 8 to 11 May 2017, over 130 experts on the Wadden Sea met in Tønder at the 14th International Scientific Wadden Sea Symposium (ISWSS), organized by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, the Danish Wadden Sea National Park, and Tønder Municipality. In a plenary-style conference, the scientists presented research findings and discussed methods as well as research topics. The focal subject of the symposium was the Trilateral Research Agenda (TRA), a blueprint for necessary future trilateral research regarding the Wadden Sea World Heritage and surrounding area through the lens of multiple disciplines. The Agenda will be presented and adopted by political representatives of Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands at the 13th Trilateral Governmental Conference in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, in May 2018. The symposium was attended by guests from two delegations from the Republic of Korea: delegates of the Korea Marine Environment Management Cooperation and representatives of NGOs concerned with the Getbol tidal flat.
Professor Jouke van Dijk, Director of Waddenacademie and chairman of the TRA working group: “The symposium was an essential step on our road to finalizing the Agenda. During these three days I saw a general acknowledgement of the scientific community that the TRA is needed. Of course, there were some controversial points in the discussion, but the need was never in question. I was especially happy with being in a plenum, because it allowed us to talk about the different elements of the TRA across disciplines. We have also got concrete feedback on the draft, enabling us to formulate concrete research questions. All in all, I deem the symposium a success.”
Dr. Martin Döring from the Institute of Geography, University of Hamburg, one of the presenters at the symposium: “Talking to fellow scientist from different fields was an excellent opportunity to reflect on my own research and future steps in view of a social science and geography perspective on the Wadden Sea area. I was able to gain new insights and update my general knowledge.”
Jiyoung Jang, Eco-Horizon Institute, Republic of Korea: “I especially enjoyed the fact that the symposium’s participants came from universities, state institutions, and NGOs. There was an open discussion across sectors and disciplines, which was a good way to understand the complexity and incite people to look beyond their own discipline.”