In their June meeting, the Interreg North Sea Region Programme’s Steering Committee approved the project “PROWAD LINK”. The overall objective of the transnational project is to support sustainable economic growth in the North Sea Region (NSR) through the engagement of small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in nature conservation and to unlock the potential of nature heritage brands such as the Wadden Sea World Heritage brand as a driver for jobs and sustainable regional development. Starting this September, 14 project partners from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom will develop and test innovative tools and strategies for SMEs in the NSR. The goals of these measures are to improve access to brands provided by natural heritage sites with economic value, enhance SME sustainability in the NSR and develop innovative marketable offers and products in a co-creation process with knowledge partners. The Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS) is the project’s lead partner.
With a total budget of EUR 3.7 million over a period of three years, PROWAD LINK’s initiatives aim to increase revenue from sustainable offers and products, which transmit brand values and support protection of natural areas in the NSR, increase investment in sustainability and establish long-term collaborations in cross-sector knowledge partnerships on a regional and transnational level. All in all, the project works towards initiating new sustainable economic growth within the NSR and supporting continued development beyond the life of the project. The project builds on the 2011-2015 sustainable tourism project “PROWAD” (www.prowad.org) on sustainable tourism in the Wadden Sea World Heritage Destination and extends is network range beyond the tourism sector.
Among the 14 project partners are ministries, provinces, counties, municipalities, national parks, research organisations and universities from five different countries. The project will be carried out transnationally and implemented in selected pilot areas: the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site, Geiranger Fjord World Heritage Site, and The Wash & North Norfolk Coast European Marine Site. The partners aim to thereby ensure transferability of all outputs and results to designated natural areas and World Heritage properties on a national, European and potentially global scale.
PROWAD LINK is carried out in the framework of the Interreg North Sea Region Programme (www.northsearegion.eu) under the Programme Priority 1 “Thinking Growth” and the Specific Objective 1.1. “Develop new or improved partnerships between businesses, knowledge institutions, public administrations and end users with a view to long-term cooperation (post project) on developing products and services.” The programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union.