Since the 1987 twinning agreement, the Parco delle Alpi Marittime and the Parc National du Mercantour have never stopped working together. Over the past 25 years, the collaboration has become wider and has begun the trial of integrated forms of management, with a view to creating a protected area without borders. This ambitious goal of becoming the first European park has become much closer thanks to the Interreg projects of the Programma Alcotra.
The Interreg program was launched by the European Union in 1990 to promote the cohesion and integrated development of border areas. Nothing could be more suited to the objectives and needs of the Maritime and Mercantour Alps, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by Interreg I (1991-1993), presenting joint projects of great importance. The Reintroductions of the bearded culture and the identification of a network of trails lead to the creation of the guide Mountains without borders.
Cross-border projects (12 pictures)
With Interreg II (1994-1999), the projects for the two parks have become more complex. In fact, while continuing existing initiatives, it has addressed the issue of the spontaneous return of the wolf to the Southern Alps: part of a scientific research project, a communication campaign has been initiated and the foundations have been laid for the construction of the “Alpha” wildlife centres in Saint Martin Vésubie and “Uomini e lupi” in Entracque. There is also work in the fields of wildlife management and plant research. An inventory of endemic and rare species, with experiments on the use of native plants of ornamental purposes, will be published.
Interreg III (2000-2006) saw the drafted of the Action Plan for protection and sustainable development, defining the strategies to be implemented for the creation of a european park. This project definitely works to improve the cross-border network of trails, construction of a common image of the Parks and an integrated promotion of the tourism sector through the Grand Tour Alpi Marittime Mercantour. The Grand Tour is a great ring road that surrounds the two parks and is a precise reference for the creation of common tourist products.
Conceived and funded under the Alcotra 2007-2013 program, the Piano Integrato Transfrontaliero “Spazio transfrontaliero Marittime Mercantour: the natural and cultural diversity at the of integrated and sustainable development” is the most ambitious collection challenge in recent years by the two parks. Among the many actions of the PIT, it fundamentally involves the construction of a common operational structure, defined according to the GECT (Gruppo Europeo di Cooperazione Territoriale) community legislation. With the creation of this joint body of management, there is the ability to ensure that the two agencies the possibility to operate best within an extra-framework. The result will be the completed path of cooperation that characterizes the history of the Parco delle Alpi Marittime and the Parc national du Mercantour.