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Why cross-border?

Nature has no borders therefore environmental management must go beyond administrative boundaries to meet the needs of the natural world. The joining of the two parks is a perfect solution: financial resources could be pooled, ideas and experiences could be shared in a way that is mutually enriching, and combined forces would help put the park on the map. After 20 years of collaboration, the list of cross-border projects that have been successfully undertaken is a long one!

With or without European funding, cross-border projects have a natural fit with all areas of action in the two nature parks. The creation of a logo and a name in common would be an important profile-raising step, as much for the local population as for visitors.

As far as tourism is concerned, many initiatives have been taken to make discovering the cross-border park easier. Walking, riding and cycling trail maps for the whole area are available to visitors; signs giving directions and descriptions of the area are located along routes; brochures and literature with cross-border themes have been produced, etc.

The Hainaut Cross-border Nature Park also works towards aligning environmental management strategies. A technical and scientific partnership has given rise to numerous studies on the natural environment (flora and fauna). Significant efforts have been made to ensure the biological connectivity of species between the two important biodiversity sites. In addition, actions have been taken to ensure water courses are managed sustainably, necessitating cross-border communication and consultation.

Landscape preservation is among the responsibilities held by the two parks. An original approach to this became one of the Hainaut Cross-border Nature Park’s flagship projects: the Landscape Cross-border Photographic Observatory. By constantly renewing photographic records of the landscape, the Observatory gives us the opportunity to watch its evolution over time. It is also a way of involving the public, who can ‘adopt a landscape’, and make their own contributions to this process of discovery and analysis.

Concerns about the future of farming in the area have prompted the Park to take actions aimed at showing people the value of locally sourced produce and encouraging practices that respect the environment. A number of initiatives have been undertaken to raise awareness among farmers and the local population. Among others, a booklet listing local producers was published, and ‘Grassland Management Technical Days’ were organised to help livestock farmers understand the advantages of properly maintaining pastures.


And finally, further actions that have been undertaken within the scope of cross-border cooperation include preserving orchards, promoting the wood fuel sector, supporting local cultural and arts and crafts initiatives, and developing educational services and activities.


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