Environment and resource efficiency

Environment and resource efficiency icon

With natural resources such as metals, minerals, fuels, water or land becoming scarcer, there is an urgent need to reform the way in which we use them. EU initiatives such as the Resource Efficient Europe or the communication on Circular Economy aim for the transition to sustainable resource use, which will contribute to sustainable growth in Europe. Regions play an important role also in improving the waste management and in encouraging businesses to design new green products and services, reduce waste and gain greater efficiency at company and value-chain level.

However, it is not only these more obvious resources that are at risk from our unsustainable consumption. Less tangible natural assets, such as vulnerable landscapes and ecosystems need protection. Regions can prevent biodiversity loss and soil degradation in their territories by promoting ecosystem services, including through Natura 2000, and green infrastructure.

Another important asset deserving attention of policymakers is regional cultural heritage. The EC report 'Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe' highlights the opportunities for member states to cooperate on making cultural heritage work for sustainable growth and jobs, balancing sustainable exploitation with preservation measures.

Read more at the Interreg Europe programme manual (§2.5.5) 

Project examples

  • Exchange of practices between regional authorities and environment agencies in urbanised regions on nature management to prepare the development and integration of regional green infrastructures in areas under urban pressure, as part of regional (Growth and Jobs) programmes.
  • Regional authorities and knowledge institutes exchanging experiences on methods to assess the vulnerability of regional and cross-border ecosystems, identify mitigation measures and to plan their application through regional Growth & Jobs and ETC/cross-border cooperation programmes.
  • Exchange of experience among regional authorities and nature park management bodies on governance models for regional nature parks and NATURA 2000 areas to prepare the introduction of new management and exploitation models for their regional parks.
  • Exchange of experience between regional authorities and agencies on the preservation, development and exploitation of cultural heritage in remote and mountainous areas. 
  • Regional business support actors sharing experiences on support measures and schemes to encourage manufacturing SMEs to assess their resource use and introduce more resource-efficient work processes, and to prepare the introduction of these instruments through a regional Growth & Jobs programme or another programme.
  • Exchange of experience among regional authorities and waste management agencies on policies and measures to reduce waste volumes and to increase recycling rates among small businesses and households, and on planning the implementation of those measures as part of regional waste management programmes.
  • Exchange of practices among regional and local authorities on methods for the monitoring, management and improvement of air quality in urban and industrialised areas, resulting in action plans for establishing air quality and monitoring and mitigation schemes through projects under their regional Growth and Jobs programmes.

Suggested reading

Innovation Systems publication

Interreg Europe programme manual


This important document gives detailed information on the programme, platforms and on setting-up and implementing interregional cooperation projects.


Innovation Systems publication

Interreg Europe Cooperation Programme


This is the final version of the Cooperation Programme approved by all partner states and submitted to the European Commission for approval. It is currently awaiting approval by EC.


Suggested presentations

INTERREG EUROPE for environment & resource efficiency (03/12/2014, Bologna, IT)

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As of 31 December 2015, this website is no longer updated. Follow news on interregional cooperation at www.interregeurope.eu