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4th Channel Forum: Kent and Pas-de-Calais in favour of bolstering Franco-British cooperation in the Channel Region

Published the 12 May 2013

Several months from the end of the CAMIS (Channel Arc Manche Integrated Strategy) project, jointly funded by the European Interreg IVA France (Channel)-England project, this 4th Channel Forum brought together stakeholders in the maritime sector from France and the UK to work towards improving the management of the maritime and coastal region around the Channel. Pas-de-Calais County Council subscribed to the Franco-British declaration on maritime security in the Channel, and notably due to the sensitivity of this issue in the Dover Strait.

The Caen Forum held on 20 March 2013 enabled development of the plan of action of the Integrated Maritime Strategy (IMS) in order to improve cooperation and governance in the Channel Region. It was a question of taking stock of the planning and management process of the maritime sector in France and the UK and of meetings with many stakeholders in the Channel Region. This meeting was, moreover, the chance to present the maps produced by Caen University concerning the challenges and stakes of this maritime region, which were met with resounding success. The post-CAMIS period was discussed at length. Whilst the project is set to end in the autumn, each of the participants agreed that this project should continue to increase the benefits.

Both ESI (European Straits Initiative) partners – Pas-de-Calais County Council and the Kent County Council – are working in unison to introduce and raise awareness of the European Straits Initiative (a special presentation was made during the 3rd Forum in Southampton in 2012), but also to ensure an increased consideration of the particularities o the Dover Strait within the CAMIS project. This strait is indeed, as well as the eastern limit of this region, also one of its strong identities and a genuine laboratory for implementation of the integrated maritime policy, which promotes the Maritime Strategy of the CAMIS project. Thanks to the combined efforts of Kent and Pas-de-Calais, the Strait have found their place within the Strategy and its plan of action.

Furthermore, contacts were made between the French Caen University and the Opal Coast University (Université du Littoral Côte d'Opale) so as to initiate cooperation enabling the creation of an area dedicated to the Dover Strait on the Cross-Channel Atlas website.

Finally, out of a concern for risks pertaining to maritime traffic in the strait which is one of the most heavily used in the world, the President of the Pas-de-Calais County Council issued a letter indicating subscription of the Department to the Franco-British declaration concerning the risks of accidents and pollution in the Channel Region, to which the County of Kent had already subscribed.

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