With the approval of the third progress report the improvement of two policies has been validated by the Interreg-Europe programme. It is the Norwegian lead partner Vest-Agder County that has reported the improvement.
The first policy (National programme for value creation and cultural heritage) is improved through a new project funded by National Directorate of Cultural Heritage.
The project objective is to increase the knowledge base available to the stakeholders working with exploitation of cultural heritage of historical outports of Agder. This is the tourism network, the coastal municipalities and the county councils. This will be done through a mapping of the technical infrastructure of the historical outports used by visitors. The project will arrange two seminars for stakeholders with a view to improve long term cooperation.
The complexity of the territory, where heritage and tourism management are interlinked, requires improved coordination of local and regional actions. This need was inspired by knowledge from Leartibai Development Agency that showed how key stakeholder Basquetour, the public company of the Tourism Ministry of the Basque Government have established different working tables that bring together agents contributing to their coastal tourism strategy. In this participatory way the strategy is deployed from the bottom up. The approach in the Basque Country was a heavy inspiration and new project aims at the same partnership-based value creation within the tourism sector as they have achieved.
The second policy (Regional Research Funds Agder Region) deals with evidence-based policy development based on increased cross-sectoral coordination and involvement of local communities. The policy is improved thanks to funding of pre-project with the main objective to develop an application for a national or regional research programme in 2018.
The sub-objectives are: 1) map the current research on cultural environments & public planning; 2) define three appropriate research cases, 3) develop a national research consoritum.
The development of the pre-project application was inspired by the good practises of the Seascape Character Assesment (SCA) and the Public Participation Network (PPN) from Donegal County Council. SCA demonstrates how a key aspect in local and regional policy development is to base measures on an integrated cross-sectoral approach. The challenge is that such an approach requires both extensive research and an informed comprehensive knowledge base. Of particular interests is how SCA was informed by public consultation and stakeholder engagement. One key feature is to understand how a place is experienced and valued by local communities. In the same way the pre-project are looking for methods for an easier integration of different sectoral interests and scientific evidence with the perception and values of the local communities. In much the same manner PPN offers a particular organisation of how to involve communities in local planning issues. PPN facilitate opportunities for networking, communication and the sharing of relevant information, and to encourage public participation in local decision-making and planning of services. The issue of how to organise the involvement of local communities on a more permanent basis is also a concern o the pre-project.