EUROPARC France

Observatoire © Ponts d'Ouve Nature Reserve, France

French section logoYear of creation: 2004 by the French National Park Association and the Federation of Regional Nature Parks of France

Number of members: 33 (31 Parks, 6 National Parks and 25 Regional Parks ; the 2 national Federations : FPNRF, PNF)

The core areas of work: sustainable tourism, lobbying, sustainable agriculture, transboundary cooperation

Website: www.europarc-fr.org

Contact person: Katy Monier

About their work in France

As rural areas, French regional and national nature parks are currently facing global issues particularly in the form of the transition toward more sustainable management of our resources, including greater renewable energy uses. In the light of ongoing legislative changes, French parks have to stress their important role in coordinating and accompanying different public policies.

Our Parks act as platforms that bring together a variety of local stakeholders, on a wide range of topics within the parks’ missions, fostering innovation and experimentation, as well as funding and promotion in France and abroad. Themes include upholding agricultural practices and managing their evolution; protecting and monitoring biodiversity; supporting sustainable economic growth; defining territorial energy strategies, reconciling modern, environmentally friendly and traditional architecture and its valorisation; keeping urbanism in check whilst preserving landscapes, and educating and sharing information.

Lobbying European institutions is currently a main theme within the section. With the support of the EUROPARC Federation Directorate, the section’s members aim to increase recognition of protected areas in EU policies and to raise more financial support for their work. EUROPARC’s presence in Brussels in 2015, together with the expertise of French parks, enabled the section and the Federation to contribute extensively to the appraisal of policy that effects protected areas and to participate in various conferences and events.

Sustainable tourism is also a high priority for French parks. Many section members are part of the Federation’s European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECST). In 2015, parks in France established a national joint commission and tested out the implementation of the Part III of the ECST. The commission is responsible for recognising travel agencies that offer touristic programmes that respect the Charter principles and involve local actors committed to Part II(working with tourism businesses). Moreover, French parks committed using the principles and aims of EUROPARC’s charter for sustainable tourism to become the centre of excellence for “slow tourism” in France.