The IVY programme (“Interreg Volunteer Youth”) is an initiative launched in 2017 by the European Commission in the framework of the European Solidarity Corps. It offers young students or professionals aged between 18 and 30 years old the opportunity to assist the work of organisations, particularly in terms of managing and monitoring European cross-border cooperation projects over a period of two to six months.

“I am currently carrying out my Interreg voluntary work within the CPMR (Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions), an organisation bringing together more than 150 regions from inside and outside Europe with the aim of promoting a more balanced development of territories. It will last six months, from February to July 2020. Within the CPMR, I belong to the Intermediterranean Commission (IMC), which brings together 40 Mediterranean member regions and aims, among other things, to defend the interests of its regions in the European Union and Mediterranean policies, support emerging macro-regional and sea basin strategies, develop projects in areas with a high territorial impact, and promote peace, decentralisation and sustainable development.

My supervisors, Emmanuel Maniscalco and Lise Guennal, follow me daily on the following Interreg MED horizontal projects: Blue Growth Community and Biodiversity Protection Community.

Based in the premises of the Sud “Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur” Region in Marseille, I also have the chance to follow the progress of the POSBEMED2 modular project on the management of Posidonia beds in the Mediterranean, with Stéphanie Oudin, Project Manager for Euro-Mediterranean Maritime Policies and Management of Coastal Territories at the Sud Region.

Besides, I am doing this volunteer work as part of my Master 2 internship in Sustainable Development and Territorial Governance of Mediterranean and International Projects at the Institute of Public Management and Territorial Governance (IMPGT) in Marseille. This experience enables me to put my academic knowledge into practice and gives me a first rewarding experience in European project management.

Moreover, Marseille is an ideal city in France to do an Interreg volunteering because of its unique, cosmopolitan character and its ideal living environment being bordered by the Mediterranean and sunny all year round.

Having already been aware of the IVY programme during my last internship with AVITEM (Agency for Sustainable Mediterranean Cities and Territories), I found this opportunity interesting as a volunteer but also as an organisation. Indeed, the volunteer is paid by the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) which manages the IVY programme and therefore provides the host organisations with additional support on their cooperation projects without any additional cost. Moreover, as young volunteers often come from a variety of backgrounds, it gives them a fresh perspective on their work.

As volunteers, we are generally better paid than interns and the assignments we are given are very rewarding from a professional point of view.

For example, as part of my Interreg volunteering, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the General Assembly of the Blue Growth Community in Montpellier. In the coming weeks, I will also participate in important events in terms of sustainable development and Mediterranean cooperation such as the Regional Conference of Stakeholders of the Union for the Mediterranean in March 2020 in Barcelona or the IUCN World Conservation Congress in June 2020 in Marseille.”

Adeline Oliveira