The project has acted as a catalyst to initiate other activities in the regions and put urban water higher on the political agenda – we have even had influence on national policy.
WCI-II is one of the most ambitious projects in the North Sea Programme project portfolio, with 12 partners and a total budget of € 10 million. The project ran from 2002-2006 and the final conference was held in Leeuwarden on 29-30 June.
The project has been very successful on several levels. The results have exceeded expectations. The aim was to improve urban water systems and the quality of water in urban areas in order to promote social and economic development. An additional focus was the importance of water as a structuring element in town and city centres.
The project has generated additional investments in the participating regions and has attracted interest from institutions including as the World Bank and the Asian Foundation.
Peter Byman, a politician from the Province of Fryslân, spoke enthusiastically about the possibilities for the future. The project has increased general awareness of the Fryslân region and has created a better economical position for the future, he stated.
"The projects are finished, but the results will stay alive and continue to develop the region."
Influence on policy level
At the Joint Water City International II and MOPARK Final Conference in Leeuwarden, 29-30 June, the work and results of the two projects ware discussed in different sessions and workshops. The participants were split into two main groups after the initial joint plenary. (Read the MOPARK news story here.)
"I think Europe has grown smaller since we started this project", Project Manager Hans van Meerendonk concluded. "The project has acted as a catalyst to initiate other activities in the regions and put urban water higher on the political agenda – we have even influenced national policy."
The atmosphere of the conference was informal and relaxed throughout the WCI-II sessions, in line with the specific request from Hans van Meerendonk that participants should make unusual presentations about their involvement in the project.
In line with this request, projects and results were presented in various imaginative formats such as the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen and the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Show. This ensured full attention from the conference audience!
Link to the future programme
Jesper Jönsson, Project Development Officer at the North Sea Programme, gave a presentation linking the historical background of the programme to the future and the new Objective 3 North Sea Programme.
He mentioned the importance of strategic projects in the coming programme and how they will link to the Lisbon and Gothenburg Agendas.
In his conclusions, Jesper Jönsson praised the WCI-II project for their work in realising the transnational value of the programme and the success of the project.
Read more about WCI-II here. Read more about the new programme here.