Strengthening biodiversity and sustainable development in the Niederrhein and Waal
On 26 and 27 February 2015, ECNC representatives visited the Euregio Rhein-Waal, the beautiful and very diverse cross-border region between the Netherlands and Germany. The region’s importance for Europe’s nature and biodiversity and its international character were the main reasons for the establishment in 2013 of the Green Welcome Centre (GWC) Kleve, ECNC’s representation unit in Germany.
The ECNC representatives visited key stakeholders in the region with the aim of strengthening cooperation on green infrastructure, business & biodiversity, and ecosystem restoration. The visits were conducted under the motto ‘Strong Connections, Green Growth’.
Mr Toine Smits, Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation & Society, stressed the importance of interdisciplinary interaction between the ‘philosophers, the sociologists, the technicians and the embedders’. Together with Mr Sjaak Kamps, Director of the Euregio Rhein-Waal, the ECNC representatives explored possibilities for cooperation on biodiversity and green economy. Mr Jaap Dirkmaat, Director of the Foundation for the Conservation of the Heritage of Cultural Landscapes (VNC) in the Netherlands, stressed the importance of strong cooperation for enhancing cultural and natural landscape values, also at a European scale.
The importance of forming a long-term strategy group to secure the principles of green growth in the region was emphasized by Hans van Oerle, Head of Strategy of Nijmegen, the oldest city in the Netherlands, together with Gerard Mangnus, Director of the new International Centre for Nature and Cultural History ´De Bastei` in Nijmegen.
ECNC was represented by Johan Kieft, ECNC’s representative in Germany and Director of the GWC Kleve; Lisa Maria Ganter, Office Manager of the GWC Kleve; and Rob Wolters, Executive Director ECNC.
All involved recognized the importance of boosting biodiversity and sustainable development in the beautiful Rhein-Waal region by strengthening cooperation between all relevant partners and parties.
Photo: (left to right) Rob Wolters, Bauke Kalisvaart, Jaap Dirkmaat, and Johan Kieft discussing the formation of a ‘Strong Connections, Green Growth’ consortium in the Euregion Rhein-Waal.