Mayo County Council is partner in a project facilitated by The Northern Periphery and Arctic programme 2014-2020. The NPA 2014-2020 is part of the European Territorial Cooperation Objective supported by the European Regional Development Fund.
The project aims to equip local authorities with tools and know-how to make the Northern Periphery and Artic territory an exemplar in coastal innovation & sustainability.
The Northern Periphery Artic regions (NPA) share coastal issues, that impact on the culture, livelihoods and wellbeing of coastal stakeholders from Cape Nordkinn in Norway to Cape Clear in Ireland. The territory must innovate to develop opportunities from Blue Growth, whilst sustaining the quality of the underpinning coastal environment in accordance with the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Blue Growth is the EU long-term strategy aiming to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors, in line with the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Coasts are at the frontline of sustainability challenges; arising, for example, from the exploitation of natural resources, impacts of meltwater from the Arctic, and the demise of coastal communities.
The project builds on over 45 years of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) internationally, and over 20 years of ICZM projects in the NPA. Those projects had limited long-term impact for a joined-up approach to cultural, environmental and economic development. Sustainable Resilient Coasts brings new thinking to the field. In contrast to previous coastal assessments, that tended to be expert-led and desk-based, this assessment and capability building initiative is dedicated to deep, meaningful engagement with stakeholders. It will leave a legacy by building capacity with local authorities, as key change agents, to take a long-term view of sustainable development at the coast.
The approach to the project involves four demonstration projects:
- Hailuoto (Finland)
- Westfjords (Iceland)
- Rathlin Island (N.Ireland)
- Co. Mayo (Rep. Ireland)
The focus on tangible actions to promote innovation is in full alignment with the overall NPA strategy. The cases range in size and are challenged by a diversity of issues, e.g. sustainable land use in Hailuoto island after connecting it to the mainland with bridge (2021), marine spatial planning in Westfjords, the sustainability of seaweed harvesting in County Mayo and heritage preservation on Rathlin.