On 6 and 7 June 2023, the kick-off meeting of the Interreg Europe project GIFT (Green Infrastructure for Trees and Forests) took place in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Ten project partners from nine countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Croatia, Latvia, Sweden, Italy, Slovenia) met to discuss the implementation of the project and define common goals.

After a warm welcome by the Galician Minister of the Environment, the first day began with a tour of the city of Santiago. The group visited the Green Belt, which is an important part of the city's green infrastructure. The afternoon ended with a convivial tapas dinner at the A Moa restaurant, where participants enjoyed regional cuisine and culture.

On the second day, crucial questions on project management, communication and exchange of best practices were discussed. In the afternoon, participants had the opportunity to visit the recently restored Portico de la Gloria, the roof and the Carraca Tower of Santiago Cathedral and learn more about the city's rich history and architecture. Some of the participants left after this day, while the rest had the opportunity to participate in an excursion to Lugo on 8 June. There, the innovative and sustainable architectural project "Lugo Biodinamico", the Rato River and the impressive biodiversity of the river islands of the Miño were explored.

At the end of August 2023, some of the project partners will meet again in Santiago de Compostela to explore the green infrastructure of the region in more detail. The next international project meeting of all partners will take place in November in the Friesland region in the Netherlands.

The kick-off meeting was an important step to foster cooperation and exchange of knowledge and experiences in the field of green infrastructure. We look forward to the upcoming activities and to working together towards a sustainable and biodiversity-rich future.

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