To be completely honest, I had never heard of the Interreg Programme before being proposed to partipate in its new branch, the Interreg Volunteer Youth Programme. I had no idea that such a thing existed – cross-border cooperation projects between adjacent European regions? Never heard of it.
But after registering to the European Solidarity Corps database, I was contacted by a French organisation that told me about this opportunity.
That's how I ended up participating in the IVY Programme at AVITEM – the Agency of Sustainable Mediterranean Cities and Territories in Marseille, France. Here I support the implementation of French-Italian cooperation projects about different topics, such as sustainable tourism and territorial resilience in the Mediterranean area. It's mainly an office job, in an environment where almost everybody is French but nobody is from Marseille.
The projects I work the most with are PROMETEA – Promoting the Multifunctionality of the Agro-Tourism Sector and T.R.I.G-Eau. The first helps actors of the agritourism sector develop their potentiality in a changing and more demanding market, while T.R.I.G-Eau aims at contributing to flood prevention through the implementation of green infrastructures in three Italian territories, preceded by a detailed analysis of the Italian and French contexts in terms of flood risk management and related legislation.
I participated in the second Steering Committee of this project, which was held near Genoa (Italy). Meeting all the partners and attending discussions about the progress of the project has certainly been an interesting learning experience. Besides, I will soon be going to a workshop in Tuscany about the PROMETEA project, which will help me better understand the challenges and opportunities of agritourism.
These projects usually involve the PACA (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) region and Corsica in France, together with the three Italian regions Liguria, Tuscany and Sardinia. Five different territories, each with their own distinct characteristics, but connected by the same sea.
I guess that’s what the Interreg programme is all about in the end. Finding the connection points and common ground – or sea – on which we can build transnational cooperation.