Cork County Council has been awarded funding for a new INTERREG EUROPE Project. The Council is working closely with local partners University College Cork and international partners from Netherlands, France, Spain, Romania and Italy on the project entitled DELTA Lady – Floating Cultures in River Deltas.
DELTA Lady is, in essence, an economic development project which will invest €206,000 in the Cork region. Cork County Council recognises that the application of ecosystem services is at an early stage of development in Ireland and it is yet to be mainstreamed into policy decision making processes. The challenge is to provide a practical example of how ecosystem services can be used to combine the need to preserve ecosystems with the need to ensure growth and jobs.
The focus of the project will be on the River Blackwater and its delta which is based near the town of Youghal in County Cork. University College Cork (UCC) and Cork County Council (CCC) will take a collaborative approach in defining new actions that will use the deltas’ ecosystem services for economic development. This will provide an exemplar for the region which will inform regional policy and thus improve governance.
The overall objective of Delta Lady is to improve policy instruments that enable the fostering of the capabilities in using deltas' ecosystem services for regional economic development, hence, strengthen economic development (targeting) based on the use of local cultural and natural qualities.
The following sub-objectives are envisaged:
- Exchange of experiences with the use of the deltas' ecosystem services for sustainable economic development.
- Definition of policy instruments that foster capabilities in the use of ecosystem services for the deltas' economic development.
- Creating programs for the development of the deltas' ecosystem services and their use for economic development.
- Development of the cross-European co-operation on policies aiming at fostering the deltas' natural and cultural qualities for economic development.
The approach taken is based on the exchange of experiences as an interregional learning process among the partner organisations and their staff, as well as among the stakeholders in the partner regions and other regional policy actors in Europe. The main aspects of the project approach are the following:
Regional Stakeholder Groups
Each region sets up a Regional Stakeholder Group (RSG) of relevant actors in the field of the deltas' ecosystem services and their use for economic development. The working arrangements of each group will be tailored to the regional context but the main features will be the same. The RSGs meet at least twice a year to learn about the interregional practices, explore how to apply them in a regional context and work towards regional action plans. Smaller subgroups may work more intensively on subthemes or tasks. The project RSG has been established and has commenced working on best practice examples in the region.
Identifying previous practices
A question about what went wrong in the deltas should be turned into the policy question about how to generate valuable activities based on the deltas' cultural and natural qualities. Various strategies are already available, such as cultural events in the Loire delta and water sports in the Frisian delta. More is possible based on the local natural and cultural heritage.
The focus is also on the exchange of know-how about actions in the past, capabilities, and initiatives, as well as on the regional policymaking aiming at the use of ecosystem services for regional economic development.
Peer reviews will be organized in each partner region as an effective method for policy learning at partner and stakeholder levels. Experts from the partner regions will visit a host partner region to analyse a situation and challenges linked to the project issue and propose interventions to improve the host region's targeted policy. It will be a mutual learning process; the visiting experts will sharpen the knowledge and capacities of the host regions.
Policy Learning Seminars and Conferences
Six Interregional Policy Learning Seminars will be organized during which partners and stakeholders exchange and learn about the relevant policies and practices, share experience from peer reviews and action planning process. At the end of phases 1 and 2 we will organize public conferences to showcase the project activities and outputs (phase 1) and the actual results from the implementation of action plans (phase 2). Seminars and conferences will be combined with existing conferences or festivals in the field to maximise dissemination. Participation will be opened to all interested actors. We will participate in the policy learning platform activities contributing to the work of INTERREG Europe Platforms as required.
Each partner will work closely with RSG throughout the project to integrate the learning from peer reviews, seminars and regional interactions into tailor-made Action Plans for the implementation of regional policy measures and initiatives for development and use of the deltas' ecosystem services aimed at fostering the deltas' natural and cultural qualities for economic development.