CoR public consultations on the Birds and Habitats directives (Natura 2000)

Natura 2000 Logo

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The two main pieces of EU nature legislation, 1979’s Directive on the conservation of wild birds (Birds Directive) and 1992’s Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats Directive) are currently being evaluated by the European Commission.

As these directives have a clear territorial dimension, the Committee of the Regions is evaluating their impact on the local and regional level. The aim of this consultation is to gather the views of site managers and management authorities of Natura 2000 sites on the implementation and the effects of these directives on the local and regional level.

The consultation will be open from 15th of April to 15th of May included.

The questionnaire would not take more than 5 minutes of your time and it is available in 23 EU languages in form of a short e-survey.

We look forward to your contributions.

Launch of new training programme for Protected Area professionals in Romania

Web platform for online training in DBU project "Increasing education opportunities on sustainable development for Protected Area managers in Romania"

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The DBU funded project Increasing education opportunities on sustainable development for Protected Area managers in Romania, in which EUROPARC has partnered with ProPark Foundation (RO), is entering its next exciting phase.

Today, 27th April, the newly developed training programme for Protected Area professionals, a mix of online and face-to-face sessions, sees its first participants. It seems this offer is striking a chord, with more than 240 applications that came in for only 45 places and scholarships. Twelve diverse topics are covered in the programme, reaching from legal and financial issues relevant for Protected Area management, to the management of sustainable agriculture or wilderness.

The participants start with a set of online training modules. After successfully completing those, they will be invited to two face-to-face training sessions in June and July, each five days. Participants passing the test at the end of the training, will be granted graduation certificates issued by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and the Elderly and the Ministry of National Education, for the Protected Areas Specialist profession.

A second round of the training for new participants will again be offered from September onwards.

”Through this vocational training programme participants will acquire knowledge and skills for the efficient administration of natural protected areas, for promoting them as model areas for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources as well as for increasing the level of acceptance of Protected Areas among communities and the public”, says Georgiana Andrei, project manager with ProPark.

Read more about the project, its aims and activities here.

EUROPARC Federation amongst applicants in new Interreg programmes

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A wave of interest hits the 2014-2020 Interreg programmes

The new Interreg programmes Alpine Space and CENTRAL EUROPE closed their first calls recently and received a wave of expressions of interests for the first step of the application process. More than 200 light application forms were submitted to the Alpine Space and 620 to the CENTRAL EUROPE programme. Until 2020 around 140 million Euros (Alpine Space) and 80 million Euros (CENTRAL EUROPE) will be made available for projects in these regions.

“We are pleased that the first call of the new Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE Programme attracted such huge interest all over central Europe,” said Christiane Breznik from the managing authority in the City of Vienna. “It shows that the programme addresses relevant challenges and needs of the programme area. Private organisations are well represented among the submitted proposals, with 37 percent of applicants coming from the private sector.”

EUROPARC together with Federparchi-EUROPARC Italy and other partners submitted two projects with a focus on sustainable tourism development, one to the Alpine Space and one to the CENTRAL EUROPE programme. Another project was submitted to the CENTRAL EUROPE programme in partnership with the Western Pomerania Regional Landscape Parks (PL) as well as member and non-member parks of EUROPARC on fostering transboundary cooperation in Protected Areas in Germany and Eastern Europe. We very much look forward to the outcomes of the first step of application process, which we will expect for September this year.

For those of our members situated in North and West Europe, the call for Interreg North West Europe programme is still open. Deadline is 18th May.

Communique from the EUROPARC President

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Dissolution of EUROPARC Consulting GmbH

Dear Member,
As many of you are aware, the EUROPARC Federation founded EUROPARC Consulting over 12 years ago. In that time the Consulting company grew in its reach and expertise, proving high quality consultancy to EUROPARC members and others, developing the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas and providing financial support to the Federation.

EUROPARC Consulting has been managed initially by Rachel Wieting (DE) who did an excellent job in the set up phase, and continued to assist in bookkeeping and assisting Wilf Fenten, who took over as managing Director. He has managed Consulting in an exemplary fashion, with support from Anne Webster (UK). EUROPARC Consulting was chaired initially by the late Aitken Clark and laterally by Richard Partington with support from the advisory board from Hans Schiphorst (NL), Norbert Heukemes (BE), Richard Blackman (UK) and input from the Federation’s presidents and directors over the years.

However the economic downturn has taken its toll. The pressure on the Federation to maintain its financial viability has impacted on Consulting. As well as Consulting itself laterally struggling to win contracts in a crowded market, has meant that, with reluctance, the Federation has decided to close the operations of EUROPARC Consulting GmbH through liquidation.

There is no specific requirement within the EUROPARC statutes to deal with this circumstance and given the speed of actions needed, the EUROPARC council decided to mandate the President to take all and necessary actions. The legal advice provided was to liquidate the company as the Federation itself could not support financially Consulting’s operations.

Therefore we will begin the process of liquidation as of 25th April 2015 and appoint a liquidator to close the company under German law.

I want to pay tribute to all the consultants who have provided their expertise, to the advisory board for the long service and sterling work, but mostly pay tribute to Wilf Fenten who had ably managed Consulting well above and beyond his duty.

We are sad to lose a part of our EUROPARC family, but tough times have required tough decisions. We aim to remain in touch with consultants who have developed the protected area expertise you, our members, may require, so that body of work is not lost.

I hope you appreciate that action was necessary swiftly, but council will provide a full report in the general assembly on 27th October in Regensburg to which you are warmly invited, and I hope we will meet. Look out for more information about the conference and general assembly next month.

In the meantime, if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me or indeed, I am sure, the headquarters will be able to address your queries.


Ignace Schops
President EUROPARC Federation