The Partnership Hub (the Hub) aims to unlock the full potential of the UNESCO World Heritage designation in creating new opportunities and strengthening existing cooperation for partners working together in support of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). In the Hub projects and activities are initiated, supported, or further developed and collaboration among strategic partners’ networks is facilitated. Following the guiding principles of sustainable development, within the Hub new opportunities are created for old and new partners, both from the public and private sectors as well as civil society.
The Hub started with representatives from the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation (TWSC) and the main sectors involved in the existing trilateral work: the Wadden Sea Team of Green NGOs (WST), education, research, tourism, and the Wadden Sea Forum (WSF). The administrative aspects of the Hub are handled by the Partnership Hub Administration Unit (the Admin Unit), which also has a supporting role in project and activity development.
The partners have agreed to general principles with regards to how common initiatives and projects should be oriented. These activities should contribute to the protection of the OUV, and they should involve stakeholders from different sectors and across international borders, which is why they are eligible for co-branding with the Wadden Sea World Heritage brand. This will underpin the projects and activities status as Wadden Sea World Heritage (WSWH) branded initiatives. The full list of common principles can be found in the annex to the Partnership Hub Concept.
The activities and projects of the Hub extend and build upon the existing efforts within the Trilateral Partnership in support of the UNESCO Wadden Sea World Heritage – such as International Wadden Sea School, Network Group Education, Network Group Sustainable Tourism, Interreg VB North Sea Programme Project Prowad Link, Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative, Trilateral Programming Committee on Wadden Sea Research, as well as other international collaborations.
Current projects and activities within the Partnership Hub
Trilateral Dark Sky Initiative
The Trilateral Dark Sky Initiative aims to highlight the importance of nocturnal darkness for both the ecosystem and humans and intends to unlock the opportunities linked to its preservation. The natural alternance between day and night is of high ecological value, and its preservation contributes to support and enhance the protection of the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site. Additionally, the recreational benefits of nocturnal darkness are as yet underused, and their inclusion in the Initiative can make important contributions in terms of benefitting the ecosystem and human health.
The initiative is organised by the PH Admin Unit and the Dutch ‘Programma naar een Rijke Waddenzee’ (PRW), with participation from a wide range of organisations, authorities and individuals.
More information can be found under www.waddensea-forum.org/topics/core-issues/dark-sky and under rijkewaddenzee.nl/en/experience-the-darkness/
Sharing and developing knowledge to strengthen the contribution of shipping to a well-protected Wadden Sea World Heritage
The Wadden Sea is a globally outstanding ecosystem of highest biodiversity value. Yet the area is under increasing anthropogenic pressure. The southern part of the North Sea is one of the world’s busiest shipping areas and thus far efforts to strengthen ecologically- and climate-friendly shipping have been limited. This project aims at developing incentives for positive change in shipping and ports with regards to this extraordinary World Heritage site also by acting as a catalyst for constructive and viable solutions for ports and shipping based on cooperation amongst different actors. The long-term vision is sustainable and environmentally friendly shipping and port operation in and around a healthy and well-protected World Heritage Wadden Sea.
The project consortium consists of Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V. Landesverband Niedersachsen (BUND), Danmarks Naturfredningsforening (DN), Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. (NABU), Stichting De Noordzee (North Sea Foundation, NSF), Waddenvereniging, WWF Germany (WWF) and the Wadden Sea Forum (WSF).
Including young people in environmental decision-making processes has long been recognised to be essential for the future sustainable management of our natural resources. The organisation of an annual summer school on topics relevant to the Wadden Sea, intends to provide learning and networking opportunities for students, young researchers, and interested youth from other sectors. The exchange with young people and their engagement will support the pursuit of the goal stated in the Trilateral Research Agenda: the successful and sustainable management of the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site, recognising that the region requires a very good understanding of the underlying environmental and socio-economic processes. The Summer School offers an ideal platform to connect young people with experts from the entire Wadden Sea Region including senior researchers, policy makers and other key players, while highlighting the prominent role of monitoring, research, and science.
The Initiative is a being developed in cooperation between the PH Admin Unit and the Dutch Wadden Academie. New partners for this initiative are currently being sought.
The Partnership Hub Admin Unit is also supporting other initiatives and assisting projects in their initial phase, among others:
Seals and Tourism
Harbour and grey seals are the largest mammals found in the Wadden Sea, which is a habitat of global importance for marine mammals. These marine mammals are not only important in terms of ecology, but also for tourism, as they contribute to local economies such as through seal watching boat trips. The project aims to encourage a balance between the needs of the mammals and their environment and the development of local economy, by investigating the relationship between seals and tourism considering both nature conservations needs and the interests of the tourism sector.
Sediment Solution Initiative
The natural dynamics of the Wadden Sea, including the movement of enormous amounts of sediment around the site, constitutes one of the three criteria for which the Wadden Sea has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. At the same time, these strong natural dynamics directly affect human settlements and activities. At the trilateral level, there are different views, policies and practices that deal with this topic, and gathering knowledge and best practice management examples is becoming even more urgent due to climate change. The Sediment Solution Initiative intends to facilitate dialogue and knowledge exchange on sediment management, including ecology, climate change adaptation and human activities. The initiative is led by the Programma naar een Rijke Waddenzee (PRW), with support from the Admin Unit and several other organisations.
Co-branding with the Wadden Sea World Heritage brand: Brandspace
Projects and activities developed within the Hub are offered the possibility to be co-branded with the Wadden Sea World Heritage brand. By showing a direct connection to the World Heritage, the branding possibility enhances the visibility of the single project and supports raising the awareness towards the Wadden Sea World Heritage site. The online brand tool Brandspace provides comprehensive tools, guidelines and best practice examples to support project partners in creating a sound Wadden Sea World Heritage connection. Furthermore, Brandspace provides project partners with a brand manual and other features for effective and unique storytelling.