The decision to establish a transnational World Heritage Foundation for the Wadden Sea has not yet been taken. This decision is expected in 2015. One of the important tasks for the foundation is to engage private partners, contributing to the Universal Outstanding Values of the Wadden Sea and simultaneously benefiting from the world heritage reputation. The three participating countries having different dispositions in their ideas of Wadden Sea Governance that should be agreed upon to a certain extent. One such issue to solve here is the question if it is possible and if it makes sense to engage the private sector in the participation of the World Heritage Wadden Sea.
This research proposal aims at exploring and clarifying an advanced governance practice in which reputation and participation of the private sector is a key element of the management of the Wadden Sea World Heritage site. The project will focus both on governance and on what kind of deals create win-wins. The basic question is: how can public participation work and provide guarantees for sustainability?
To answer this question, the research will focus on an inventory of sponsorship relations, on best UNESCO practices regarding sponsorship, on locating potential partners from outside the prevailing network and on finding out the character of possible win wins. An important win for private investors might be a boost of its online reputation. To find out more how this can work, a preliminary online platform will be built that encompasses the three participating countries.