Healthy Parks Healthy People Europe
The Healthy Parks Healthy People Europe Programme is developed by the EUROPARC Federation and built on the innovative practise gathered by the Health and Protected Areas commission over several years.
About the Healthy Parks Healthy People Europe programme
As the largest network of Protected Areas in Europe, EUROPARC seeks to improve cooperation, the exchange of ideas and experience and the development of better policy and practice to deliver our vision of “sustainable nature, valued by people”. We see the sustainable nature of Europe’s parks and protected areas as a key asset for health and well-being. To help realise this vision, the Jūrmala Communiqué agreed by EUROPARC at its conference in Latvia 2019, calls for the Federation to create a Healthy Parks Healthy People Europe Programme.
“Nature brings us wide range of benefits. It provides us with food, medicines, business opportunities, and at the same time it is our natural shield from air, water and noise pollution. Access to nature is also essential for health. During the Covid-19 lockdowns across Europe, we had a chance to realise how important green areas are for our mental and physical well-being. To build a healthier and more resilient society we thus need to value our nature protected areas and invest more into green infrastructures, including in urban areas and public spaces. This is one of the aims of the 2030 EU Biodiversity Strategy” said the Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius from DG environment.
Healthy Parks Healthy People is a Europe-wide programme developed by the EUROPARC Federation to support parks and protected areas at the national, regional and local level to deliver better outcomes for the health of people and nature.
We want happier and healthier people, connected to nature-rich parks and protected areas
Study after study has indicated significant and sustained increases in people’s health and happiness, when connected to nature. Yet we are experiencing tangible biodiversity loss associated with removal of places for nature being replaced by buildings, industry, roads and other infrastructure, not to mention the challenges of climate change.
Increasingly sedentary, urbanised lifestyles, social isolation and an aging population all contribute to these health problems. Despite the sustained investment in health care, health inequalities between different socio-economic groups in many European countries are significant and growing. However, Europe has a well-developed and diverse system of Parks and Protected Areas and green infrastructure and a range of progressive policies for biodiversity and green infrastructure at the European and national level.
Europe’s Parks and Protected Areas are well placed to support health outcomes for people
With the Healthy Parks Healthy People Europe programme, we want to:
Make the case:
Increase awareness and understanding of nature-based health interventions in parks and protected areas through the development of key messages, information and case studies. We want to champion HPHP Europe in national and European policy and practice and encourage the majority of EUROPARC Federation members to adopt HPHP Europe
Establish broad based platforms at the European, national and regional level that bring together health, environmental and other sectors to discuss, develop and champion nature-based solutions in policy and practice. To do so we will establish a HPHP Europe platform of health and protected areas experts and support partnerships developed by EUROPARC at the national and regional level across Europe
Develop capacity and practice:
Promote best practice, build capacity and develop the evidence based on nature-based health interventions in parks and protected areas. We will do this by publishing and promoting a HPHP Europe tool-kit and case studies for parks and protected area staff, as well as deliver HPHP Europe workshops, online seminars and study visits to build knowledge and capacity
Connect people and nature:
Our goal is to improve well-being and grow stronger pro-nature attitudes and behaviors in more people, through the use of parks and protected areas. This way we can improve public health, by promoting a “nature for all” approach. This will help attract new audiences to parks and protected areas and help reduce health inequalities. Additionally, we will establish a HPHP Europe project to develop and share good practice in the use of “5 ways to well-being” in parks and protected areas
Click here for more information about the Healthy Parks Healthy People Europe Programme
We want to maximise the contribution of Europe’s parks and protected areas to key policy priorities on improving public health and well-being for all and reducing health inequalities, protecting, restoring and investing in biodiversity, as well as by responding to the climate emergency
To achieve the potential of Healthy Parks Healthy People Europe, we want to see more of Europe’s parks and protected areas providing well managed, accessible facilities and engaging target groups in health-promoting activities. We want more policy, practice and partnerships, working to maximise the potential of Europe’s parks and protected areas as key assets for improving public health and well-being and reducing health inequalities. As well as, more people from all backgrounds enjoying the health benefits of connecting with nature and supporting the case for better protection, restoration and further investment in Europe’s parks and protected areas.
Healthy Parks Healthy People Europe is born out of tried and tested experience from across Europe and has been developed as a tool to enable partnerships between Parks and the health sector.
Making Europe healthier and happier – what you can do!
To make the Healthy Parks Healthy People Europe programme a success will take the active commitment of EUROPARC Federation members and the development of partnerships with a range of other organisations and networks in health and other sectors. Join this exciting new European project and together we can make Europe a healthier and happier place by:
- Championing HPHP Europe in regional, national and European policy and practice
- Promoting a “nature for all” approach to help attract new audiences to Parks and Protected Areas and help reduce health inequalities
- Investing in programmes and projects in Parks and Protected Areas that support public health outcomes
- Staying in touch and working together
Within the programme, a toolkit was launched to give practical examples and guidance on how to succesfully start the HPHPe Programme in your Park or Protected Area. You can find it here.
Sign up and join the Healthy Parks Healthy People Europe programme as a commitment to ensure our Parks and Protected Areas are THE Natural Health Service for Europe
The participation in the Healthy Parks, Healthy People Europe Programme is voluntary and free, but exclusive to EUROPARC Members.
All protected area authorities and organisations that endorse the principles of the HPHPe, can use the graphic elements to brand their events, initiatives and programmes. The use of all materials is free, but subject to approval. Please inform us about your initiatives by sending an email to [email protected]