Wadden Sea Day 2014

The Wadden Sea - an international role model for transboundary nature conservation,
management and stakeholder engagement

The Trilateral Community says farewell to Jens Enemark – the ‘founder' of the Wadden Sea World Heritage

After the press conference (from left): Co Verdaas (Chairman Wadden Sea Board), Elsa Nickel (German Federal Environmental Ministry BMUB), Jens Enemark (Head of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat), Stefan Wenzel (Minister of Environment Lower Saxony, Silke  Schneider (Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of the Environment), Holger Lange (Department of Urban Development and Environment, Hamburg), Peter Südbeck (National Park Lower Saxon Wadden Sea) (Photo:Imke Zwoch).

Wilhelmshaven, 28 August 2014. Over 200 participants from the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and international guest said farewell to Jens Enemark who retired after 27 years work as head of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat. At the 9th Annual Wadden Sea Day, the participants looked back to 35 years of successful trilateral cooperation on the protection of the Wadden Sea and the new potential and challenges that comes from one of the biggest achievements of the cooperation, the inscription of the Wadden Sea on the World Heritage List.

In his opening speech, Stefan Wenzel, Lower Saxon Minister for the Environment, underlined the role of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat and Jens Enemark as motor of the successful work: “Jens is the spirit and soul of trilateral Wadden Sea protection” he said. After the extension of the property with the Danish Wadden Sea and additional offshore areas in Lower Saxony, the Wadden Sea World Heritage is now complete. He underlined to use this opportunity to reinforce the Trilateral Cooperation by pooling the existing resources and setting up a central contact point such as a World Heritage Competence Centre.

Stefan Wenzel (Photo: M. Vollmer) Speakers at the Wadden Sea Day (Photo: M.Vollmer)

In their welcome addresses; Elsa Nickel (German Federal Environmental Ministry), Jaap Verhulst (Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs) and Peter Ilsøe (Danish Environmental Ministry) underlined that the Trilateral Cooperation with its Joint Declaration, the Wadden Sea Plan and the Trilateral Monitoring and Assessment Programme TMAP will safeguard to protect and maintain the Outstanding Universal Value for the benefits of generations to come. With the inscription of the entire Wadden Sea on the World Heritage List the Cooperation will enter a new era which with new potentials and new challenges. On behalf of the three countries they also thanked Jens Enemark for his dedicated work for the Cooperation.

Holger Lange (Department of Urban Development and Environment, Hamburg) and Silke Schneider (Environmental Ministry Schleswig-Holstein) provided regards from the German Federal States and also thanked Jens Enemark for his excellent and inspiring work. Fritz Langen (Mayor Wilhelmshaven) underlined the central role of Wilhelmshaven and its institutes in Wadden Sea science and protection and thanked the Secretariat for being international ambassador of the city.

Pedro Rosabal (IUCN) expressed his gratitude to visit the Wadden Sea again after IUCN’s field mission in August 2008 which led to the World Heritage inscription in 2009. “The Wadden Sea is an international role model for transboundary nature conservation, management and stakeholder engagement” he said, one of the most successful cooperation world-wide. The international community is looking on the Wadden Sea how it lives up to the responsibility which comes with the inscription. An integrated management plan as requested by the World Heritage Committee in June 2014 should pay particular attention to sustainable resource use. “The Wadden Sea has the potential to be a global example of excellence - it is now the time to realize this potential strengthening the Outstanding Universal Value of Wadden Sea” he said.


Hans-Ulrich Rösner (WWF) also regarded the Trilateral Cooperation as a success story: the Wadden Sea is now considered as ONE entity, much has been achieved in protecting it although problems remain, many people have been engaged in nature conservation and new partnerships have been established. However, many challenges have still to be addressed jointly across the Wadden Sea, such as impacts from outside, fisheries and by-catch, alien species, demands from tourism, renewables and fossil energy, as well as adaptation to sea level rise. He suggested concrete next steps and underlined the importance of an effective institutional frame to safeguard the OUV.

He presented “The 2014 Call for Action for the Wadden Sea” (photo left) in which 19 green NGOs from Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands urgently call for concrete activities to protect the Wadden Sea, in specific to focus the attention on the underwater world of the Wadden Sea, in specific to focus the attention on the underwater world of the Wadden Sea. The NGOs also offered support aligning the trilateral approach for fisheries in the Wadden Sea Region which should be fully in line with the protection goals and the ecological requirements resulting from the OUV.

James Rebanks (Expert Advisor to UNESCO) investigated the benefits of being a World Heritage Site by analysing the impact on its socio-economic system at over 800 sites. “Maintaining the OUV of World Heritage sites contribute to the survival of mankind – it depends on our ability to protect, cherish and live in places like the Wadden Sea” he said. He also underlined that World Heritage sites should be laboratories for finding solutions. Many people in the World are looking at Wadden Sea as an example when it comes to awareness, capacity building, strategic management, place-making, ownership, storytelling, as well as product development and investments. Great natural and cultural heritage is a key ingredient in building the future but all involved stakeholders need to get serious about getting there.

Karsten Reise (Professor Emeritus, Alfred-Wegener Institute, Germany) looked back to second half of the 19th century when the term “Wadden Sea” was mentioned the first time, and the ecological concept of “biocoenosis” was developed. At that time, the Wadden Sea was perceived as a “desolate and dreary landscape where death and destruction lurking treacherously on the tidal flats”. Since the beginning of the 20th century, this attitude has changed completely and natural values and protection of the Wadden Sea is a common societal goal. However, further effort is necessary to maintain the OUV and the high quality of management. Enhancing the Wadden knowledge and awareness, and engagement of citizen scientists as “mud observers” is of crucial importance. He suggested establishing a Science Council for the Wadden Sea and a professorship on coastal World Heritage Sites to support this task. In addition, the compendium “Ecology of the Wadden Sea” edited by Wim Wolff in 1983 should be updated and extended with World Heritage.

Walter Theuerkauf (former County Council Aurich and National Park Board, Lower Saxony) shared the experience on how Wadden Sea protection on national and international level has been integrated on the local level. He reminded the audience that support and commitment by stakeholders and local people for Wadden Sea protection was a result of the long process which started in the 1970s and with the establishment of the national parks in Germany in the mid of 1980s. After 25 years of cooperation, local people are now aware that intact nature is indispensable for their life and business. For example, today, tourism business and World Heritage build on the same nature values and their protection. ”Over 90% of the guests expect an intact nature and an adequate protection” he said, ”this is a good reason to continue and extend the joint effort around the strategy on Sustainable Tourism in the Wadden Sea World Heritage Destination”.

Andy Brown (International Advisor, UK) underlined that the Trilateral Cooperation is leading in terms of policy, management, monitoring and assessment. The World Heritage designation of the entire area now makes it easier to enhance the commitment by the governments and to focus on the management of the Wadden Sea as one entity. “Now it is time to check if all building blocks are in place to face the challenges” he said. Many elements are there such as the Wadden Sea Plan and other plans and strategies, but it has to be ensured that this is a coherent package aiming to focus the involvement of all stakeholders. Secondly, sufficient funding must be in place. Various funding streams should be strived for avoiding to be dependent only one source of funding such us state money. Thirdly, involvement of people is critical: getting politicians into the field, engaging senior officials, working together with scientists and NGOs, coordinated by an effective and engaged secretariat.

Gertjan Lankhorst (CEO GasTerra, NL) presented the results of the feasibility study on a Wadden Sea World Heritage Foundation which was prepared by a trilateral committee and presented at the Governmental Conference in Tønder, February 2014. “The new challenges and opportunities associated with the World Heritage status, now for the entire Wadden Sea, calls for the establishment of a World Heritage Foundation”. He underlined that the Foundation must supportive to aims and objectives of the World Heritage and governed by the Cooperation. The main activities of the Foundation are to manage and communicate the World Heritage Brand, to raise fund for World Heritage projects across the three states, including acquiring fund from other sources such as the EU. “By establishing a Foundation which acts in all three countries we can engage private partners to buy into the protection of the Wadden Sea and at the same ensure that quality and value of the World Heritage Brand is guaranteed” he said, “The feasibility study is there, now it is time for the Cooperation to make use of it.”

John Frederiksen (Denmark) took the audience back to the 1970s when the Wadden Sea as one coherent and valuable nature area was recognized. A small group of enthusiast from all three countries cooperated across borders for its protection “We were a bunch of guys ready to save the world” he said describing the pioneering role of the NGOs at that time. The first “Call of Concern” was signed by 50 NGOs across the Wadden Sea states in February 1982 – amongst others with a proposal to establish a joint secretariat which was then realized in 1987. In the following

1990s, the NGOs were also ahead in formulating a more holistic management approach instead of a case-to-case approach. This was then also reflected in the results in the Trilateral Minister Conferences in Esbjerg 1991, Leeuwarden 1994, and Stade 1997 with adoption of the Guiding Principle, the Ecological Targets, the Wadden Sea Plan and the TMAP.

Today, the World Heritage is the core business of the cooperation with demands even more than before a coherent management and protection across the three states. “We also have to ask ourselves if society involvement is already sufficient and how stakeholder can be it play an even larger role in World Heritage protection” he said. Only if these issues are taken up the World Heritage can be maintained and handed over to the next generation.

At the reception at the end of the Wadden Sea Day 2014, Jens Enemark took the opportunity to thank old and new colleague and friends, and his staff for the inspiring and trustful cooperation over so many years “It was a privilege to serve the Cooperation and, together with you, to develop the Wadden Sea conservation into one of the world’s leading nature conservation initiatives” he said.

Jens Enemark also introduced Rüdiger Strempel (right) as his successor at the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat. Rüdiger Strempel, who is a lawyer by training, has extensive experience in international marine conservation and was Executive Secretary to UNEP/ASCOBANS Secretariat and worked for the UN at several positions. He will start is new job as head of the Secretariat on 1 January 2015.












Moderation: Peter Südbeck, Director, National Park Authority Lower Saxon Wadden Sea

09:30 – 10:00

Registration & Coffee

10:00 – 11:00

Opening and Welcome Addresses

Stefan Wenzel, Minister of the Environment, Energy & Climate Protection Lower  Saxony

Elsa Nickel, Director General, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection, Building and Nuclear Safety

Jaap Verhulst, Ambassador to the Region North, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Directorate-General Nature & Region

Brief Statements by:

  • Peter Ilsøe, Deputy Director General, Nature Agency - Danish Ministry for the Environment,
  • Holger Lange, State Secretary, Department of Urban Development and Environment, Hamburg
  • Silke Schneider, State Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Agriculture, Environment and Rural Areas Schleswig-Holstein,
  • Fritz Langen, Mayor of Wilhelmshaven

11:00 – 11:30

Pedro Rosabal, Deputy Director, Global Protected Areas Programme, IUCN

World Heritage – A Conservation Instrument in a Global Perspective

11:30 – 12:00

Hans-Ulrich Rösner, WWF

The Wadden Sea Cooperation – Meeting the Challenges in a Changing World

12:00 – 13:00


13:00 – 13:30

James Rebanks, Rebanks Consulting

Rocket Fuel: Why Outstanding and Unique Places are Key to Our Journey into the Future

13:30 – 14:00

Karsten Reise, Professor Emeritus, Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

Wadden Sea World Heritage - Muddy Science and Fiction

14:00 – 14:30

Walter Theuerkauf, former Chairman County Council Aurich and Wadden Sea Advisory Board Niedersachsen

Wadden Sea World Heritage: From Global to Local – Integration into World Heritage

14:30 – 15:00

Andy Brown, Environmentalist, Conservationist and International Advisor

The Wadden Sea Cooperation, a Model for Trans-boundary Cooperation - Fit for the Future

15:00 – 15:30

Coffee Break

15:30 – 16:00

Gertjan Lankhorst, CEO, GasTerra

Wadden Sea World Heritage and Businesses: Partners in Conservation and Development

16:00 – 16:30

John Frederiksen

30 Years of International Non-Government and Government Work for the Wadden Sea - Reflections and Perspectives for the Next Decade(s)


Co Verdaas, Chairman Wadden Sea Board

Outlook and Perspectives - Closing

16:40 – 18:30


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