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ODER Delta: The Oder Delta "European Landscape of the Year 1993/94"
A cross-border project for ecological regional development

Type of Entry: Project
Website: www.nfi.at/english/Projekte/ldj/documents/doc1-en.htm
Duration: 1993 - 1994

Objectives of ODER Delta project:

The Oder Delta on the border between Germany and Poland has great potential - largely intact natural landscape, chances for economic development in the fields of tourism and organic farming, but also many problems such as the water and traffic situation and the difficult economic situation, which is marked by high unemployment.

In accordance with the principles underlying te "Landscape of the Year" philosophy, the discussions about policies and measures designed to bring about a sustainable development were planned and conducted to include all population groups, associations, enterprises and politically responsible agents.

The International Friends of Nature start from the premiss that ecologically sound economic policies can only be implemented to the benefit of everyone concerned, if there is broad consensus on the objectives. A dialogue with those concerned on both sides of the border was, therefore, deemed an essential prerequisite for the drafting of policies for the sustainable development of the Oder Delta region.

The second prerequisite was deemed to be an integrational approach. Neither the protection of nature as such nor the creation of jobs at all cost were to be the sole centre of interest. The idea was to start building on the strengths of the cross-border region and to integrate all the important sectors (agriculture, tourism, local trades, transport infrastructure, nature protection) into a programme of sustainable structural development. The aim was to achieve a synthesis of natural, living, economic and recreational environments.

Activities connected with this project:

1. Seminars, round tables, campaigns.

From December 1992 to September 1994, the INF organised and/or co-organised seminars and round-table discussion, and ran campaingns with farreaching effects. The principal topics were soft tourism, agriculture and ecology, regional planning, traffic and transport, water pollution. The Seminars have helped to analyse the regional problems and to hammer out solutions with a view to sustainable development. At the same time, the y helpf to network different agents - associations, authorities and institutions - in the region.

2. Press tour and proclamation

The press tour around the Oder lagoon and the blocking of the Zecheriner bridge by Naturefriends activists, organised in support of the political demand for the re-construction of a long-distance rail link to the island of Usedom, met with lively media response. 700 Naturefriends and top-echelon political representatives of Poland and Germany gathered for the proclamation of the Landscape of the Year. Next to the small village of Kamminke a bridge was constructed across the peat canal which forms the boundary between Poland and Germany. A bridge for one day - and for one day it seemed as if there could be a shared responsibility for this landscape.

The Environment Minister of Mecklenburg-West-Pomerania and the Voivode of Stettin planted a tree on each side of the boundary and were breaking out in a sweat as they made their way through throngs of German and Polish visitors. But they did support the demands of the International Friends of Nature and promised to set up a trans-border national park or biosphere reserve. The bridge had to be dismantled again, but was re-constructed one year later. One of the demands raised by the Naturefriends was for this border-crossing point to become part of an international long-distance path circling the Oder lagoon.

The project was successful in.

  • attracting public attention to the region by means of the mentioned activities and through contacts with the media
  • involving a great number of those concerned in discussions with decision- makers
  • enhancing cross-border cooperation in the region
  • creating awareness of the need for the region's sustainable development
  • reaching arrangements and setting up institutions that will facilitate the achievement of this objective, such as :
    • the association Biosphärenreservat Region Odermündung e.V, whose aim is to prepare the ground for the creation of a biosphere reserve in accordance with the Unesco guidelines.
    • the working party Parlamentarier für die Odermündung, composed of members of the European Parliament, the German Bundestag, the Polish Seym, and the regional parliaments on both sides of the Oder, who endorse and support the aims of cross-border regional development.
Keywords: Coastal landscapes and ecosystems, Estuary and lagoon, Management, Recreation and Tourism, Transport
Partner: The Environment Minister of Mecklenburg-West-Pomerania
the Voivode of Szczecin city
Oder Delta Foundation
The association Biosphärenreservat Region Odermündung e.V