Project summary

The waterway regions involved in SWARE all share unique natural and cultural heritage: protected areas with rich biodiversity and a bunch of enticing historic cities and buildings connected to water. These amenities make them more and more attractive for leisure activities resulting in an ever growing number of visitors (30-50% increase in the past 10 years) which causes tensions with heritage conservation aspects. All SWARE partners recognize that the socio-economic future of their regions is fundamentally depending on finding the synergies between preserving the cultural and natural values for the next generations and at the same time "opening their gates" with a controlled visitor management. By demonstrating the economic value that a „green” leisure industry can bring to a region, it can build strong public and political support both for heritage protection and sustainable valorisation thereof. What SWARE strives for is achieving a better balance between protection and sustainable exploitation of the valuable natural and cultural resources through improving the development programmes and policies of the partner regions, based on the transfer of good practices of other participating regions. Partners share the common bottleneck of fragmented governance structures without proper cooperation forms, therefore SWARE will stimulate the establishment of new participatory governance schemes having a much better potential to implement efficient policies contributing to the sustainable regional development. As an overall result, decision-makers, public and private players, as well as inhabitants will gain a better knowledge and commitment towards protecting and sustainably “using” their environmental and cultural assets.


from 1 Apr 2016
to 31 Mar 2021

Environment and resource efficiency

What policy instruments does the project address?

The Program Space of the Province of South Holland is a policy instrument under the umbrella program called Vision Spatiality and Mobility, together with the Mobility Program and the Space Regulation of the Province. The Vision is a strategic policy document on spatial planning and mobility, while the Program Space, determined by the Provincial Council, translates that into operational policies and indicates which mix of instruments the province of South Holland intends to deploy to achieve these goals. Chapter 3 (Spatial quality), section 3.5. and 3.6. of the Program define the objectives and measures regarding heritage and nature. The protection and enhancement of cultural heritage and related natural, green spaces and ensuring their contribution to the amenity value and quality is a priority. Being the most water-rich province of NL, the waterways’ maintenance and management, a well-functioning network of recreational waterways coupled with cultural heritage is also defined as of great importance for South-Holland. However, the related governance structures are quite fragmented, especially with regard to the various types of inland waterways, and the responsibilities of the specific partie(s) (the province, the water board & the municipality) for specific actions has not been clearly separated. Furthermore, the attention in the Program is mainly on the cultural heritage and natural value of bigger waterways while in this area there are a lot of smaller waterways as well.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Association Regio Water
  • Province of Zuid-Holland

The Development Plan details the overall strategy for proper planning and sustainable development of Tipperary County (South & North). The objectives of the Plan are the key determinant for the appropriate location and form of different types of developments. South Tipperary County Development Plan’s Chapter 6 and North Tipperary County Development Plan’s Ch.8 provide policy guidance to ensure the protection, conservation and enhancement of natural & built environments, general amenities and heritage assets.

The reason why seemingly two Plans are referred to above is that in 2014 as part of a wide-ranging reform of local government structures in Ireland, North- and South Tipperary County Council were amalgamated to form Tipperary County Council. The planning policies and spatial development frameworks of the two Plans remain legally in force and are collectively known as the County Development Plan of County Tipperary. This position will remain until a revised all-county Plan is prepared in 2016/2017. The current Plan needs improving to ensure that it addresses the challenges of increasing popularity of the area for leisure purposes through leveraging off the heritage assets, whilst at the same time conserving and preserving these assets. In order to do this, the performance of the instrument is to be enhanced regarding public awareness & integrated governance, including public-private cooperation aspects that are currently not visible enough on the County’s heritage agenda.

Which partners are working on this?

The ROP, as the Regional Operational Programme for the Lombardy Region includes various priority areas and concrete measures to support the achievement of key national development priorities along with the EU2020 objectives. Action III.3b.2.1 of the OP aims at supporting the development of complementary products and services to the enhancement of cultural and natural values of the territory through cross-sectoral cooperation and an integrated approach.

Similarly to other entities in Italy, in the framework of a public reorganisation process, the Metropolitan City of Milan (MCM) is passing a temporary step of transition from the former Province of Milan to a new, more complex institution, with an extended level of responsibility and geographical coverage. As a result of this, a systematic (re)consideration of governance approaches and procedures is needed, also with regard to the implementation of projects supported by the OP. This will ensure that actions financed by the policy instrument, targeting the unique heritage assets of the region are taken with the involvement of all relevant actors and on the appropriate level of intervention.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Metropolitan City of Milan

The overall objective of the Cooperation Programme is to contribute to the EU2020 strategy and to foster economic, social and territorial cohesion. Specifically, the CBC Programme focuses on Nature and Culture in its Priority Axis I., 1.1: Conserving, protecting, promoting and developing natural and cultural heritage. The HU-SK border divides many organically cohesive heritage assets, the utilisation and protection of which is only possible in a harmonised manner (e.g. Komárom-Komárno fortification system). Based on that, the re-integration of the region’s natural and cultural environment has already started through earlier CBC Programmes. Nevertheless, further integration is fundamental in fostering sustainable development. The related actions are still very rare and there is a general agreement among the stakeholders that integrated, cross-border management systems of natural and cultural heritage assets would result in a much more efficient and sustainable system capable of fostering cross-border cooperation. Furthermore, it is also considered that the potential of the regions’ cultural and natural heritage is still not sufficiently harnessed for contributing to socio-economic development.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Pons Danubii European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation

The OP aims at achieving key national development priorities of Latvia, along with the EU2020 objectives. Priority axis 5, measure 5.5.1. of the OP aims “to preserve, protect and develop the important cultural and natural heritage, as well as the development of related services".

Sustainable management of the natural environment and cultural heritage can foster regional development in case the regional actors define coordinated, place-based strategies balancing measures of preservation with sustainable exploitation. Still, in Vidzeme, integrated strategy development is to be improved. The coordination of the municipalities gathered by VPR is well organized and has deep traditions, but the collaboration and the communication channels with and among other stakeholders (i.e. private companies, civil organisations) are fragmented, leading to a lack of systematic approach towards the rich heritage assets in Vidzeme, just like in other similar regions in Latvia.

However, this challenge is not properly reflected in the OP. Therefore, VPR wishes to influence the OP in a way that it puts more emphasis on bottom-up multi stakeholder engagement with regard to projects to be financed under measure 5.5.1. Furthermore, the good practices of other SWARE partners linked to public-private partnership cooperation structures are to bring specific added value while developing cultural and natural heritage related services in the region (as explicitly envisaged in the measure targeted).

Which partners are working on this?
  • Vidzeme Planning Region