NOSTRA network of straits (Go to home)

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The straits, specific areas

Straits are narrow arms of the sea bordered by land which combine various geographic characteristics: they are traffic crossroads, between the two banks and through them they are both maritime and terrestrian areas.Besides they concentrate several issues that are tightly interrelated and have to be tackled altogether: transport, tourism, economic development, but also preservation of biodiversity, maritime safety… All the straits of Europe have those issues in common and try to face them with their own tools and experiments. For instance, three straits have implemented binational entities; others have signed conventions or agreements in order to give a formal framework to their cooperation. All partners have the same concern of both issues: advocating the economic development of the area but with respect for the environment and the biodiversity.


The NOSTRA Project comes from the European Straits Initiative signed in November 2010 by a group of local authorities bordering the straits of Europe. This initiative aims at:

The NOSTRA Project is financed by the INTERRE IVC Programme: The Interregional Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVC, financed by the European Union’s Regional Development Fund, helps Regions of Europe work together to share experience and good practice in the areas of innovation, the knowledge economy, the environment and risk prevention. EUR 302 million is available for project funding but, more than that, a wealth of knowledge and potential solutions are also on hand for regional policy-makers.

Main objective

NOSTRA follows the overall objective of preservation of biodiversity and natural heritage. From exchanges of experiences and best practices, the project aims at studying the necessary governance tools to ensure a sustainable development of straits and to develop their functions as gateways to hinterlands and to external territories around the issues of economic development, transport, tourism and biodiversity.By searching ways to improve the governance between the two banks of a strait, the aim is to enable the authorities to enhance effective public policies, at the local, national and European levels, that will both allow economic development of the area and preserve the biodiversity.

Activities planned

Noting that the straits of Europe share common issues (transport, economic development, marine safety ...) that have an impact on the natural heritage of the straits, the NOSTRA partners have decided to study cross-border governance tools for environmentally friendly economic development.

For this, the project will proceed in 3 phases:

June 2012 – Strait of Kvarken: presentation of the Council of Kvarken launched in 1972, bringing together the communities along both sides of the strait. A technical study visit will be organised as part of the project to analyse and understand in detail the functioning of the cross-border governance tool.October 2012 - Strait of Bonifacio: presentation of the European grouping of territorial cooperation being established on the strait, called the International Marine Park of the Strait of Bonifacio, under Italian status.

In Kent: analysis of seascapes as an example of integrated management of the straits of Europe On the strait of Otranto: tourismOn the strait of Fehmarn Belt: transport and maritime safetyOn the Gulf of Finland: economic development

On the Strait of Messina: the link between coast and hinterlandIn Corsica: capitalisation of INTERREG cross-border projects already developed across a straitRomania: finalisation of recommendations and action plans.
Regional meetings will also involve local stakeholders: twice a year, each partner will organise meetings with local stakeholders of its territory in order both to give them a feedback on the project but also to collect their needs, expectations and best practices.Communication and dissemination actions are also planned to widely disseminate the results and products of this project.Activities will take place between January 2012 and December 2014.


This project is funded by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVC programme. The overall budget reaches 2,36 M€ with a FEDER co-funding of 1,79M €.


The partnership is composed of local authorities and bi-national bodies which border 8 straits of Europe as well as a research institute on the Danube delta which has a great experience in cross-border governance of sensitive natural areas.


Made possible with the Interreg IV C Program
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