Year of creation: French section: 2004, Francophone section: 2020
The core areas of work: sustainable tourism & recreation, climate change, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, transboundary cooperation, sustainable development, lobbying, environment education
Contact person: Clara Fontana, Federation of Nature Regional Parks, cfontana @ parcs-naturels-regionaux.fr
Contact person for the Charter for Sustainable Tourism: Laura Léotoing, IPAMAC, laura.leotoing at parcs-massif-central.com
About their work in France, Switzerland, Luxembourg & Wallonia
The group of francophone Parks focus on sustainable development of rural and Periurban areas. They are active in different networks at national and European level, either by park category (regional, national, Periurban parks) or together on common issues. Parks have to stress their important role in coordinating and accompanying different public policies. They are contributing to regional policies, coordinating and bringing together all local stakeholders around long-term integrative and participative territory projects. All the parks involved in the Francophone Section are concerned with, and working, on global issues. They experiment, foster innovation, implement and share local solutions in various fields: ecological and energy transition; climate change (mitigation and adaptation); connecting, maintaining and restoring green infrastructures; protecting and monitoring biodiversity; sustainable use of resources; social and economic development through sustainable agriculture and tourism; preservation and valorization of cultural heritage; landscape protection; branding of products and services; education and awareness raising for sustainable development and territory belonging.
Additionally, an important number of Francophone Parks are involved in Natura 2000 management.
Lobbying with European institutions is currently a main objective within the section. With the support of the EUROPARC Federation Directorate, the section’s members aim to increase recognition of Protected Areas in general, as well as recognizing the special feature each category of parks has. The section wants to highlight all parks have to offer towards EU policies in order to raise more financial and technical support for their work.
For instance, the Section has been involved in working groups, commissions and the production of position papers on the new CAP and agroecology, and on the special role of « Europe’ nature, regional and landscape parks » and « periurban parks ». Additionally, the section has participated in different events in the EU Green Week, EUROPARC’s Seminar Dialog, Week of Regions and meetings between EUROPARC members and EU representatives.
Sustainable tourism is also a high priority for francophone parks
This is why, many Francophone Section members are part of the Federation’s European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECST). Since 1999, French parks have first carried out the pilot project alongside the EUROPARC Federation, to design the tool, beginning with Part I; institutional and territorial strategy. Together with Italy and Spain, France has been designing and experimenting the Part II; accompanying professionals of the tourism sector (like leisure activities, handcrafts, hosting, culinary sector…). Since 2015, parks in France have established a national joint commission and tested out the implementation of the Part III of the ECST; committing tour operators to design tourism products complying with ECST values. The commission is responsible for recognising travel agencies that offer touristic programmes that respect the Charter principles and involving local actors committed to Part II. Moreover, French parks are dedicated to using the principles and aims of EUROPARC’s Charter for Sustainable Tourism to become the center of excellence for “slow tourism” in France.