How can the potential of water and culture and natural heritage in inland waterway regions be increased? How can stakeholders strengthen their cooperation? How can the stakeholder & institutional learning group (SIG) instigate and facilitate actions to increase the value of inland waterways? And what ‘good practices’ can be identified? And are these good practices transferable to other European regions or are they typical for the regional situation? These and more questions were discussed during the opening SIG meeting in the region of Zuid-Holland.

On the 26th of September the Province of Zuid-Holland and Association Regio Water organized the opening SIG meeting for the Interreg Europe project SWARE. The two partners work together in the region of Zuid-Holland to make use of the economic potential of natural and cultural heritage and to stimulate recreational use of inland waterways.

The region of Zuid-Holland will be working with a two-tier system for the SIG. The first tier is the top-level, high interested and high power participants. This is the managing/overseeing SIG group. This group consists of:

- The representative of the province of Zuid-Holland;

- Chairman of Association Regio Water;

- Director Participation of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment;

- Representative of a Water Authority;

- Representative of Metropoolregio Rotterdam Den Haag;

- Director of Association Regio Water;

- Manager of the Stakeholder & Institutional Learning Group;

- Additional members brought forward by this group.

The second tier will be sub-SIG-groups. These stakeholders will be chosen on their expertise on a specific theme and/or sub region within the region of Zuid-Holland. These will consist of participants from departments of the so called “five O’s”.

During the opening meeting, the SIG’s first tier was invited to think about how to incorporate the SWARE project into the bigger picture of policy documents and stakeholders involvement. The presentation about the project, by Manita Koop (director VRW), instigated a fruitful discussion among the members of the SIG. To further the process, many more meetings will be held by the region of Zuid-Holland. In the first semester most attention will be on the realisation of the regional state of the art and the involvement of existing stakeholder groups. Starting point will be existing ambitions.