The high spatial and economic demands are threatening the sustainable development and maintenance of the special character of Delta regions. These areas are often characterized by both very important ecological values (river basin and coastal zone), and concentrations of urban and economic activities.
Regional policy measures are often inefficient and ineffective as an integrated and sustainable approach is often absent. Taking into account this problematic issue, the partners aim to identify good practices for a “Better Integrated Delta Approach”, based on the experience of the Tagus Estuary, Elbe Estuary, Severn Estuary and Rhine-Scheldt Meuse Delta.
Delta regions in Europe have similar characteristics and challenges. Therefore the Province of East Flanders began in 2004 a search for partners. Partners showed interest as they are in need of best practices that 1) can be used to convince people/politicians for a more integrated approach, 2) offer ideas for better solutions in sustainable development. The partners want to improve their regional Delta development policies through the exchange of best practices and defining and implementing policy recommendations.
The project idea has been developed jointly during 7 meetings throughout Europe in the various Delta regions. In between the meetings ideas have been communicated, developed, matrixes were disseminated and the proposal has been jointly developed. Discussions have been held with 12 Delta regions. In the end, 9 Delta regions agreed on similar topics, objectives and budget.
Delta regions are geographically sensitive areas as their sustainable development is constantly endangered through the many natural/environmental and economic demands. Some natural delta areas tend to be densely urbanized regions, often related to port development, using the river delta as an important gateway (Rhine-Scheldt, Tagus, Elbe, Llobregat and Severn). Other delta regions consist of more rural, agricultural use of the highly fertile riverside land (Ebre, Donau, Vistula and Minho).
The overall objective of DeltaNet is to improve the effectiveness of regional development policies in Delta regions through interregional cooperation in the areas of environmental risk prevention, specifically through the development of appropriate coordinated spatial planning measures in geographically sensitive areas.
During the project preparation 20 problems were identified for the Delta regions. The partners jointly selected the 5 most important problems. One of the problems is the Unbalanced Delta approach, which is the discussion theme of this conference.
In fact, characteristic of the Delta regions is the competition between the highly important economic developments for the ports and the specific ecologic value of the Delta areas. These two aspects (economy & ecology) are competing and often result in an unbalanced Delta development. The Taag Delta has experience in solving issues concerning the harbour and it’s surroundings (compensation policy).
The present conference report aims to present the contributions of each partner in providing solutions to influence other Delta regions concerning sustainable Delta governance in terms of Integrated Delta Approach (balance between economic and ecological priorities).