Interreg Europe GREENHEALTH – Sustainable Protected Areas as a key value for human well-being

Protected Areas in the European Union represent a fundamental asset for preserving nature and biodiversity and provide multiple benefits in ecosystem services. At the same time, it has also been proven that the COVID pandemic has further emphasized the importance of natural spaces for human well-being, leading to an increased number of visitors to Protected Areas. This has positive effects for Protected Areas as people value them again, but also potentially poses a risk to biodiversity if public use is not managed sustainably.

The improvement of public policies on Protected Areas and the adjustment of PA management is a necessary step, if we aim to create resilient ecosystems to improve the well-being of all persons living in Europe without jeopardizing the environmental goals.

Objective of the project

The objective of GREENHEALTH is to strengthen the biodiversity of the regions of the European Union by improving the management of European Protected Areas through strengthening links and strategic and operational cooperation between biodiversity protection and human health and well-being.

Role of EUROPARC Federation

The HPHPe programme will be integral to the project to be used during the interregional learning phase to improve regional policies.

EUROPARC leads on the communications, capacity building and engagement aspect of GREENHEALTH as well as oversee the implementation of the interregional learning events. Utilising the experience from across the network, we will utilise the work of the HPHPe Commission, in the creation of criteria for best practise case studies, provide capacity building for protected area managers and develop effective stakeholder engagement processes (in particular in the regional studies), giving a diagnosis of the situation through a participative process with stakeholders, connecting with the health sectors. Through the HPHPe toolkit we are supporting the partnership on policy, partnerships and practice of bringing the health and parks sectors together to build better health opportunities for the communities that the partnership serves.

We will also lead on the communication strategy and other communication tools to raise awareness and disseminate project activities and results to a Europe-wide audience in the Protected Areas and in health sector.

The GREENHEALTH partnership

Lead Partner:

Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia – General Directorate of the Natural Environment, Spain


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Duration and budget

The project duration is 4 years. 01/03/23 – 31/05/27

In particular:

  • Core phase of 3 years. Exchange of experiences (identification of good practices, interregional learning, trainings…)
  • Follow-up phase 1 year. Follow-up of the results of the exchange of experience

Total value of the project amounts to: EUR 1,745,776.00, with a total co-financing of the Interreg Europe Programme of EUR 1,367,745.20

Core phase workplan in a nutshell

  • Identify, select and transfer best practices among the regions (Development of regional studies).
  • Capacity building sessions related with the Healthy Parks, Healthy People programme and toolkit
  • Formation of local living labs with the participation of regional and local stakeholders (Partners, responsible organizations for protected areas and health policies, academia representatives, citizensand associated policy authorities…). These groups will be set from the beginning of the project and will meet once per semester.
  • Organization of 3 Interregional Learning Workshops for the transfer of best practices.
  • Project meetings and study visits to learn about the different regional territorial contexts and decide with of the best practices visited are most suitable to be transferred into our own context.
  • Start the policy instruments improvements.

Follow-up phase workplan in a nutshell

  • Monitoring of the improvements in the policy instruments
  • Implementation of a pilot action (if agreed by the partnership), as a small scale test of some good practices discovered
  • “Online green and healthy coffee breaks” to monitor the implementation of the action plans at local level and the transfer of good practices
  • Consolidation of Local Living Labs , continuation of periodic meetings between stakeholders

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