How to benefit from linking nature conservation and sustainable growth is the focus of the new Interreg project PROWAD LINK. To unlock the potential of nature heritage brands as a driver for jobs and sustainable regional development, this project will engage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in nature conservation. The first partner meeting in Hamburg on 25-26 September 2018 served as starting point of the project.
“With this project we want to create a nature business benefit cycle, meaning that we want to create innovative tools and strategies for SMEs to profit from nature heritage sites by protecting them”, says Harald Marencic, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS). CWSS is the project’s lead partner. The project has a total budget of EUR 3.7 million over the period 2018-2021.
The 14 project partners are ministries, provinces, counties, municipalities, national parks, research organisations and universities from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. The project will be carried out transnationally and implemented in selected pilot areas of 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.
At the meeting, the project partners set a plan to actively approach SMEs in the next months. The partners want to support SMEs in integrating the brand into their business models and initiate co-creation processes to develop marketable offers in the field of nature experiences, food and gastronomy, and travel and accommodation. In January 2019, a PROWAD Link Forum will be organized in the Netherlands which offers the opportunity for all interested stakeholders such SMEs, universities, NGOs and public authorities to develop input and get engaged with the new project. The project also offers SMEs to present themselves at the next ITB in Berlin in March 2019 and to exchange their experiences with other SMEs.
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.
PROWAD LINK is co-funded by and carried out in the framework of the Interreg North Sea Region Programme 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.