Project title:  Effectiveness of Policy Instruments for Crossborder Advancement in Heritage - EPICAH

Funder: Interreg Europe

 Estonian Ministry of Internal Affairs and KÜSK

Project duration

1st phase: January 2017-December 2019
2nd phase: January 2020-December 2021
3rd phase: September 2021-September 2022

Project manager: Margit Säre; margitsare @ gmail.com

Project international web site
: https://www.interregeurope.eu/epicah/


EPICAH aims to promote the improvement of the policy instruments for cross-border cooperation processes in the natural and cultural heritage protection. The objective of the project is also to develop the management of the border by using it as a tourist attraction factor. It shall improve the effectiveness of tourism activity in managing the organization and valorisation of these assets.

Results and outputs
The main result of the project corresponds to the improvement of the efficiency of the policies and CBC programs for better management and development of cultural and natural heritage shared by border regions, promoting the border as a differentiating and competitive factor of the cross-border territory holding that heritage.

- April 2022. How the Resilience of Cross-border Areas Can Be Increased as a Result of the COVID19 Pandemic? (Management and Enhancement of Natural and Cultural Heritage as a Dynamic Element of the Economy Through Tourism)
- Report of online peer review of 07.03.2022, with #Tokaji region experts on online wine tasting experiences.

- #Epicah report "Tourism postcovid in Europe", May 2021
- Progress report of Action 1: capitalisation of the results of the EstLat Programme 2014-2020
-  Action Plan of the Estonia – Latvia Cross-Border Cooperation Programme

Implementing the Action plan 2020-2021.

Action 1 ”Capitalisation of the results of the EstLat Programme 2014-2020” further discussions took place with stakeholders (Estonian, Latvian national tourism portals; tourism development agencies), study on the visibility and proposals for better cross-border cross-marketing of the CBC tourism products and routes were made. Capitalization meetings between the heritage tourism project coordinators were held (17.08, 05.10). Summary of recommendation to increase synergies, capitalisation of tourism projects was written.

Action 2 "Funding scheme for small-scale projects in the EstLat Programme 2021-2027" discussions with the JS and MA regarding the state of affairs of integrating the possibility to finance small-scale projects in the programme document of the Estonia – Latvia funding scheme for small-scale projects took place.
The presentation of the Action plan ideas was done at Workshop on tourism for the programming Estonia-Latvia programme 2021-2027,in Pärnu 28.08.2020, organised by JTS.

- 7 regional reports (to identify the main problems cross-border natural and cultural heritage management are facing in each project border area)

Read Estonian-Latvian report
-joint report about how it is being enhanced the border effect in the protection and development of natural and cultural crossborder heritage in Europe
-6 study visits to partners regions (in order to know in situ each other reality regarding each one of the policy instruments addresses by EPICAH)
-thematic seminars
-internal workshops (dissemination knowledge actions for the partners staff)
-cross-border workshops (dissemination knowledge actions for members of the partners and their border counterparts)
- regional action plans (for the improvement of policies and policy instruments associated with management of cross-border natural and cultural heritage in each of the project territories)
-interparliamentary forum
- strategic communication plan (to enhance the impact of communication activities and expand the results dissemination and the transfer of knowledge generated by the project)
- 6instruments for CBC policies (Interreg A) more effective in actions regarding the protection, preservation and development of cross-border natural and cultural heritage
- ROP instrument more effective in actions regarding the protection, preservation and development of cross-border natural and cultural heritage.

International project team events

20. February 2017 - Project kick-off meeting, in Porto

24-26 October 2017.EPICAh meeting in Empoli, Tuscany, Italy organised by  ASEV 

18-19 April 2018.
EPICAH project seminar in Zamora, Spain and filed trip to  Spanish-Portugese border region in Douro valley

5-6 June 2018
EPICAH project seminar in Kastoria, Greece

25-27 September 2018 
EPICAH project seminar in Tokaji wine region, Hungary

27-29 March 201 9EPICAH project seminar and study visit in Pilsen region

5-7  June 201 9 EPICAH project meetings in Tartu, Thematic seminar in Valga and study visit in the Estonian-Latvian border region
5 June Thematic seminar presentations:
Baltic Coastal Hiking trail, Asnate Ziemele
Pains and gains in border-town planning, Valga-Valka example; Jiří Tintěra
Priorities and cooperation needs in Estonia-Latvia border-area, Rivo Noorkõiv
Estonia-Latvia cooperation program: main results and new challenges, Helena Järviste

14 september 2021. Project final seminar in Galicia and virtually.
Read the presentation on Estonian-Latvia case study by project coordinator Margit Säre

07 July 2022. 
Project steering commmitte meeting in Florence, Italy.

Project communication outputs/videos:

6 June 2019 Video on EPICAh project study visit to South Estonia

16. May 2019 EPICAH project video is ready

June 2019 a video clip about EPICAH project benefits

Meetings, activities in the Estonian-Latvian border area

29.06.2021  Estonia-Latvian cross border cooperation seminar took place in Valga and in Hybrid format

03.12.2019  Estonia-Latvian cross border cooperation seminar took place in Valga,  The seminar was opened by Valga/Valka twin town mayors. Other speakers and discussions focused on development priorities and cooperation needs in border area and preparations for the new Interreg Estonia-Latvia programming period.

Valga/Valka cross border cooperation seminar
Read 31 Oct. seminar report

21.05.2018 - short video on EPICAH project activities in Estonian-Latvian border region

 #EPICAH project team participates at debate on European cultural heritage during Europe Day celebration in Valga. We are introducing EPICAH  project main findings and challenges related to natural and cultural heritage programmes in European border regions.
Europe Day is celebrated in various towns in Estonia and this is part of European Year of CultuValkaral heritage 2018 activities.

02.01.2018 -
EPICAH State of the Art report describing the background, main policy instruments, best practices in the field of cross border cultural and natural heritage in the Latvian-Estonian border are is ready

21.12.2017 - 
 Our EPICAH project team was present at celebrations of the 10th anniversary for joining Schengen area in Estonia-Latvia twin towns  Valga / Valka.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid and Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis attended the celebration ceremony at a former border crossing between Valka in Latvia and Valga in Estonia, on December 21. Historically, twin towns Valga-Valka had been developing as one town; while after the states re-independence, the border regime was established in 1991. On December 21, 2007, Estonia and Latvia acceded to the Schengen Agreement and the border crossing points were removed.

On her speech, President Kaljulaid stressed the role of the Schengen in promoting cooperation between communities in the border region. The heads of state also visited the local vocational education center which offers courses to Estonians as well as Latvians.

17.11.2017 -EPICAH project presentation and focus group meeting in Pärnu, vis-à-vis with West-Estonia tourism conference

01.11.2017 -
EPICAH Online Survey about Natural and Cultural Cross Border Heritage and Tourism in the Estonian-Latvian border area is completed

15.09.2017 -
Local stakeholder workshop in Roosta

01.11.2017 - 
EPICAH Online Survey about Natural and Cultural Cross Border Heritage and Tourism in the Estonian-Latvian border area is completed

27.05.2017 EPICAH project  team participated at cultural heritage day in the Koiva-Gauja heritage culture and conservation area, in the Estonian-Latvian border area.


The day was organized by Estonian State Forest Management Centre.

Koiva-Gauja heritage area aims to introduce the varied cultural heritage objects such as old farm and manor buildings, mills, boundary markers, notable wooded meadows, sacrificial stones and pines. The cross border cultural heritage area is located on the banks of the border river Koiva/Gauja. The route runs along river side, through the forests and meadows, where you can walk or ride bikes.

EPICAH project first Estonian stakeholder meeting  in Tartu.
13 participants from county development agencies, tourism foundations, NGOs gathered to discuss cultural and nature tourism current status and challenges in South Estonia.
South-Estonia has rich natural and cultural heritage and important  initiator for local development is seen through sustainable tourism.
Still, the number of visitors is not enough and need to be increased at least
10%. The participants agreed that main problems getting tourists here are lack
of resources for development the objects and bad transport connection with
South-Estonia – no good air connection, no good train connection between
Latvian capital Riga and Tartu (so called South Estonian capital)
Participants also introduced their new initiatives and project in the filed of cultural and natural tourism.