Polycentric development, territorial cohesion, and territorial diversity are some of the main principles supported at the European level for reducing regional disparities and for making territories more resilient and diversified, which strengthens the competitiveness of Europe in the global economy. This research article, starting from the final results of the ESPON Linking Networks of Protected Areas to Territorial Development (LinkPAs) project, considers that the protected areas (PAs) are a territorial unit able to connect—in a polycentric approach—the different territorial aspects (economic, social, environmental) present in an area to implement cross-border public services (CPS) to share in a larger territorial context through a network of protected areas (NPA). Toward this aim, this paper suggests applying the NPA management model developed in the ESPON LinkPAs project to CPS to assess if a soft governance mechanism is able to efficiently and sustainably manage the CPS.
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