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A governance model that fits

How does one manage a cross-border nature park? Not easily, is the answer. Even if Scarpe-Escaut Park and its Walloon neighbour share certain features, such as a common language, similar landscapes, comparable missions, and even the same objectives, it is impossible to forget that two different countries are involved. This entails two different sets of regulatory constraints, creating complexities which, in order to carry through any cross-border project, require both imagination and patience to untangle.


The Hainaut Cross-border Nature Park relies on a model of governance that is not supported by a legal framework but is based on frequent two-way consultation on policy and technical matters. A partnership agreement legitimises the cross-border arrangement and defines the means for collaboration between the two parks.

For technical matters, the senior management boards of both parks meet on a monthly basis to discuss major cross-border issues, and project leaders and their teams work in tandem on cross-border initiatives.

At a policy level, elected representatives of the Hainaut Cross-border Nature Park meet to debate and make decisions at:

  1. Elected representative cross-border days: open to all local and regional elected representatives, these occasions aim to bring together individuals with political influence in order to encourage discussion and the exchange of ideas and address particular issues with cross-border implications.
  2. The Cross-border Committee: a consultative body which meets three times a year to make decisions on current issues concerning the Hainaut Cross-border Nature Park. The Cross-border Committee comprises:
  • The Escaut Plains Nature Park Commission for Management Board, the decision-making body of the Walloon park, made up principally of elected representatives of the Park’s communes and the Hainaut province and spokespeople from nature conservation groups and economic, craft, tourism and leisure industries. 
  • The Scarpe-Escaut Joint Association Management Committee, the authority that makes decisions for the French park, composed in equal numbers of representatives from the Nord-Pas de Calais Regional Council, the Nord Regional Council, public bodies undertaking intercommunal activities and services and the communes themselves.
  • The Association of Concerned Communes Committee, made up of representatives elected by the communes. It acts as a forum for, and exercises authority over, proposal and consultation processes for the Scarpe-Escaut Regional Nature Park.




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