In the continuation of our interview on cross-border cooperation in the framework of the Esch2022 cultural year, we talk about the impact of the project on Franco-Luxembourg relations and the importance of protecting the natural environment for a cultural event.
What motivated you to get involved in this cultural project?
Sylvain Mengel: The CCPHVA has defined culture as a driving force for the territory in its global cultural project. It is currently building a centre of cultural excellence, L'Arche (opening on 4 March 2022), which has naturally led it to become involved in this immense and formidable European Capital of Culture project. We quickly understood the importance of this event and above all the chance we had to benefit from this spotlight on a European scale, and more! It is an alignment of planets and stars that could not be missed.
Françoise Poos: Personally, I really enjoy working at European and international level, bringing people and ideas together. Furthermore, I am originally from Kayl/Tétange, which is part of the region. The Esch2022 project is an excellent opportunity for the region as a whole. Under the aegis of the 'REMIX' logo, the cards have been reshuffled and themes such as sustainability have been placed on the agenda. In all of our work, various themes and disciplines come together. However, it is culture which provides the fundamental link.
"Esch2022 shows that people are linked by their common destiny rather than by the diversity of their identities"
To what extent does Esch2022 advocate a more common approach to development on both sides of the border?
Nancy Braun: We are developing a shared cultural agenda, joint tourism products, the 'Minett Cycle' bike path, as well as an augmented reality app. We also actively encourage soft mobility in the area. Moreover, the Sustainable Development Charter which was drawn up as part of Esch2022 applies the cross-border concept to the whole project. All in all, practical cooperation gives rise to common interests.
Yann Logelin: Esch2022 brings another human dimension to the rationale and actions carried out by the various public authorities. By shining a spotlight on this region through a cultural lens, Esch2022 shows that people are linked by their common destiny rather than by the diversity of their identities. Esch2022 is an important lever that aims to fast-track the efforts of the municipalities in order to further develop the dialogue between the regions in a festive, entertaining and cultural manner.
Patrick Risser: The past is still anchored in the facades and faces of the population. While building on the legacy of our elders to remember why they came here, Esch2022 aims to offer new perspectives. Being part of the present, thinking about the (common) future by building on the strength of the past; the region has benefited from exemplary knowledge in a specific field. It is therefore essential to preserve the knowledge acquired, to transmit it in order to transform it. Digital technology, which is extremely present at l'Arche, is an essential medium enabling the current generation to appropriate its history and write its current affairs.
Protecting the natural environment, more than an afterthought
What joint projects have been undertaken in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development in the region?
Thierry Kruchten: The projects are conducted at different levels. Artistic and cultural projects deal with sustainability issues by adopting a cross-border approach through projects developed in cooperation with our foreign partners.
- The ELO network helps event organisers to implement sustainable solutions for their events by setting targets in six fields: food, waste management, production, mobility, accessibility and communication. ELO is based on the notion of responsible tourism that respects the cultural and environmental features of the region.
- As part of Esch2022, we will use the CIGL Sanem's Spullkëscht, a dish-washing system that allows the use of Ecocup beakers at events. This initiative will make it possible to reduce the carbon footprint of transporting the cups. Also, we will actively participate in the economic development of this solution in the region.
Sylvain Mengel: Cycle paths, hiking trails; Esch 2022 is designed as a sustainable event and a starting point. Much remains to be invented and experienced.
How can the sustainable development in the region benefit from the Esch2022 project?
Thierry Kruchten: The Esch2022 project makes it possible to bring together various stakeholders and to pool solutions and ideas from each entity. We will be able to test many of these proposals during the various events which will take place during the year and thereby strengthen the ties between stakeholders and project leaders. In fact, one of the keys to unlocking the benefits of sustainability is the network. Esch2022 fosters sustainable development and therefore fully benefits from it.
Sylvain Mengel: Several projects integrate the notion of sustainable development head-on. They are part of the programme but have already been set up in order to involve the population as soon as possible. They will lay the foundations for responsible collaboration and activities over time and Esch2022 will act as a springboard for these projects, pushing initiatives and looking to the future.
Thanks to all of you for taking the time to answer our questions extensively.