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Partnership Hub: Partnering for the Wadden Sea World Heritage

 

The Wadden Sea World Heritage is a multifaceted dynamic natural system. It is also a complex transboundary site in terms of its protection and management, its governance, the number of stakeholders involved, different languages and cultural background. The many organizations and people who have a stake in the Wadden Sea World Heritage bring together ideas, expertise, competence, initiatives and resources to form a strong and united society because there is much to be gained by working together.

The Partnership Hub of the Wadden Sea World Heritage aims to pool and strengthen existing skills and experiences of multiple stakeholders under one umbrella, to ensure protection and preservation of the Wadden Sea, whilst fostering sustainable regional development within the entire Wadden Sea Region. The responsible ministers of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation (TWSC) instructed the Wadden Sea Board to develop a partnership scheme in partner networks across the Wadden Sea Region (Leeuwarden Declaration, May 2018, Art. 1+2).

The Hub will support the trilateral work in a collaborative network approach, complementing and going beyond responsibilities and efforts of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation, by

  • contributing to the protection and stimulating exchange on nature management of the World Heritage Site
  • enhancing international cooperation;
  • activating the Wadden Sea World Heritage brand;
  • educating and informing about the Wadden Sea World Heritage;
  • developing and enhancing sustainable tourism;
  • contributing to regional sustainable development of the Wadden Sea Region;
  • stimulating research and monitoring to provide the required knowledge for management in the Wadden Sea Region;
  • integrating cultural and historical values in the management of the Wadden Sea Region.

On 30 June 2019 in Wilhelmshaven, 10 years after the designation of the Wadden Sea as a World Heritage site, representatives of the trilateral Wadden Sea Forum, environmental NGOs, the Wadden Sea research sector and sustainable tourism sector from Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands signed an agreement with the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation on the establishment of a “Trilateral Partnership in support of the UNESCO Wadden Sea World Heritage”. It forms the basis for the Partnership Hub.

Among other, the MoU states that the transboundary cooperation for the protection of the Wadden Sea will be further strengthened under the umbrella of the “Wadden Sea World Heritage” brand and that the trilateral network beyond the governmental collaboration will be enhanced and intensified. The shared goal is to protect the world's largest tidal flats system and to preserve it for the generations to come. Since the signing ceremony in June 2019 many other representatives have signed the Memorandum as well.

The Hub is currently being established by the ad-hoc “Operational Team Partnership Hub” with representatives from the sectors education, research, tourism, public authority and Wadden Sea Forum within the framework of PROWAD LINK. With the Trilateral Wadden Sea World Heritage Partnership Center currently under construction in Wilhelmshaven, the Hub will get a physical home from 2021 onwards.