First PROWAD workshop in the Netherlands proved great interest of stakeholders in sustainable tourism

Leeuwarden, February 13, 2012: The first PROWAD workshop, aimed at developing the sustainable tourism strategy for the Wadden Sea World Heritage, gathered 55 stakeholders from various organizations from the provinces of Noord-Holland, Friesland and Groningen. The workshop had its purpose to inform the participants about the strategy in development and, most importantly, to serve as a forum for sharing opinions and ideas of the organizations and businesses, active in the Wadden Sea area. 

Following the inscription of the Wadden Sea into the UNESCO World Heritage List, both Germany and the Netherlands received a requirement to develop a strategy for sustainable tourism in the area. At the Trilateral Governmental Conference on Sylt in 2010, it was decided to also cover the Danish part, which is not yet a part of the World Heritage. Meanwhile, the task group “Sustainable Tourism”, composed of representatives from all three countries, is working on the strategy concept. In this group, various authority bodies as well as tourism sector and nature conservation organizations are represented.

The workshop was opened by Tineke Schokker, representative of the province of Friesland, who, amongst others, shared her personal experience from working in the area. The address of welcome was followed by a number of presentations on the previous and current development in the Wadden Sea World Heritage. Examples from other world heritage sites around the globe demonstrated how the title can be beneficial for the regional economic, conservation and marketing purposes. At the end of the morning session, the workshop organizers introduced the framework and the goals of the sustainable tourism strategy.

After the break, the work continued in four groups. The participants were invited to discuss in a more detailed way the goals of the strategy, necessary actions and priorities and ways to ensure the continuous participation of stakeholders in the strategy development. Various topics emerged at this point in the agenda: there were discussions about marketing, training of entrepreneurs as tour guides, travel packages and transportation, accommodation, excursions and many other issues.

The results of the discussions will be incorporated into the task group’s working process and further strategy development. This summer the first concept is expected to be ready. The ultimate goal is to have the strategy approved at the Wadden Sea ministerial conference that will take place in Toender (Denmark) in March 2013. Overall the workshop was evaluated as successful, whose contributors very clearly demonstrated a great commitment and engagement in the protection of the unique nature of the Wadden Sea World Heritage. The workshop in Leeuwarden was the first event in a series of workshops within the project "PROWAD: Protect and Prosper". The workshop was organized by the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat together with the regional partners. Next regional workshops with the same aim will take place on 21 March (Wilhelmshaven, Lower Saxony), 22 March (Husum, Schleswig-Holstein) and April (Denmark).


More information about the project and upcoming meetings can be found at www.prowad.org
Source: Province of Friesland and CWSS

PROWAD upcoming meetings

21 March 2012, Wilhelmshaven, Niedersachsen

22 March 2012, Husum, Schleswig-Holstein

April 2012, Denmark (under preparation)

Information about PROWAD and events at www.prowad.org

Marine World Heritage – the jewels in the crown

Managers from marine protected areas around the world met on invitation of UNESCO’s Marine Programme on the island of Vilm on 26-29 February 2012.

The small group consisted of representatives from the Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Papahanaumokuakea (Hawaii, USA), the Western Norwegian Fjords, and the Wadden Sea to cover different types of marine ecosystems. In a two-day meeting at the International Academy of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), the participants developed a framework that can improve management effectiveness of marine World Heritage sites, and increase the added value of a World Heritage designation for nature conservation of a site.

The Statement of “Outstanding Universal Value” was taken as basis for the development of management goals, and a description of what has been achieved, and what has still to be done, and how. The proposed marine guidance will build on and link to existing guidance, prepared by IUCN and UNESCO, but will specifically consider the needs of marine managers. “The 45 marine sites can also be a model for the other over 6 000 marine protected areas and set standards for an enhanced and integrated management of the marine environment across the planet” said Fanny Douvere, leader of the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Program, “The World Heritage can also be a catalyst for sustainable socio-economic development, and communication with stakeholders is therefore essential.”

The working meeting was the first of a series of three sessions in order to have a final product ready for the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee in June 2013.

Over 930 sites have been inscribed in the World Heritage List, 45 of them are marine sites cooperating in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Marine Program (http://whc.unesco.org/en/marine-programme ). A first meeting of representatives of almost all marine World Heritage Sites took place on Hawaii in December 2011, which prepared a report on the main management challenges and future work fields (http://whc.unesco.org/documents/publi_wh_papers_28_en.pdf ). Preparations are now being made for the next global World Heritage Marine site managers meeting, tentatively scheduled for September 2013.

Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative and BirdLife CMB Africa Partnership project

Under the umbrella of the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative two East Atlantic Flyway projects with a West Africa focus have been launched. As follow up of the UNESCO WHC requests (Seville, 2009) and the recommendations of the international flyway workshop in Wilhelmshaven, March 2011, the German BMU (Federal Ministry for the Environment) started a capacity building and management project in November 2011. The Dutch Ministry of EL&I (Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation) in cooperating with PRW (Project towards a Rich Wadden Sea) launched a project focussing on monitoring and research in March 2012. The Initiative is cooperating with AEWA, BirdLife International, Wetlands International and other organisations active in West Africa.

From the outset both projects have tuned their work plans with regard to specific activities, timing, sites and communication to reach a maximum of synergies. Moreover, the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative started at the same time a close cooperation with the on-going BirdLife International CMB Africa Partnership project to mutually initiate, support and carry out capacity building and monitoring activities with enhanced and more flexible opportunities for delivery.

At an inception meeting in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on 6-7 February 2012 the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative and the CMB project agreed on a close cooperation and adopted a common draft action plan. The meeting also provided an opportunity to contact and interview governmental and NGO representatives of the 7 PRCM (West African Regional Marine and Coastal Conservation Programme) countries with regard to planned activities of the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative.

A side event for a joint presentation of all three involved projects is planned at the AEWA MOP5 (5th Meeting of the Parties) in La Rochelle, 14-18 May 2012. The side event will give good opportunities to highlight the new partnership and to communicate and discuss with West African partners and participants about further implementation of the projects.

Wadden Sea expertise to help West Africa's cooperation

The CWSS secretary Jens Enemark was invited to give a presentation at the 6th West Africa Coastal and Marine Forum in the Gambia, 20-24 February 2012, on the Wadden Sea, the relationship with West Africa, and what could be learned from the cooperation around the Wadden Sea for the cooperation in West Africa. The West Africa Coastal and Marine Forum is better known under its French abbreviation PRCM (Programme Régional de Conservation de la zone Côtière et Marine en Afrique de l'Ouest). It is an initiative of four international non-governmental organizations, active in West Africa, namely the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Wetlands International and the International Foundation of the Banc d’Arguin (FIBA), in partnership with the Sub-regional Fisheries Commission (CSRP). Geographically, the program covers seven countries - Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal, and Sierra Leone - with which IUCN has signed contracts on behalf of the PRCM founding NGOs. It was initiated about 10 years ago. The goal of the PRCM is to coordinate the efforts made by institutions and private individuals to preserve the littoral of coastal countries in the sub-region. It is the central cooperation platform for West Africa on issues related to environment and conservation initiatives and sustainable development. In the context of the PRCM, forum meetings are held about every 18 months to promote a dialogue among players of the West African littoral, facilitating harmonized approaches, coherence, and synergy development, formulating recommendations to decision-makers, and disseminating results and lessons learnt.

The Banjul Forum, at which some 100 representatives from the different organizations from West Africa and international organizations participated, took stock of the progress made since the last forum meeting in Mauritania in June/July 2010, and discussed the future of the PRCM which now enters into its 3rd phase 2012-2016. One of the issues, on which major progress has been achieved, is the establishment of a network of and collaboration between protected areas along the West African Coast. Notwithstanding the success, the protected areas are also under great pressure from fishery, tourism, maritime traffic and oil and gas exploration. The PRCM organization will change significantly in the coming phase. The founding organizations play a lesser role and it will be steered by the regional and local organizations. The new organization should be functional by mid-2012.

The Wadden Sea cooperation and what has been achieved around the Wadden Sea is considered a good model for the PRCM work. The importance of the PRCM as the central and innovative coordination platform for the Wadden Sea is obvious in terms of very close links via the flyway for migratory birds. The sites in West Africa are the central wintering staging sites for migratory birds that pass through the Wadden Sea in spring and autumn.

Wadden Sea World Heritage at ITB-2012

Berlin, March 8, 2012: International Tourism Berlin (ITB), the biggest tourism exhibition in the world, has gathered over 10 644 exhibitors from 187 countries with numerous destinations, the Wadden Sea being among them.

This year the Wadden Sea World Heritage has become more prominent in tourism brochures and travel offers in both Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. A podium discussion on the world heritage topic was organized by the Tourismus-Agentur Schleswig-Holstein together with the marketing organization Nordsee-Tourismus-Service GmbH, a close partner and advocate of the Wadden Sea World Heritage issues in the region. The speakers – Dr. Zieschang, state secretary of Economic Affairs of Schleswig-Holstein, Dr. Klimant, chairman of the Nordsee-Tourismus-Service GmbH, Constanze Höffinghoff, head of the Nordsee-Tourismus-Service GmbH, and Jens Enemark, head of the CWSS,– took a quick look back at the world heritage activities of the last two years. They agreed that the World Heritage designation offers the region a great tourism development potential and such joint effort must be continued in future. They were generally satisfied with the world heritage-related marketing activities and the results of the common campaign that was aimed to raise awareness of the World Heritage status of the Wadden Sea.

“The cooperation on the world heritage, of course, does not stop here, - says Jens Enemark. -  Within these two years we have managed to create a solid basis for the Wadden Sea World Heritage brand development. Now, together with our German and Dutch partners, we are working on a sustainable tourism strategy that will combine interests of the tourism sector with our common responsibility to preserve the unique nature of the Wadden Sea. Sustainable use of the resources is absolutely necessary to ensure a long-term quality of tourism offers in the Wadden Sea World Heritage area.”

Photo: LVS/nah.sh 2012

New Dutch book about the Wadden Sea World Heritage

On March 12th Henk Bleker (r.), state secretary of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, presented at Ecomare (Texel) a new book about the Wadden Sea World Heritage. The presentation was attended by (from left to right) Martin Scholten from IMARES, the mayor of Texel Francine Giskes and director of Ecomare Anton Hurkens as well as Harald Marencic and Jens Enemark from CWSS, who contributed to the book as co-authors.

Description of the book under “Publications” below in this Newsletter.



Wadden Sea – World Heritage

Abrahamse, J. (eds.): P. Burbridge; J. Enemark; H. Marencic; A. Oost; K. Reise; M. Schroor; W. Wolff.

22 x 28 cm., 256 pages, hardcover
ISBN 978 90 5345 423 7
richly illustrated in color
€ 29.95 (until June 15, then € 34.95)

Published in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation and Stichting Werelderfgoed.

On June 26, 2009, the UNESCO inscribed the German-Dutch Wadden Sea into the world heritage list. This provided the area, which beside the Dutch part includes the German Wadden Sea National Parks of Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, with the world-wide significance. Nowhere in the world is there a similar dynamic and vast landscape continuously influenced by tides. Additionally, the various plants growing in this region are unique in their kind. For thousands of years the Wadden Sea undergoes daily changes, providing stunning scenery and spectacular interplay between sea bed and sky. Millions of birds use the Wadden Sea mud flats as a stopover on their flyway, and responsible interaction between man and nature contribute to the Wadden Sea’s great value. Enough reasons for the UNESCO Committee to include the Wadden Sea, one of the largest areas with untouched nature on the planet, into the prestigious World Heritage List. The book includes beautiful illustrations that introduce the history of the area and the unique characteristics of the Wadden Sea’s tidal landscape. Rich flora and fauna, typical for this area, human influence and the protection of the Wadden Sea are discussed in this publication.

Back to basics. Natural dynamics and resilience on the Dutch Wadden Sea Barrier Islands

Can be ordered from:
University of Groningen
Center for Energy and Environmental Studies (IVEM)
Nijenborgh 4
9747 AP Groningen
The Netherlands

Sandy islands in the Wadden Sea area tend to be very dynamic. Since the Middle Ages dynamic processes periodically dominated the islands morphology, probably linked to the gradual rise and incidental fall of human populations on the islands. Intense sand drifting caused by overgrazing, for instance, occurred sometimes on a very large scale. At the end of the 19th century, governmental agencies started to plant pine forests and Marram grass in order to stop the intensive sand drifting. Artificial sand-drift dikes were constructed to reduce flooding by North Sea water during high tides. Such activities greatly reduced the resilience of an island to cope with future sea level rise. Lack of natural dune forming processes, such as sand blowing and regular flooding by the sea, is also responsible for a continuous decline of flora and fauna. In particular those species associated with pioneer stages are threatened with extinction. This situation calls for reconsideration of the way in which we manage and protect our coast. The coast and its ecosystems have to adapt to changing patterns of wind and rainfall, and in the long run to an accelerating sea level rise. At the same time we have to find ways to compensate the on-going loss of biodiversity. What will happen if we give way to more natural processes? Can we guarantee long term safety for island residents? What will be the consequences for biodiversity? To answer these questions knowledge is needed of geomorphological and ecological processes under natural conditions.
This book presents a short overview of such knowledge.

Trilateral Meetings

14 – 15 March 2012
Wadden Sea Board (WSB-5)

27 March 2012
Task Group Climate (TG-C)

29 March 2012
Task Group Shipping (TG-S)

18-19 April 2012
Task Group World Heritage (TG-WH)

2-3 May 2012
Task Group Management (TG-M)

23 - 24 June 2012
Task Group Climate (TG-C)

9-10 July 2012
Task Group Sustainable Tourism Strategy (TG-STS)

A complete overview is at: http://www.waddensea-secretariat.org/trilat/meetings/meetings.html