Venue: Erlebnis Bremerhaven GmbH
Address: H.-H.-Meier-Straße 6, 27568 Bremerhaven
09:30 Arrival and coffee
10:00 Welcome and Opening by Chair: Danny Brennan
|Canal & River Trust
|Danny Brennan (DB), Chair
|Canal & River Trust
|Chris Barnett (CB)
|Franziska Stenzel (FS)
|Hosting partner, Bremerhaven
|Claudia Harms (CH)
|Provence of Antwerp
|Sabine Denissen (SD)
|Judith Wouters (JW)
|Manon van Meer (MvM)
Steve Higham (CRT), Caroline McCarroll (Waterways Ireland), Frédéric MILLET (VNF), Rudy van der Ween (City of Ghent), Dawn Syvertsen (Telemark County Council), Katarina Nordmark (Värmland County Administrative Board), Brenda Turnbull (Lagan Navigation Trust).
Minutes of the meeting in Bordeaux, held on 31 January 2018
- Notes of the VNF conference of Sabine will be added and send around with the
The minutes are approved.
Role of NIWE: Danny Brennan
- At the NIWE meeting on 31st January in Bordeaux, the network agreed that, while we are developing a strong track record as a practical and project level network, we need now to build on this solid project partnership and delivery base to develop more strategic engagement with EU and related institutions and agencies. In this way, we can increase EU (and national and regional government) understanding of the economic, environmental and social potential of the waterways to people and
To begin to do this, NIWE agreed the following strategic objectives for the next period:
- To find ways to develop EU policy makers and funders’ understanding of the potential of the waterways to improve economic performance, community wellbeing and environmental progress (not least by case study and impact assessment packaging and dissemination – our joint & individual project work give a strong evidence base for this);
- And, through this work, to identify existing and new capacity and opportunities and to help NIWE influence EU decision-making and investment towards further Inland Waterway support and investment. This is, of course, very timely at this crucial period when the Commission and its respective DGs are currently developing policy and funding programmes for the period 2021-28. Therefore the time is right to allocate resource to this
- In order to meet these objectives, we agreed:
- To undertake an audit of existing influence, reach and networking capacity among existing NIWE members, through their own direct efforts and networks, through their national and regional governments and through the latter’s present presence (especially regional and national BXL offices) and leverage in Brussels and with the institutions;
- On the basis of the outcome of the audit, and further discussion at the June meeting, to develop a (two/three year) programme of activity, both to maximise potential and to identify gaps and opportunities for further promotion of the waterways and their economic, social and environmental benefits;
- And, in parallel, to engage with likeminded organisations, regional, national and international, to develop a broad single platform in pursuit of the NIWE objectives listed (and to identify risks of duplication of effort).
Initial audit work
- A simple template was developed, looking at networking capacity, regional offices, representational potential, advocacy capacity, and related EU programme initiative links and potential, for NIWE partners to complete to begin the
Seven returns came back from this initial exercise (covering NIWE members from seven of our eight member states) out of a total membership of twelve organisations. All the returns expressed support for the ambition of strengthening influence. All the returns demonstrated very practical EU related working relationships through programme activity. Some of the returns, mainly from larger member organisations, already have relationships with Brussels through regional offices or other means, while others have relationships based on programme activity. A number of returns mentioned INE as a key part of developing future relationships.
We agreed the following next steps:
- Due to the fact that we have not received returns from some of the NIWE membership, we agreed to set up some teleconferences with key individuals in those NIWE member organisations. This will broaden the base, further engage the NIWE membership and complete the DB and SH will undertake this between now and the next meeting in the Autumn (9th October, Brussels).
- In order to improve our reach, it is important to have strong material that explains our value to EU policy objectives of our social, economic and environmental contribution to localities and regions, both in terms of showcasing our individual and our collective activities. We therefore agreed to further develop the NIWE website to provide that more detailed platform to demonstrate our worth as a first step to this stronger packaging of our value as a sector and as partners. Canal & River Trust is willing to provide the time and capacity to develop this work (ensuring accuracy with NIWE members as we go) and will make progress on this ahead of the October meeting
- This will also improve our ability to use NIWE to help partners develop new (or integrate with existing) thematic networks that are often a key part of ensuring the Long Term Effects from Interreg/other EU projects and
- Once we have progress on all the above, and therefore more to “show” EU institutions and other relevant agencies about our work and potential value to them, we agreed to test this with EU and related personnel. We will use the opportunity of the Regions and Cities European Week (8th – 11th October in Brussels) to meet key personnel, test the approach and develop the project further in terms of scope and
We also agreed to have a discussion with INE, for support, guidance and potential joint working on the objectives and purpose we are now pursuing (either during the European Week or, perhaps preferably, before that).
Partner update European programmes (events & projects) Chris Barnett
We had a discussion framed around some presentations (linked to the recent NSR conference), the main points of which are listed below.
Structural Fund programmes for 2021-28 (presentation is attached with the meeting minutes).
- Interreg budgets reducing by 12% – but still
- Horizon, Erasmus, LIFE budgets go UP, No Interreg Europe (as it is a complicated programme with minor results).
- Door open for UK involvement – IF there’s political will to participate in UK.
- Interreg Regions will (have to) change. There will almost certainly be a NORTH SEA REGION.
- Cross Border Programmes have to have LAND BASED borders (not seas).
- BIG focus on (or accommodation of) SMALLER
- Higher grant rate (up to 70%?) for some Interreg Regions, but will probably still be around 50/60% for regions most NIWE members are eligible to participate
- 2 years to draft Programmes so opportunity to have say (NIWE timing??).
- Lisbon / Gothenburg / EU 2020 replaced (by ??).
- 25% of EU budget will be addressing Climate Change, (30% of ERDF).
Future bids for 2014-2020
The new programmes will be more flexible. The 11 existing objectives are simplified and consolidated to 5 (which we agreed could be an opportunity for NIWE):
- A smaller Europe (innovative and smart economic transformation).
- A greener, low carbon Europe (including energy transition, the circular economy, climate adaptation and risk management).
- A more connected Europe (mobility and ICT connectivity).
- A more social Europe (the European Pillar of social rights).
- A Europe closer to citizens (sustainable development of urban, rural and coastal areas and local initiatives).
- Scope for inclusion of projects focussing on wellbeing, social innovation etc. (CRT would help NIWE to press for this, based on existing and developing outcomes and activity data and projects).
- Opportunity to think small(er) in future, more community led
- EU / ETC programmes are trying to simplify administration of
- Some countries or regions seem much more ‘switched on’ than
- Networking still a vital
- Strong potential for NIWE to provide a “bank” of experts and institutions that can be drawn upon to provide EU advisory group and observer capacity. Most EU funded projects need to feature networks to help ensure the Impacts and Long Term Effects are sufficiently well promoted and projects / results are sustained after projects
UK role in future EU programmes post Brexit.
- CRT has shifted (structurally and culturally) from simply a waterway authority to a well being charity, focussing on the well being benefits of waterways, community proximity to them and community engagement with them. This is a major change for the charity. In
- NIWE terms, meets the programme requirements better as it is more regional orientated and has a wider perspective and perhaps broader offer across EU objectives and Commission DGs.
Platform ‘VisuRIS’ (www.visuris.be) – Judith Wouters
It is a system/app to help boaters plan their trip in a safe way. It provides them with all the (real time) information they need by combining all available information of the waterways. The presentation is attached.
It is similar to the Riverguide of Rijkswaterstaat Netherlands. RWS will be asked to give a presentation about their developments to the next meeting.
- Strategic meetings – Tie these in to bigger events (as for the VNF River Festival in Bordeaux), where there is reasonable accessibility in terms of
- World Canals Conference
- The next NIWE meeting will be tied to the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels.
Partner update European programmes (events & projects)
Blue HuBs by Sabine Denissen
- There is a significant change in this project, which involved the city of Antwerp and port of Antwerp; there will not be a waterbus for the province of
- Blue Hubs will be no longer a project of the Province of Antwerp. The waterbus was too expensive for them to be a part of their pilot area. The port of Antwerp was interested but did not take over the lead partner role. Therefore the project is
Interreg Europe Bid (Renaissance of secondary waterways) by Sabine Denissen (about policy and strategic plans)
- This project is considered potentially important to NIWE and well suited to the network’s strengths and
- The province of Antwerp (SD) is willing to take over the lead partner role as CRT is ineligible. The next step is SD and SH meeting with the consultant about the project, before a final decision on participation (if so, it will need to be within this cycle). SH and SD check finances and dates
Watour project; not taken further as there too many difficulties.
Manon: monitoring all waterway related surveys in the Netherlands; MvM will present this project at the next meeting, and look at the potential of this approach for the NIWE Network.
Flemish Waterways has done a study on the economic impact in the region; JW will present it next time. FWW needs studies on financial models for river cruises and (green) ferries. Manon will send the details of an agency which specialises in that.
Sabine: important surveys and other useful reports on waterway issues and impacts should be on the website. The secretariat will send out a question to the partners (this is a good example of broadening the usefulness and value of the website).
Franziska: Bremerhaven would like to invest in Museum ships, and needs financial models. This is normally done using volunteers and emphasising skill development through heritage in the UK. If you have old docks you could exploit those for this purpose.
Claudia: A new project is approved about mapping old wrecks and other artefacts on the sea bed of the North Sea.
Chris: Green WIN has full approval. Canal & River Trust are Lead Partner. FLASH, has approval of stage one; the province of Gelderland is a partner. This focuses on small hydro schemes and the challenge of generating energy from low drop situations.
Danny: perhaps a wider discussion of the new CRT approach of well being as its core purpose might be of interest and value for NIWE (next meeting?).
On this, we agreed that we would look at a broadly based marketing and communications plan, shaped through the EU influence work now underway, including best use of a further developed website, use of social media and other measures that fit with our objectives for NIWE in the next phase.
Therefore, CRT will review the website and see how it can best be (i) re-designed and renewed and (ii) maintained and refreshed.
Can we do more on social media? Yes we should. This should follow from refreshing the website (CRT will have more time and capacity to spend on the subject).
Date and place next meeting
We considered holding our next meeting at the World Canals conference in September (venue in Athlone, South of Ireland). However:
Attending the WCC is for a lot of NIWE members too expensive. The location of the venue is not easy to reach and it is expected most of the rooms and venues are already booked.
The next meeting will be held on 9 October in Brussels at the European week of regions and cities 8-11 October): http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/regions-and-cities/#!/home. The meeting will be hosted by the Flemish Waterway
|Add and send around with the minutes notes of the VNF conference of
|Set up some teleconferences with key individuals in those NIWE member
|DB & SH
|Further development of the NIWE website.
|Scope for inclusion of projects focussing on wellbeing, social innovation etc.
|Give a presentation about RWS developments to the next meeting.
|Arrange a meeting with the consultant about the Interreg Europe Bid
(Renaissance of secondary waterways) project.
|SD & SH
|Present the project Monitoring all waterway related surveys in the Netherlands at the next meeting and look at the potential of this approach for
the NIWE Network.
|FWW has done a study on the economic impact in the region; JW will present
it next time.
|FWW needs studies on financial models for river cruises and (green) ferries.
Manon will send the details of an agency which specialises in that.
|Important surveys and other useful reports on waterway issues and impacts should be on the website. The secretariat will send out a question to the partners (this is a good example of broadening the usefulness and value of
|CRT will review the website and see how it can best be (i) re-designed and
renewed and (ii) maintained and refreshed.
|Do more on social media