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REPORT
REPORT
Transboundary cooperation in
agro-environmental governance:
Lessons from past and ongoing
Interreg projects
Prepared by Stockholm Environment Institute
Table of contents
Table of contents .............................................................................................................................. 3
Introduction: Background to Interreg ...................................................................................... 4
Programmatic support to regional cohesion ...............................................................................................4
Funding structure....................................................................................................................................................4
Periods I – III: 1989-2006 ....................................................................................................................................5
Period IV: 2007-13 ..................................................................................................................................................6
Aim of study ........................................................................................................................................ 7
Methodology ....................................................................................................................................... 7
Results and discussion.................................................................................................................... 9
Period summaries ....................................................................................................................................... 9
Interreg III ..................................................................................................................................................................9
Interreg IV ............................................................................................................................................................... 11
Analysis of governance lessons from ongoing projects (period IV) ...................................... 14
Implementation of EU policy ........................................................................................................................... 14
Surfacing diverging sectoral priorities ........................................................................................................ 15
Reconciliation between stakeholders .......................................................................................................... 16
Transboundary coordination between riparian countries ................................................................. 17
Opportunities for collaboration with ongoing projects ............................................................. 18
Conclusions ...................................................................................................................................... 18
References ........................................................................................................................................ 21
Introduction: Background to
Interreg
Programmatic support to regional cohesion
The Community Initiative concerning trans-European cooperation intended to
encourage harmonious and balanced development of the European territory (Interreg)
was adopted by the European Commission in 1990 to prepare border areas for a
European Community without internal frontiers. The aim of the initiative was “that
national borders should not be a barrier to the balanced development and integration of
the European territory” (EC, 2004, p. 1). The cooperation is based on the existence of
shared interest across geographical features such as borders, sea basins and the EU
periphery. Interreg thus represents one of the strategic interventions of large multiannual programmes by the European Community to implement its Cohesion Policy,
which although rooted in the Treaty of Rome was first expressed in regulation in the
Single European Act of 1988. The Cohesion Policy has been described as “the market’s
visible hand which aims at balanced and sustainable development while fostering
economic integration throughout the EU as a whole” (Hübner, 2008, p. 2). This
highlights the policy as a model of multi-level governance involving local and regional
actors representing civil society, academia and public sector, while safeguarding
compliance with other Community policies (such as relevant agro-environmental EC
Directives). Already in the first years of Interreg it was observed that many actors
outside public administration got involved (Goulet, 2008). Each programme refers to its
programme document which sets out the official priorities as agreed between the EC
and member states (MSs). The project portfolio is the way through which programmes
seek to operationalise the political objectives into the everyday activities of
stakeholders. The programme committees, which make funding decisions on project
applications, are composed of country representatives. The programmes operate
according to their specific objectives with reference to the regional cohesion goals, but
country representatives can bring in national perspectives and expectations.
Representatives can be national level government officials, sub-national officials, or
interest groups.
Funding structure
Interreg programmes are funded from the Structural Funds, a financial mechanism to
alleviate negative impacts of borders or support cooperation and integration among
partners sharing a common space. The Structural Funds were integrated under the
Cohesion Policy almost simultaneously with the launch of the first Interreg programme
period, including a doubling of resources. This was largely driven by calls for improved
efficiency in programming and the increased prioritisation of addressing the widening
regional disparities in the Community arising with the accession of countries such as
Greece and Portugal. The Structural Funds were reformed again in 2000 in response not
only to the future enlargement of the Union but also the need for improved budgetary
rigour for implementing the economic and monetary union as well as increased
competition due to a globalising economy and its impact on disadvantaged regions and
the most vulnerable groups. Interreg emerged as one of the four initiatives still to be
supported, now funded by only one Structural Fund, namely the European Regional
Development Fund (ERDF) (EU, 1999). Under period III, Interreg had a total budget of
€4,9 billion, close to the sum of the allocations to the other three regional cooperation
initiations (LEADER, EQUAL, and URBAN).
Periods I – III: 1989-2006
Three programme periods have been implemented under the Territorial Cooperation
Objective, which follow the general development of the EU governance architecture,
including the reformulation of the Cohesion Policy and reform of the funding
mechanisms, namely Interreg I (1989-93), II (1994-99) and III (2000-2006). One of the
five key objectives of the Cohesion Policy in the period 1988-1993 was the adjustment of
agricultural sectors and promotion of rural development (receiving close to 9 % of the
total budget) (Goulet, 2008). Programme period II was initiated immediately after the
revised Treaty of the European Communities entered into force in 1992, and a new
Committee of the Regions was formed. Interreg was here merged with the former
REGEN programme and grew to include 75 programmes in three strands: Strand A - on
“cross-border cooperation”; Strand B - “completion of energy networks”, and Strand C “transnational cooperation”. Under Interreg II strand C had special emphasis on
transnational co-operation on regional & spatial planning, including management of
water resources (flood mitigation & drought prevention) (EC, 2009; Goulet, 2008).
During the third period, Interreg was amended to respond to the EU enlargement
(including the accession of the Baltic States Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and was the
largest of the Community’s initiatives (DG Regional Policy, 2003; LPDR Ltd.; 2003). The
three strands were revised to include cross-border cooperation (Strand A),
transnational cooperation (Strand B), and interregional cooperation (Strand C). The
Cohesion Policy objectives were revised throughout the three previous programme
periods, and in 2007 the Interreg initiative was translated into a full Structural Fund
objective in its own right, namely ‘European Territorial Cooperation’.
In period III, the strand A promoted cross border cooperation between adjacent border
regions to develop economic and social cooperation via joint strategies and
development programmes (e.g. promoting urban, rural and coastal development, and
environmental protection, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources). The strand
B promoted transnational cooperation between large groups of European regions,
intended to promote development and greater territorial integration within the EU and
with candidate countries and other neighboring countries. This transnational
cooperation was based on Interreg IIC, Trans-European Networks (TENs) and the
European Spatial Development Perspective (e.g. promotion of the environment and
good management and water resources). The strand C promoted interregional
cooperation between regions within EU territory and neighbouring countries, to
increase regional development and cohesion through the establishment of networks,
especially in the case of less-developed regions and those undergoing structural
adjustment.
Period IV: 2007-13
The accession of ten new member states in 2004 led to a doubling of the development
gap between regions and a consequent revision of the Cohesion policy in the 2007-13
budgetary debate. The Structural and Cohesion fund spending was focused on Lisbon
(innovation, growth, jobs) and Gothenburg (sustainable development) goals. The
legislation adopted regulated the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to fund
projects on research, innovation, environment, risk prevention, and infrastructure in the
least developed regions. Altogether, the aim is to promote a strategic programming
driven by the Community Strategic Guidelines, a simplification of regulations,
decentralization and stronger involvement of local actors (EurActiv, 2006a, 2006b). The
legal status of the programme has changed with the European grouping of territorial
cooperation (EGTC) as a new European legal instrument to facilitate and promote crossborder, transnational and interregional cooperation. Unlike the structures which
governed this kind of cooperation before 2007, the EGTC is a legal entity and as such,
will enable regional and local authorities and other public bodies from different member
states, to set up cooperation groupings with a legal entity (EC, 2006).
Thus, for the period 2007-13, Interreg Community Initiative has been transformed into
the European Territorial Co-operation objective funded by the ERDF. It covers three
types of programmes, differentiated according to geographical scale: 1) cross-border cooperation programmes along internal EU borders (52 projects - €5.6 billion contributed
from ERDF); 2) transnational co-operation programmes which cover larger areas of cooperation such as the Baltic Sea (13 projects - €1.8 billion contributed from ERDF); 3)
and interregional co-operation programme (incl. Interreg IVC and three networking
programmes) (€445 million contributed from ERDF) (EC, 2008a). This has seen the
arrival of new maritime cross-border cooperation, including the Central Baltic and South
Baltic programmes. Transnational cooperation programmes follow the
recommendations of the ESDP (European Spatial Development Perspective) to
encourage a sustainable and balanced development of the European territory.
The current programmes (2007-13) are in the first phase and have only initiated their
first projects. Several of the existing programmes are rooted in previous regional
cooperation. For instance, the Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2013 is built on the
experience of two predecessor programmes for transnational cooperation in BSR under
Interreg IIC and Interreg IIIB Neighbourhood Programme (Baltic Sea Region Program,
2007). The launch of the Indian Ocean and Caribbean Programmes are new mechanisms
aimed at projecting European values beyond its territories and sharing the capacity
build in transboundary cooperation.
Simultaneous with the 2007 reform of Interreg, a new complementing initiative was
launched, namely the European Neighbourhood & Partnership Instrument (ENPI) 20072013 to support cross-border cooperation on EU’s external borders. The specific
objectives of ENPI is 1) to support sustainable development along both sides of the EU’s
external borders, 2) to help decrease differences in living standards across these
borders, and 3) to address the challenges and opportunities following on EU
enlargement or otherwise arising from the proximity between regions across our land
and sea borders. (EC, 2007).
Aim of study
The Baltic COMPASS project aims to contribute in reducing eutrophication (nutrient
over-enrichment) of the Baltic Sea through fostering win-win solutions for agriculture
and environmental sectors, based on problem definitions which are relevant for
stakeholders within the whole drainage area. It is funded as a strategic project under the
Baltic Sea Region Programme and implemented through a consortium of ministries,
agencies, research institutes, farmers’ organizations and environmental NGOs in all nine
riparian countries. The project is led by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
(SLU) and consists of six work packages (see www.balticcompass.org for more
information). The Policy Adaptation and Governance Work Package (WP6) specifically
aims to support and increase the legitimacy of adaptive governance processes in
integrated agricultural-environmental policy development in the region. The purpose is
to add value to the work of institutions who are implementing agro-environmental
policies, measures and programmes in the Baltic Sea Region. This study is undertaken as
Task 1.1 under the Baltic COMPASS project WP6. This comprises a review of past and
ongoing Interreg projects with similar objectives to Baltic Compass. This review is
intended to be conducted in parallel and feed into Task 1.2, namely the review of the
implementability of the agro-environmental targets in Baltic Sea Region (BSR) countries.
The aim of this study is to uncover lessons learnt during past, ongoing, and planned
Interreg projects that have a link to eutrophication in terms of the ability of the
governance system to implement policies that have an agro-environmental impact. The
policy environment here will look at both actors and structures as components of the
wider governance system including the private sector, public sector and civil society.
The review examines what evidence these projects have revealed as to the
implementability of policy instruments outside the projects, but equally views the
projects themselves as implementing instruments. It hereby aims to contribute to
building a body of evidence regarding the legacy of policy implementation and the
establishment of a network of relevant actors and projects within the BSR, which is
required for the implementation of Baltic COMPASS.
The intended clients of this report comprise the consortium involved with Work
Package 6 and partners in the wider Baltic COMPASS project. It is also hoped that the
report will also be of relevance for implementing agencies and other stakeholders in
BSR countries and the future management of EU’s regional cooperation programmes.
Centrally, this report is also aimed as a means of initiating a dialogue with the projects
identified as potential relevant collaborators and it is expected that COMPASS partners
will follow up with relevant projects to ensure optimal value adding.
Methodology
The study proceeded through a retrieval of Interreg programme and project
information, selection/screening of relevant projects, and review of project lessons
through literature and consultations with lead partners of. Programmes databases were
screened and relevant projects selected according to whether 1) The project contained a
clear agro-environmental dimension or addresses issues which are assumed closely
connected. Projects containing the following keywords, relating their aims to Baltic
COMPASS, were listed as highly relevant: agriculture, eutrophication, water quality,
water pollution, water management, nitrogen, phosphorus, pesticides, fertilizers, runoff,
leaching, soil protection, environmental risks; 2) The context of implementation is
transnational sea Basin or a transboundary river. SEI Stockholm coordinated the
compilation of the report. SEI Tallinn was responsible for the Interreg period III
summary and for background information on Interreg III.
Information on projects, which fulfilled these criteria were listed in a database according
to the following categories: project title, aim, project period, countries involved, lead
partner and contact details, web-links and documents retrieved. This database is now
made available at www.balticcompass.org1. The review focused on programme periods
III and IV. This decision owes to the fact that the most recent periods would best provide
insight into the policy and governance mechanism relevant for the COMPASS project.
For instance, lessons prior to 2001 will in general be less relevant today, and today eight
countries out of nine in the BSR are today EU member states. As the Baltic COMPASS
works with problem definitions which are relevant to countries and involved actors, the
assumptions regarding what constitutes ‘relevant’ Interreg projects may change over
the course of the work in COMPASS. Accordingly, the review of period IV (ongoing)
projects included also projects which only at present seem peripherally relevant
(ranked with ‘medium’ or ‘low’ relevance, respectively). It is intended that this enables
the database to serve as a reference point to which to return, when needs arises to
connect with new collaborators. However, in many cases programme websites provide
only a brief, or incomplete, list of projects and the database developed is thus not
comprehensive. Also, some programme websites are in languages other than English
and these were not included in the review. Further, as many projects have only initiated
their first phase, many websites are still under construction.
For period IV, projects are currently being launched or are in the first years of operation
and only few results are available. Intermediate results and lessons from previous work
were therefore surfaced in direct contact with the project consortium. All lead partners
for highly relevant projects were contacted by email, and interviews were organized
with those who responded. A total of 17 lead partners were interviewed over the phone
or skype. The review of governance lessons learnt centered on the ongoing projects
under period IV. The review of websites and documents and consultations with lead
partners focused on answering the following questions: 1) what agro-environmental
problems are addressed in the project? 2) What implementing mechanisms can the
project provide information on? 3) What lessons have been learnt on policy impact? 4)
What implementation challenges have been faced in these policy measures, which the
project relates to? 5) What recommendations are made for further actions? The insights
from the consultations have been synthesised in the discussion below on governance
lessons. In some cases, inputs directly from interviews are included and the source of
information is then provided. However this is at a general level and no direct
attributions are made to the informants. A few quotes from the interviews are inserted
in the text.
1
For the draft version: Database will be made available shortly
The final draft version of the report was shared with the Baltic COMPASS Consortium
and collaborators for comments and suggestions before it was published as final report.
This step was taken in order to open up for further interpretations of the lessons learnt
and incorporate views from partners and collaborators, many of whom have been
involved in the projects reviewed.
Results and discussion
Period summaries
Interreg III
The allocation of funds between the three strands A, B, and C of Interreg III programme
reveals the priority of the strand A, with the largest budget is allocated for the crossborder cooperation (Fig.1). However, the largest number of projects is implemented
under strand C . The database of projects under Interreg III programme (Strands A, B
and C total) includes 484 projects (Fig.2 ) , 17 of which (3%) could be grouped into high
and medium relevance projects for Baltic Compass objectives, 3 and 14 projects
respectively (Fig .3). Eutrophication, water management and agricultural measures to
combat water pollution have not frequently been among the priority actions of projects
in period III.
Allocation of budget between three
strands of Interreg III programme
6%
Strand A
27%
Strand B
Strand C
67%
Fig.1. Allocation of budget between strands of Interreg III programme 2000-2006.
(Source: EC, 2008b).
Total number of projects in three
strands of Interreg III programme
17%
Strand A
Strand B
55%
28%
Strand C
Fig.2. Total number of projects in Interreg III programme 2000-2006
Level of relevance of projects of
Interreg III programme for Baltic
Compass objectives
3%
1%
low
medium
high
96%
Fig. 3. Level of relevance of projects of Interreg III programme for Baltic Compass
objectives.
Looking at the dispersal of project partners across Europe, the largest number of high and
medium relevance projects has been implemented by German, Finnish, Swedish and Latvian
authorities and organisations who implement 10 or more relevant projects. Also Danish, Polish,
Estonian and Lithuanian authorities and partners have implemented or are currently
implementing more than 5 relevant projects (Fig. 4.). In addition to the participation of the Baltic
Sea region countries in such projects, also more distant countries have been contributing to the
projects, such as Bulgaria, Switzerland, France and Italy.
Origin of project partners in high and
medium relevance of Interreg III projects for
Baltic Compass objectives
Ireland
Bulgaria
Switzerland
Italy
Austria
France
Hungary
Norway
Spain
UK
Russia
Lithuania
Estonia
Poland
Denmark
Latvia
Sweden
Finland
Germany
0
2
4
6
medium
8
10
12
14
high
Fig. 4. Origin of project partners in high and medium relevance project in Interreg III programme.
Interreg IV
Within period IV, there are a total of 69 programmes. Initial screening revealed that 30
programmes were not directly relevant to the objectives of the Baltic COMPASS
programme, and were not included in this study. However, 39 programmes were
deemed relevant, and all 121 projects within those programmes are included in the
Baltic COMPASS database (see www.balticcompass.org2). These 121 projects were
sorted further into the categories of high, medium, or low relevance. Consequently, 48
projects were deemed highly relevant, 48 projects of medium relevance, and 25 projects
were found to be of low relevance (Table. 1.). A low number of projects explicitly
mention eutrophication (of the 48 high relevance projects, only 4 mention
eutrophication). The identification of the large number of relevant projects which
address questions connected to eutrophication emphasise the importance of taking a
broad perspective on the identification of agro-environmental issues.
Table.1. Level of relevance of projects of Interreg IV programme for Baltic
Compass objectives.
Interreg IV projects relevance to Baltic COMPASS
low
25
medium
48
high
48
TOTAL
121
2
Database is to be provided at the website shortly.
TOTAL high relevance projects
interviewed:
17
The dispersal of project partners across Europe is varied. There are 45 project partners which
are participating in the 121 projects (Fig.5.). Noticeably German authorities and organizations
are involved in implementing the majority, totaling 55 projects. The constituent countries of the
United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands are also implementing a high
number of projects, ranging from 39 to 29 projects. Italy, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Austria,
Poland, France, and Estonia can be grouped as partners with an average number of 21 projects.
The next grouping include Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia, Slovakia, Croatia, Greece,
Bulgaria, and the Republic of Ireland are partners with a significantly lower average of 13
projects. The remaining partners, aside from the Åland Islands and Faroe Islands, are countries
that are in the Baltic Sea drainage basin and more distant countries. They are contributing to 7
or less projects.
Fig. 5. Origin of project partners in low, medium, and high relevance projects in Interreg
IV programme (website of Interregional co-operation programme: 'INTERREG IVC' does
not list project partners, therefore the information is not included).
For the Baltic Sea Region, the degree of participation in Interreg IV projects also differs between
countries. For high relevance projects, Germany is involved in implementing the greatest
number (20 projects). Sweden, Denmark, and Poland are involved in 15, 11, and 10 projects,
respectively. Then there is a significant drop, with Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania
averaging 6 projects. As the only non-European Union country that borders the Baltic Sea,
Russia is not involved in any Interreg IV projects (Fig. 6.).
Distribution of high relevance
projects-Baltic coastline
countries
20
15
10
5
Russia
Lithuania
Latvia
Estonia
Finland
Poland
Sweden
Denmark
Germany
0
High
Fig. 6. Distribution of high relevance projects from Interreg IV programme in
Baltic coastline countries. (Map from: http://ec.europa.eu/).
Analysis of governance lessons from ongoing projects (period IV)
Implementation of EU policy
Within the framework of the Cohesion Policy and the respective Interreg program
objectives it is envisioned that Interreg projects should depart from EU Directives and
aim at providing mechanisms contributing to the implementation of sectoral EU
Directives (some of the Directives mentioned in the consultation included the Water
Framework Directive (WFD), the Habitats Directive, the Integrated Pollution Prevention
and Control Directive (IPPC), the Floods Directive, Renewable Energy Directive, Nitrates
Directive) and regional strategies (such as the BSR Strategy and the development of the
Danube Regional Strategy). Projects thus provide an important link between national
policy implementation and the regional efforts. Frequently, projects are encouraged to
address more than one EU Directive to foster a holistic approach in addressing concrete
issues such as nitrate pollution. From the interviews it is less clear to what extent
projects support the European policy development, and concerns were raised from lead
partners regarding a lack of mechanisms for programmes and projects to feed into the
policy development process at EU level.
Some concerns amongst lead partners exist whether the geographical divisions amongst
strands and programs disable formal collaboration between regions, even in the case of
geographic overlaps. The distinction between A, B and C programmes is by some
experienced as confusing and some programme secretariats find it challenging to
explain the structure to project partners. For the Baltic Sea Region, period IV
programmes were designed prior to the establishment of the Baltic Sea Region Strategy.
Whilst implemented projects often will contribute to the Strategy, programmes are
focusing on the legally binding programme objectives to ensure quality of work. In many
cases, projects will now have to explain their relevance also to the Baltic Sea Region
Strategy but this will not form part of their formal assessment3. The North Sea
programme, one of the older Interreg programmes focused initially on knowledge
generation and information gathering. More recently, the ambition of the North Sea
program is to move beyond knowledge generation and contribute more specifically to
policy implementation and further emphasis is needed on the practical step s in terms of
how to facilitate such processes are needed4.
Surfacing diverging sectoral priorities
The projects’ implementation of sectoral policies surfaces a number of conflicts of
interests and diverging objectives and goals. In several countries, the implementation of
the Renewable Energy Directive and the WFD triggers rising competition for water use
and arable land. The EU Directive on Renewable Energy alone faces challenges in linking
production and consumption within and between countries. Even within the field of
nature conservation different management approaches are not always in sync. For
instance, National Parks are frequently managed under the jurisdiction of national
ministries whilst Natura 2000 sites are under the responsibilities of the sub-national
administrations. Here, single species conservation objectives (Nature 2000) can conflict
with ecosystem scale conservation (National Parks)5.
Compared to other uses of European rivers, navigation and transport is of high political
priority and may override environmental or agricultural objectives. As such, it remains a
challenge to embed the understanding of multifunctional waterways in sectoral
transport, environmental, and regional development policies6. In the management of
rivers to meet objectivities of flood management, floodplains frequently are also
agricultural areas and this may require a reconciliation of production measures with an
ecosystem management approach7. Altogether, this places demands on cost-benefit
analyses, which often do not factor in benefits that are difficult to ascribe monetary
value, such as recreational and environmental functions of water bodies.
“The bigger rivers are used for freight which has high economic importance and it is
easy to forget that they deliver other benefits than transport of goods”.8
In general, the management of water bodies in the face of climate change calls for new
forms of interaction between farmers and environmental organizations to identify
appropriate forms of multifunctional land use, e.g. through using agricultural land for
3
Interview with JTS staff in one of the Baltic Sea programmes.
Interview with project lead partner from the North Sea Programme.
5
Interview with lead partner, Operational Programme 'South East Europe (SEE)’
6
Interview with lead partner in project under Operational Programme 'North Sea Region'
7
Interview with lead partner in project under Operational Programme 'North Sea Region'
8
Interview with lead partner in project under Operational Programme 'North Sea Region'
4
storing of excess water for part of the year. This demands an investment in reaching
agreements between the involved parties9. Further, most urban areas are old and have
not been constructed to cope with the increased rainfall experienced over the last 30
years. Cities are growing, areas for surface water run-off and storage is shrinking and
also the soil is subsiding. This increases the risk of flooding and conflicts of interest
between water management and urban planning10. Also the ban on using sludge on
arable land is increasing the transport of sludge from country side to urban areas and it
is still unclear how it can be processed11.
Reconciliation between stakeholders
A major challenge often faced in the dialogue between sectoral administrations is that
the window of opportunity for arriving at a common vision is quite short and is found
mainly very early in respective planning processes. Yet, it is time consuming for
technical professionals to develop a common language, which is not constrained by the
presumptions of each discipline/profession. Sectoral planning authorities may not have
formal obligation to consult other authorities in matters which concern them. This is
pertinent when transboundary water bodies struggle with a location in several
administrative units who often suffer from a lack of communication channels. Another
further complicating pitfall is the absence of jointly owned datasets, maps, software
protocols, and calculation methods between countries. There is often a wide variety of
techniques to estimating costs and benefits of various policy measures, each associated
with a set of normative assumptions. Agreements on relatively basic data on for instance
water availability, emissions of pollutants etc. is often lacking. In the national
transposition of the WFD, the time pressure on officials in some cases has led to drawing
disproportionally on available data and standards already available from one sector
whilst disregarding the priorities in another sector, which did not have such standards
ready12.
“There is a diversity of methods to measure emissions of but a lack of common
standards to evaluate the efficiency of techniques offered“13
Public-private collaboration may be hampered by lack of clarity in distinguishing
whether public investments represent support to a business model serving the public
good or subsidy. Further, procurement and investment procedures can be unclear and
lacking transparency in processing of applications may cause delays and impact
negatively on the engagement of investors14. In some countries, good experiences exist
with advisory services which play an impartial role and do not have conflicts of interest,
contrary to private companies who are seen to have a vested interest in technological
investments15. Private companies are sometimes seen to market selected technologies
whilst farmers feel they lack necessary information to make an informed choice16.
9
Common message from several lead partners.
Interview with lead partner in project under the Baltic Sea Region Programme
11
Interview with lead partner in project under the Central Baltic INTERREG IV A Programme
12
Interview with lead partner in project under Operational Programme 'South East Europe (SEE)’
13
Interview with lead partner in project under Operational Programme 'North West Europe (NWE)’
14
Interview with lead partner in project under Operational Programme 'South East Europe (SEE)’
15
Interview with lead partner in project under Central Baltic INTERREG IV A Programme 2007-2013
16
E.g. Interview with lead partner in project under Operational Programme 'North West Europe (NWE)’
10
Several projects address the lack of decision support to sub-national/local stakeholders
such as farmers and interest groups to enable them to make the best choices between
available technologies and options for engagement with authorities and companies. A
particular challenge is how to make the research process accessible to local
communities to ensure that the methods and objectives of assessments take on board
local interests. Participatory monitoring of implementation of policy measures can here
be a valuable option for broader engagement with research agencies and decision
makers17. As the traditions and experiences with local involvement differ between
localities and countries, much can be learnt through exchanges between local
organizations18.
“Countries have different traditions with stakeholder involvement, and mechanisms
must be put in place for identifying the best institutional configuration in each local
and national context”19
Transboundary coordination between riparian countries
The regional strategies promise to play a key coordinating role amongst sectoral
interests and EU policy implementation. However, both the Baltic Sea Region Strategy
and the upcoming Danube Regional Strategy are shaped by a sense of uncertainty and
some confusion regarding their implications. Whilst the BSR Strategy was formulated
with the involvement of MS officials and interest groups, in which HELCOM provided
one of the platforms in facilitating the cross country collaboration, many practitioners
still do not feel they have an adequate understanding of what the Strategy entails. This is
partly because that whilst the content of the strategy was developed early on, the
preparation of a communication plan and the coordination amongst practitioners came
rather late20. In the Danube basin, it was suggested that one of the limiting factors is
lacking shared ownership in the regional priorities and there is a need for continue
building trust between riparian states. In the process of establishing a commission in the
Danube basin Interreg projects have established networks with a broad representation
of different stakeholders at country level and Regional level21.
“The development of the second regional EU strategy, the Danube Regional Strategy,
is associated with great confusion and rumors amongst countries and sub-national
stakeholders” 22.
The interest in transboundary cooperation between countries may also differ from case
to case. Often, small countries place a greater priority on the collaboration on
transboundary rivers and basins23. In general transnational collaboration seems
smoother at project level, whilst the negotiation of strategic decisions between national
level actors is a more severe stumbling block.
17
E.g. interview with lead partner under Operational Programme 'Central Europe’
E.g. interview with lead partner under Central Baltic INTERREG IV A Programme
19
E.g. interview with lead partner under Central Baltic INTERREG IV A Programme
20
E.g. interview with lead partner under Central Baltic INTERREG IV A Programme
21
E.g. interview with lead partner under Operational Programme 'South East Europe (SEE)’
22
E.g. interview with lead partner under Operational Programme 'South East Europe (SEE)’
23
E.g. interview with lead partner in project under Operational Programme 'Central Europe’
18
It was suggested that HELCOM’s work to ensure the implementation of the Baltic Sea
Action Plandoes not consider the views of those who do not find that eutrophication is a
major problem. The collaboration across countries in the BSR is limited to collaboration
between Ministries of Environments without sufficient involvement of other relevant
ministries. For example, using HELCOM as an implementing mechanism for projects
addressing agriculture development was widely perceived as difficult because of the
strict vision of the commission that contradicts the vision of institutions and
organisations involved in agricultural development24. The Rhine commission has been
viewed as a model for many projects in the Danube basin countries for its basin wide
approach and ability to establish a commission represented by the countries in the
Basin. The value of institutional formations such as the Rhine commission as a tool for
sharing and maintaining cross country collaboration is an important aspect to consider
while understanding the function and role of Interreg in different parts of Europe25.
Opportunities for collaboration with ongoing projects
A vast number of collaborative opportunities were discussed during the consultations
with lead partners and identified through the literature review. Due to the fact that most
period IV projects, similar to COMPASS, are only initiating their first activities now, it
was in most cases agreed to stay in touch via email and provide regular updates
regarding outputs and activities. Many projects expressed interest in ensuring that
COMPASS partners were made aware of their respective activities, and saw the present
review as a contribution to this end. For some projects a collaborative link already does
exist in the sense that project partners in the Baltic COMPASS are engaged also in these
projects. Over and above project-to-project coordination, many activities are
implemented in riparian countries in the BSR and should be considered in relation to the
planning of work within COMPASS. Concrete possible linkages discussed included crossvisits to field sites, regular updates on findings, and sharing of contacts and mutual use
of networks. Below, a summary table (table x) provides an overview of the projects
identified as most relevant for COMPASS partners to liaise with. From the 121 Interreg
IV projects that were evaluated for relevance to Baltic COMPASS objectives this includes
the 48 projects which were deemed highly relevant. These 48 projects are listed with
their abbreviated aims or priorities, and websites (Annex 1).
Conclusions
The study has identified a vast number of projects implemented in Interreg period III
and IV, which are highly relevant to Baltic COMPASS. Whilst few projects in both periods
explicitly address eutrophication, there appears during period IV to have been a recent
increasing interest in problems, which are clearly relevant for concerns regarding
eutrophication. Eutrophication of water bodies and agricultural measures to combat
water pollution are problems that have not been explicitly in focus in projects under
Interreg III, but have emerged more explicitly under period IV. Similarly, as the Baltic
COMPASS works with problem definitions which are relevant to countries and involved
actors, the assumptions regarding what constitutes ‘relevant’ Interreg projects to liaise
with will undoubtedly change over the course of the work in COMPASS. The contacts
24
25
E.g. interview with lead partner in project under Operational Programme 'North Sea Region'
E.g. interview with lead partner in project under Operational Programme 'North Sea Region'
with ongoing projects confirmed the importance of continuous communication
throughout the project implementation to ensure the necessary value-adding. The list of
contacts in Annex 1 is expected to serve as a tool for the COMPASS consortium in the
further work in this regard.
The projects, which contributed to this study, implement a variety of sectoral policies
within the framework of the European Cohesion Policy and surface a number of conflicts
of interests and diverging objectives and goals. In many cases projects identify
weaknesses in EC Directives or conflicts faced in the national transposition. Whilst the
nature of most project consortia with inclusion of key public, private and civil society
actors at national and sub-national levels enables projects to contribute to policy
processes in country contexts, it is less clear to what extent projects are enabled to
support the European policy development.
A general reflection on the evidence surfaced in this study is that, in the national
transposition and implementation of EU Directives, it appears that several pieces of
national legislation have been prepared without extensive national consultation. As
important technical challenges and interests have not been factored into national policy,
this has led to delays in implementation. In some cases, important stakeholders do not
recognize the problem, which the policy asks them to address, and whole segments of
society may have a sense of exclusion. However, the frustrations regarding involvement
in the policy adaptation can also owe to sub-national actors experiencing a lack of
competencies to engage national actors, or a lack of practical opportunities and fora to
air their concerns nationally. In some cases, this is a factor which contributes to a lack of
compliance with requirements under voluntary measures, for instance the
implementation of economic compensation.
In sum, the review of governance lessons has highlighted a number of key
implementability problems which will be further explored during the course of Baltic
COMPASS. Some of these include:
1. Constraints in terms of resources and time planning in the dialogue between
sectoral administrations;
2. Lacking public-private partnership approaches to address concerns regarding
vested interests for the private sector in the provision of technical services to
user groups such as farmers;
3. The fact that some sectoral priorities benefit from more political interest than
others, which, in turn, is effectively curbing the incentives from civil servants to
address genuine goal conflicts;
4. Incompatibility between management frameworks, including absence of jointly
owned datasets, maps, software protocols, and calculation methods;
5. Inability of cost-benefit analyses to factor in benefits that are difficult to ascribe
monetary value, such as recreational and environmental functions of water
bodies;
6. Lack of decision support to sub-national/local stakeholders such as farmers and
interest groups to enable them to engage with the policy implementation;
7. The value of transboundary commissions and committees can be impounded by
lacking involvement of some sectors or limited communication with national and
sub-national stakeholders.
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