The 20 year anniversary of the Interreg North Sea Conference
In 2017 the North Sea Programme celebrates the 20 year anniversary of its annual conference. This year’s location was the German city of Göttingen. Over 300 attendants took part in the festivities and seized the opportunity to network and gather ideas for new projects. As an approved North Sea Region project, TOPSOIL was present to share knowledge with and acquire information from related North Sea Region projects.
Flemish prime minister Geert Bourgeois
All speakers emphasized the importance of cooperation within the North Sea Region. The North Sea Region is a strongly developed region and cooperation across borders is of the utmost importance to maintain that standard. Flemish prime minister Geert Bourgeois used the following quote of the American philosopher William James to express his understanding of the North Sea Region: “We are like islands in the sea: separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
All guest speakers during a panel discussion (FLTR: Geert Bourgeois – Flemish Minister President; Stefan Wenzel - Minister of the environment of Lower Saxony; Kerstin Brunnström - President of the North Sea Commission; Jean Pierre Halkin - European Commission, DG Regio; Carl-Otto Künnecke - CEO and Management Director of Künnecke Enterprise and Katharina Erdmenger - Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Germany.)
In this spirit of cooperation the TOPSOIL project took part in one of the conference’s 37 workshops, divided among the four priorities of the programme (Thinking growth, eco-innovation, a sustainable North Sea Region and Green transport and mobility).
Together with other North Sea Region climate resilience projects BEGIN, FAIR, Building With Nature and FRAMES, the TOPSOIL project shared experience and explored possibilities of creating synergies in the future. Attendants to the workshop were also invited to share their vision on the projects and on future cooperations between them. Off course this initiative doesn’t limit itself to the five projects mentioned above. Other relevant projects, now and in the near future, are also invited to contribute to a joint solution to tackling the negative outcomes of climate change.