We Are Marine

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We Are Marine Tutorial

Great news from the EUROPARC Conference 2016.

This year, we are pleased to include in the program a specific Tutorial through which we could exchange experiences and learn more about Marine Protected Areas in Europe. Under the name “We Are Marine”, in this event we will explore how local communities and marine park managers can work together towards marine conservation. Likewise, we will discuss how we can integrate different users with different interests in managing a protected area on the sea, and specific examples about projects being implemented together with the local population. And, for this special occasion, we are happy to present two special case studies…

Seahorses in Mar Menor Costal Lagoon, Spain

On one hand we will get to know the strategy that Hippocampus Association follows to preserve one of the hidden treasures of the Mar Menor Coastal Lagoon: the long-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus guttulatus). The lagoon is separated from the Mediterranean see by a twenty meter wide sandbar, it is a designated Natura 2000 site, and is a key habitat for this species.

The Hippocampus Association, within their efforts to conserve the long-snouted seahorse populations, has identified education and citizenship involvement as key factors on their way to success. Therefore, within their program, they carry out a big array of activities involving local communities, like seahorse monitoring programs with the participation of local volunteers, and the development of educational campaigns and communication initiatives.

So far, their achievements are outstanding. Among them, they have managed to get the support and collaboration of local fishermen and local residents, and reach agreements with national and international associations alike. Find out more about how this association is working to protect sahorses through this eciting program.

“Dolphins – connecting people!” in Kornati National Park, Croatia

Likewise, we will have the opportunity to learn about another exciting program been undertaken at Kornati National Park in Croatia. This place is also designated as a Natura 2000 site, and a Site of Community Importance (SCI) within the Habitats Directive for Bottlenose dolphin conservation.

Currently, a significant number of bottlenose dolphins are known to visit or reside in this area, However, the lack of financial and human resources has limited their study and the potential use of this species as a touristic resource so far. Likewise, the insufficient dialogue with local tour operators has deter the development of interpretation programs to be offered to the Park visitors. And taking into account the possible benefits that dolphin could bring to the local economy and to the park itself, this was a matter that needed to be addressed somehow.

In this regard, the Kornati National Park managers have recently found a solution through which, cooperating with local residents, they can offer benefits for Bottlenose dolphin conservation, local stakeholders and park visitors. A win-win situation that we will be only able to discover at the presentation “dolphins – connecting people!” at We Are Marine Tutorial.

You can have more information on this and other Tutorials and Workshop at the Conference website.
Don’t miss out! EUROPARC Conference 2016 is about to start. Join us.

Planet at the Crossroads – IUCN World Conservation Congress

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article issued by Ignace Schops, EUROPARC President

Planet at the crossroads

10.000 participants out of 192 countries were present at IUCN’s World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i. If numbers count, this edition was a real success. But even besides the numbers, this edition was remarkably positive!

The prologue came from President Barak Obama, who agreed to create the largest marine protected area in the world, Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. As if he could foresee one of the outcomes to designate and implement at least 30% marine habitats in the world.

Ignace schops, iucn world conservation congress

Ignace Schops at the IUCN World Conservation Congress

It was striking and even breathtaking to see and to feel the cohesion the environmental community – or may I say family – across the world. Strong in their commitment to protect all life on earth, powerful to show their responsibility and leadership. Convinced that a systemic and sustainable change is urgent and possible.

In a staggering amount of Workshops, Knowledge Cafés, Forums, etc. we exchanged, discussed, convinced and agreed. We were energized by the words of hope. We became convinced of the power of international and intercontinental cooperation.

Members of EUROPARC Federation were frequently in the spotlights of the conference on several topics.

Surely we can conclude there was the positive interaction at the crossroads. So yes, we bring a strong message back home in Europe! A message of belief, commitment and responsibility to safeguard our precious planet, called home!  

As world leaders call for integration for some time now, it has certainly occurred during this conference. Food & agriculture,  indigenous peoples, the protection of primary forests and industrial no-go zones came up front of the debates. But we have to stay awake!

Biodiversity is essential, climate change is existential!

As they are both sides of the same coin, we need to act now!


Michael Hosek, Councilor of IUCN and Vice-President of EUROPARC Federation

Last but not least I would like to congratulate our vice-president, Michael Hosek, for his re-election as Councilor of IUCN. His involvement and expertise in both IUCN and EUROPARC Federation shows we are convinced of a strong movement of organizations who give voice to biodiversity, protected areas … and all live on earth!


More information about the IUCN World Conservation Congress

Kids Climate Conference 2016

kids climate conference, ignace schops

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EUROPARC President Ignace Schops was at the “Kids Climate Conference 2016” that took place at Center Parks Het Heijderbos, Netherlands, between 23-25th September.

Article issued by Ignace Schops

kids climate conference, ignace schops, Red de Dieren

Ignace Schops with Lian Kandelaar, author of the book “Missie: Red de Dieren”

150 young children were debating with Princes Laurentien Van Oranje, how to solve the problems we currently have due to climate change. It was a powerful conference with so much renewable energy of the youngster! I am impressed.

In the framework of the conference I was surprised of Lian Kandelaar who wrote a book on biodiversity, called: “Red de dieren” – Save the animals! Well done Lian and well done to the young participants! You will be the leaders of the future! Yes you can!

To learn more about the Kids Climate Conference visit the page www.kidsclimateconference.nl

Accessibility and inclusion in Parks- EUROPARC Germany

Accessibility in Parks © Tobias Wiesen

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 Seven participants of the first study trip to Austria on the topic of “accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities in protected areas” organised by EUROPARC Germany just arrived happily back home. The study trip was part of the project “international exchange of competencies of players in protected areas” (ANNIKA). This project gives Park’s staff and volunteers the possibility to exchange know-how, experiences and strategies in specific aspects of park management, with colleagues in protected areas of other European countries.

The German park staff were invited by the Donau-Auen National Park and Gesaeuse National Park as well as by the Purkersdorf and Kaunergrat Nature Park from the 4th to the 10th of September 2016. Besides the insights gained by visiting best practice examples of the mentioned parks, the participant’s and host’s main benefit of the trip was the possibility to discuss successful concepts and measures in the field of accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities with other professionals and colleagues.

Several new ideas and suggestions were given to the German participants, e.g. relating to an off-road tour especially for blind and partially sighted people, to the “Swiss-Tracs” – an off-road towing device for wheelchairs – and to a Rolli Road Book with tour instructions for wheelchair user. In return, the German participants could give detailed advice based on their own expertise.

For 2017, EUROPARC Germany is planning four study trips for European park staff to visit best practice protected areas in Germany in the areas of

  • regional development and sustainable tourism
  • accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities
  • education for sustainable development
  • park management.

Selected German parks will give insight into their work and serve as forum for a professional exchange with the participants.

Opportunity for Park Staff

If you work for a protected area as payed or volunteer park staff and are interested in transboundary exchange, EUROPARC Germany invites you to seize this special opportunity and to apply for participation. For more information please contact EUROPARC Germany, Ms Anne Schierenberg.

The project is financed by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) with funds of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).

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