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Nostra: a project that brings together 14 of the 15 partners: April 2012 in Boulogne-sur-mer

Launched on 3 April 2012 in Wimille, near Boulogne-sur-mer, the NOSTRA project is the result of the European Straits Initiative and is part of the second aim of the initiative: Work towards the emergence of cooperation projects, either under the Interreg programme or any other European programmes, and to develop mutual cooperation through joint action and projects, to promote and improve economic development, the protection of the coast, transport and logistics, cultural exchange and tourism.

The general aim of the project is to preserve biodiversity and natural heritage. Based on the exchange of experience and best practice between partners, the project aims to study the tools for governance required to improve sustainable development in straits and develop their role as gateways to the hinterland and outside territories, on the themes of economic development, transport, tourism and biodiversity. By seeking ways of improving governance between the two sides of a strait, the aim is to enable authorities to develop efficient public policy, on a European, national and local level, to enable the economic development of straits and to preserve their biodiversity.

Starting from the observation that European straits share common issues (transport, economic development, maritime safety) which have an impact on the natural heritage of straits, the NOSTRA partners have decided to study cross-border governance tools that enable environmentally-friendly economic development. Amongst the partner straits, three have set up bi-national entities, others have signed conventions or agreements to formalise their cooperative relationship, and more recently, the EGTC (European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation) was chosen.

The project has 3 stages:

2012 "Seeing and understanding": study visits to straits that are experimenting with bi-national governance tools.

  • June 2012: Kvarken Straits
  • October 2012: Strait of Bonifacio

2013 "Analyse and Study": the 4 factors identified as having an impact on the strait's natural heritage will be analysed in detail during workshops:

  • in Kent: analysis of the seabed as an example of integrated management of European straits
  • in the straits of Otranto: tourism
  • in the Fehmarn Belt straits: transport and maritime safety
  • in the Gulf of Finland: economic development

2014 "Thinking and acting": the last year will be dedicated to cross-disciplinary seminars to link the different themes discussed and issue recommendations on cross-border governance for each strait:

  • in the Straits of Messina: link between the coast and hinterland
  • in Corsica: capitalisation on Interreg cross-border projects already developed for a strait
  • in Romania: completion of recommendations and action plans

This project, which the Conseil général du Pas-de-Calais is leading, is funded by the European Union's European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Interreg IVC programme. The full budget is 2.36 million Euros, with European ERDF funding 1.79 million Euros.

The partnership includes local authorities and bi-national entities that border 8 straits in Europe, and a research institute in the Danube Delta which is affected by similar issues. The NOSTRA project brings together sixteen partners:

  • Dover Strait: Conseil Général du Pas-de-Calais (France) and Kent County Council (England)
  • Fehmarn Belt Strait: Region of Zealand (Denmark) and District of East Holstein (Germany)
  • Gulf of Finland Straits: Uusimaa Regional Council (Finland) and Harju County Government (Estonia)
  • Kvarken Strait: Kvarken Council (Finland and Sweden)
  • Strait of Bonifacio: Province of Sassari (Italy), Corsica Environmental Office (France) and Maddalena Archipelago National Park (Italy)
  • Otranto Strait: Province of Lecce (Italy), District of Vlorë (Albania)
  • Straits of Messina: Province of Messina (Italy) and Province of Reggio Calabria (Italy)
  • Strait of Sicily: Province of Trapani (Italy)
  • Danube Delta National Institute, Tulcea (Romania)


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