SWARE strives for a better collaboration between local, regional and national stakeholders in the area of water ways, heritage and nature. The goal is to combine econonomic development and cultural and ecological values. SWARE develops and exchanges knowledge and instruments in the area of governance with the European partners.
The waterway regions involved in SWARE all share unique natural and cultural heritage: protected areas with rich biodiversity and a bunch of enticing historic cities and buildings connected to water. These amenities make them more and more attractive for leisure activities resulting in an ever growing number of visitors (30-50% increase in the past 10 years) which causes tensions with heritage conservation aspects. All SWARE partners recognize that the socio-economic future of their regions is fundamentally depending on finding the synergies between preserving the cultural and natural values for the next generations and at the same time "opening their gates" with a controlled visitor management. By demonstrating the economic value that a „green” leisure industry can bring to a region, it can build strong public and political support both for heritage protection and sustainable valorisation thereof. What SWARE strives for is achieving a better balance between protection and sustainable exploitation of the valuable natural and cultural resources through improving the development programmes and policies of the partner regions, based on the transfer of good practices of other participating regions. Partners share the common bottleneck of fragmented governance structures without proper cooperation forms, therefore SWARE will stimulate the establishment of new participatory governance schemes having a much better potential to implement efficient policies contributing to the sustainable regional development. As an overall result, decision-makers, public and private players, as well as inhabitants will gain a better knowledge and commitment towards protecting and sustainably “using” their environmental and cultural assets.