Delta Lady – Floating Cultures in River Deltas

Boosting regional economy through ecosystem services in river deltas

The Regional Natural Park of Camargue in France hosted the 1st Interregional Learning Event of the newly funded Delta Lady project on 1-2 October 2018. Nine partner organisations from six European countries met in Camargue to exchange experiences on the regional policies and good practices of the delta regions.

Six delta regions in Europe – Camargue in Rhône delta  in France, Rijn delta in the Netherlands, Danube delta in Romania, Albufera delta in Spain, Po delta in Italy, and River Blackwater delta in Ireland – aim at the improvement of the regional policy instruments regarding the better use of ecosystem services. The policy issue is how to foster the natural and cultural capabilities available from the past and to develop new experiences based on ecosystem services in the river deltas to boost regional economy.

During the meeting partners discussed the issues and challenges related to their deltas. The rationale behind their participation is no specific reference to the use of ecosystem services in the regional policies. All partners address policy instruments for valorisation of ecosystem services in the deltas for regional economy. Some start from the perspectives on tangible activities (e.g. Po, Danube, Rhone with fishing, reed, rice, tourism, education), whereas others address methods (distribution of benefits, effectuation, collaboration).

The focus of the meeting was Camargue delta, which is rich in biodiversity and ecosystem services. Next to nature protection, husbandry of bulls and horses, cultivation of rice and reed beds, fisheries and salt production are important. Birds and wild horses are major for tourism. Tourism activities are very diverse, from mass tourism on the seashore to cultural and natural tourism in the park area. The director of the Natural Park of Camargue and stakeholders’ group presented their views on the issues related to the rice farming, reed beds and fishery. Rice in Camargue is the main crop. Higher salinity of soil is a major issue. Balancing of the fishery yield which covers fish, shrimps and mussels is the major issue as well.

Meeting in the Natural Park of Camargue and the study tour to the delta was a success showcasing successful integration of biodiversity and tourism and other ecosystem services and opening the opportunities for the cross-regional learning.


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Contact details:

University of Twente, CSTM

Project leader

Delta Lady (Floating Cultures in River Deltas)

Project funded by Interreg Europe programme


Yoram Krozer:

Phone number: +31 58 284 9002

Maia Lordkipanidze:

Phone number: +31 6 51 23 13 71


The 2nd Interregional Learning Event in Spain

The Delta Lady project partners met in Valencia on 5-6 March, 2019, to exchange experiences on sustainable use of ecosystem services in their deltas for regional economy. The Council of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Services & Shipping of the Valencia Region (CCCV) hosted the Interregional Learning event which was combined with the study visit to the Albufera Delta, partner meeting and the Steering Group meeting. 25 participants attended the event: 17 project partners, 5 stakeholders and 3 external experts. 2 stakeholders were from the Province of Friesland (NL), 1 from General Directorate of European Funds (ES), 1 from the University of Ferrara (IT)  and 1 from Southern Regional Assembly from Ireland.

The first day of the event (March 5) was held in the Albufera Natural Park (PNA) office, followed by the study tour to the Albufera Delta. Partners presented and discussed innovative uses of the ecosystem services of the Deltas based on the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage. The study visit to the PNA started with the “Racó de L’Olla” Interpretation Center, the Bird Observation Point, the Tancat de l’Albufera farm and the Gola del Pujol.

The second day of the event (March 6) was held in the premises of the Council of Chambers of Commerce in Valencia. The morning session started with the Steering Group meeting during which the group members addressed and discussed some administrative issues related to the project.

After that, the rest of the partners joined the partners meeting, which was then continued by external experts’ presentations: among them, presentation of the managing director of the technical office of the PNA, the professor of the UPV (Technical University of Valencia) specializing in wetlands and sustainable tourism, the manager of the DO “Arroz de Valencia”, the secretary of the Association Guides Birding Comunitat Valenciana, the manager of the Marca Parcs Naturals of the GVA, and the manager of the company Arroz Tartana.

For this two-day meeting, the CCCV had support and collaboration of the head of the Regional Policies Service of the European Union, of the General Directorate of European Funds of the Generalitat Valenciana.

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The Regional Stakeholder Group meeting in Romania

The Danube Delta National Institute for Research and Development organized the RSG meeting on 28th February, 2019.  The event took place at the headquarters of the Danube Delta National Institute for Research and Development in Tulcea. The main topic of the RSG meeting was the identification of good practices related to regional development initiatives that valorize the natural and/or cultural resources in the Danube Delta. It was a first discussion with stakeholders related to potential areas of improvement in the Regional Operational Programme.

The participants were welcomed by the Scientific Director of the DDNI and then proceeded with a round of table introductions. Mr. Hanganu presented the Delta Lady project and reiterated the purpose of the Regional Stakeholder Group and its importance for reaching the project objectives. Afterwards, Madalina Sbarcea presented  some of the insights acquired during the 1st Interregional learning event of the Delta Lady project in France in Camargue Delta.

Then we proceeded with a presentation of the Good practices that we identified in our Delta area and asked participants to give us (or think of) potential good practices they could nominate for us to further study. Next, the representative of the Intermediate Body for our policy instrument presented the Regional Operational Programme and some examples of projects funded through it, that could be seen as good practice.

After the presentation sessions, we discussed the issues related to the ROP axes that we aim to improve, and asked the representatives of the Integrated Territorial Investments Instrument for Danube Delta to mention what were some of the problems that applicants faced when trying to apply for ROP in the dedicated call for the Danube Delta area. Some of these problems were related to programme indicators that were not adapted to our area which has many particularities that did not reflect in the Applicants Guideline.

 Representatives of some municipalities told us they are preparing some projects for the ongoing call of ROP, related to tourism developments. Other municipalities complained about insufficient communication in the decision-making process for the Danube Delta management plan, especially in areas related to zoning of restricted areas and natural resources management or regulations that limit options but do not support much the people in the Delta.

The Regional Development Agency for South-Eastern Romania (the intermediate body for ROP) expressed their interest in working together so we can bring new elements to the programme that would better support regional development in the Danube Delta.

All participants were happy that they are consulted and that a communication program is set in place through the RSG (this also creates an opportunity for them to get together and discuss different issues, not necessarily exclusively focused on the project) and expressed their willingness to further participate to next meetings.

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