How can nature and biodiversity help improving public health and social cohesion?

Transboundary Special Nature Reserve Gornje Podunavlje (HR/RS) © Jaroslav Pap

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A two-day intense workshop took place last week in Brussels organised by IEEP (Institute for European Environmental Policy) to present the results of a research on “Health and Social Benefits of Biodiversity and Nature Protection” and took place in the Committee of the Regions, on the 27th-28th January 2016.

Institute for European Environmental Policy

Institute for European Environmental Policy

How can nature and biodiversity help improving public health and social cohesion? What are the benefits of Natura 2000 sites, other protected areas and wider green infrastructure to human health and wellbeing? Those were some of the aspects discussed during the workshop, with the support of a large number of case studies from all over Europe.

The crucial role and the benefits Protected Areas are providing for health and social cohesion were highlighted by EUROPARC President Ignace Schops, with the support of brilliant case studies presented by parks and member organisations. Among them: Scottish Natural Heritage, Parks and Wildlife of Finland, Hoge Kempen National Park (Be), Razna National Park (Lt), Medvednic Nature Park (Cr), Pembrokeshire National Park (Uk).

Protected areas are Community Hubs and Health Hotspots and EUROPARC is committed to value those experiences and move from the guidance to the wider implementation and promotion of good practices across protected areas in Europe

said Carol Ritchie, EUROPARC Director.

EUROPARC congratulates IEEP and the EC for the successful workshop and the interesting research, and is keen to contribute to future developments in this field.

Below you can download the IEEP background report, with interesting information about the cases studies introduced at the Workshop. Take the opportunity to learn more about Health in Protected Areas with a set of case studies from EUROPARC Network, created by EUROPARC working group on Health in PAs.

EU Parliament votes for Biodiversity

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On the 2nd of February the European Parliament has approved –  with a very large majority – a report on the Mid-term Review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy.

The Parliament calls for a more effective implementation and better enforcement of the Birds and Habitats Directives and express its opposition to a possible review of the two directives.

In order to halt the biodiversity loss, the Parliament expresses also the need for more adequate financial resources, better coherence and integration with other legislations and improvements in conservation and management measures. 

EUROPARC welcomes the result of this important vote which shows a concrete ambition to effectively implement and strengthen nature protection in Europe.

The report is available here.

Workshop: Managing invasive plant and animal species in the protected areas of Central and Eastern Europe

Invasive Species CEE workshop © EUROPARC CEE Section

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On the 2nd May 2016, experts from protected areas of Central and Eastern Europe will gather at Hortobágy National Park (Hungary) to share their practical experience on how to combat invasive/alien species in protected areas. The workshop is organised by the Central and Eastern Europe Section and is based on a simple idea: to organize cost effective workshops for „our own” experts to collect relevant experience on nature protection practices.

Therefore, the Section is currently inviting international experts from protected areas within the CEE region to join the event and share their practical experience on how to combat invasive/alien species in protected areas.

We are looking for „practical management/field experience” type presentations and experts. Participants will have 20

Registration is free, but due to limited places, the first round of provisional registration is until 15.03.2016.

Download below the invitation with the full description of the workshop.

Women and Protected Areas

Woman in Protected Areas © Javier Puertas

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EUROPARC-España, in partnership with Fundación Fernando González Bernáldez and Altekio Iniciativas hacia la Sostenibilidad is developing a project about the role of Women in Spanish Protected Areas. It aims to raise increase the involvment of women in the governance of protected areas, and find new opportunities for the economic and social development of rural areas. The project is designated “Women, drivers for economic diversification of the rural areas and for the improvement of governance in nature protected areas” (“Mujeres, motores para la diversificación económica en el medio rural y para la mejora de la gobernanzatravés de los espacios naturales protegidos) and all information is available here.

Women are still a minority in the corridors of power and decision-making in the management of Spain’s protected areas. It is estimated that there are 34% of women in executive and co-ordination positions versus 66% of men. In technical jobs, women represent 42% versus 58% of men. The project offers the first diagnosis on the role of women in Spain’s protected areas and an analysis of the entrepreneurship opportunities linked to the values of natural areas. Protected areas are key sites settings for the conservation of nature. They are also territories in which to live and work, which combine social and economic development with the enjoyment of their heritage values. 

The first report is already available in english, and can be downloaded below.