Parks, Communities, Territory and Competences – Federparchi Congress 2018

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The IX Congress of Federparchi – EUROPARC Italy

Climate change and the need for sustainable development are intertwined issues that can no longer be avoided. Skills are needed to meet the challenges of the future. This will be one of the main themes of the two days of Federparchi to be held in Rome on 24 and 25 October.

The Congress of the Italian Federation of Protected Areas and EUROPARC Italian Section has as its theme: “Parks, communities, territory, and competences: the challenges of the future for protected areas”. The crossroads between the role of communities, the protection of the territory and biodiversity, the enhancement of skills and the need to have professional profiles able to deal with the new reality, are the lines of understanding for Italian protected areas to be a model of sustainable development, as well as areas of protection and conservation of nature and habitats.

In Italy there are 24 National Parks, 134 Regional Parks, 147 State Nature Reserves, 27 Marine Protected Areas (plus three in the process of being established), and over 360 Regional Reserves.

The Congress will gather representatives from the national and regional parks and the Italian protected areas, but will als count with the participation of the local authorities, environmental and civil organisations, of the scientific research. The meeting will take place in Rome, at the Grand Hotel de la Minerve – Piazza della Minerva 69.

For more information please visit Federparchi Website

Dutch National Parks on the way up again

Sunrise in the Oostvaardersplass © New Land National Park, extracted from

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article issue by Hans Schiphorst, coordinator of the Samenwerkingsverband Nationale Parken

Dutch National Parks on the way up again

The Dutch National Parks faced a difficult period over the last couple of years. It was the result of an unclear situation regarding the position of national parks in Dutch nature policies: a lot of these policies were decentralized from Central Government to Provincial Government, but the position of National Parks was unclear.

It resulted in a confusing situation regarding governance and finance of the National Parks. Due to an amendment in Parliament, calling upon the minister to safeguard and rejuvenate National Park policies, we are on the way up again. Not all is sorted yet, but

there is a positive movement again, resulting in a new National Park standard and in designating the Netherlands 21th and newest National Park, called Nieuw Land National Park.

The Nieuw Land National Park (New Land National Park)

New Land National Park, nieuw land national Park

Read more about the Zuiderzeeproject
© Nieuw Land National Park

With a total of almost 29.000 hectares, it is one of the biggest National Parks in the Netherlands. The Nieuw Land National park is situated in the middle of the country, in and around the big central lake in the Netherlands “IJsselmeer and Markeermeer”, the former “Zuiderzee”. In the nineteen forties of the last century, a big floodwall was build in the north of the country, changing the salt water Zuiderzee into the freshwater IJsselmeer.

Part of IJsselmeer and Markermeer was subsequently converted into big polders, some 4 meters below the water table. A part of these polders was never converted into arable land or used for building houses as almost overnight an area with great ecological qualities emerged: the Oostvaardersplassen, internationally recognized for its waterfowl and huge numbers of big grazers like Heck cattle, Red Deer and Konik horses. This part of the National Park is about 6000 hectares.

oostvaardersplass, New Land National Park, nieuw land national Park

Konik horses in the Oostvaardersplassen © New Land National Park, extracted from

Man & Nature

A second part of the National Park is the “Marker Wadden”. It is a newly created area of sandplates, roughly 10.000 hectares. These sandplates are created in order to stimulate the ecological qualities in this part of the Markermeer.

Marker Wadden, man-made Sandplates© New Land National Park, extracted from

New Land National Park, nieuw land national Park

Birdwatching in the Lepelaarplassen, © New Land National Park, extracted from

The rest of the National Park consists of a part of the Markermeer and the Lepelaarsplassen, the latter area mainly consists of reedbeds and wet grasslands known for its spoonbills (Lepelaar in Dutch) and other waterfowl and marsh birds. A haven for hundreds of bird species.

Lepelaar, New Land National Park © Herbert Jan Koopmanextracted from

New Land National Park, nieuw land national Park

Markermeer © New Land National Park, extracted from

The Nieuw Land National Park is not only the Netherlands newest and latest National Park, but also an example of man-made nature where you will also find the remains of former occupation by the Romans and interesting naval-history and – archeology.

oostvaardersplass, New Land National Park, nieuw land national Park

Visitors in the Oostvaardersplassen © New Land National Park, extracted from

Check out what you can do & see in the Park. All information available at

A global moratorium on depleting and destroying ecosystems

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Article issued by Ignace Schops, EUROPARC President

“A half of a degree less, makes a world of difference”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The IPCC special report “Global Warming of 1.5°C” was very clear. Unless we become climate neutral by 2050, we will face severe problems. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require “unprecedented” transitions.

The UN Secretary-General stressed the need to plant billions of trees; drastically reduce fossil fuel use and phase out coal by 2050; ramp up the installation of wind and solar power; invest in climate-friendly sustainable agriculture and consider new technologies such as CCS. In this regard, he urged countries to raise their ambition, strengthen their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and urgently accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement.

As far as we know growing new forests, investing in new nature and marine reserves and safeguarding natural systems are most reliable and cheapest way to tackle global warming.

Unfortunately, our life balancing ecosystems are threatened day after day. Habitats and species disappear as snow in the sun… and so the carbon buffer capacity of ecosystems. The autonomous evolution is negative. I repeat: negative!

Since the rise of human civilization 83% of the wild mammals, 80% of the marine mammals, 50% of the plants and 15% of the fish have been lost. We are playing with (our) life on earth! In his book “half-Earth”, the great Edward O. Wilson rightly states that

if we want to sustain on a healthy biodiverse planet, we need to reserve at least half of the earth for the protection of nature.

We are losing our comfort zone! Isn’t it time to take a new big simple idea forward that jointly helps to tackle the problems of climate change and biodiversity loss? How? Well, maybe it is time for an extra incentive and to invest in what we have and cannot afford to lose.

In other words: a global moratorium on depleting and destroying ecosystems.

A stand-still-principle as the starting situation. Combined with a system to reimburse regions who are willing to create new buffer zones, (re)plant forests or enlarge existing ecosystems. The mechanism to activate this idea could be the PES, Payments for Ecosystem Services. The basic idea behind PES is to pay those who provide ecosystem services should be paid for doing so.

One of the collective goals of the Paris Agreement is to mobilize US$ 100 billion a year in climate finance for de developing countries by 2020. Let’s secure this budget for this purpose. The developing countries need all the support we can get. But is it such a big problem to top this budget with an extra US$ 50 billion? The advantage is it could be a big win-win-situation: for the healthiness and the future of our planet. To tackle climate change and to safeguard our natural heritage!

The more we invest in the livelihoods of our living engine, the longer our precious planet will give us and all its creatures to the pleasure of living on it!

Think globally, act locally and change personally!

Ignace Schops © Don MacMonagle

Ignace Schops

President EUROPARC Federation

EUROPARC Youth Manifesto – Implementing Change. Now!

©James Stevens

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This Friday the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto has been out there for exactly three weeks. Calling decision-makers to action. Inspiring youth empowerment and cooperation across generations at local levels. Asking all of us living, learning and working together in parks and rural communities to listen to young people.

Three weeks ago, a diverse group of talented and hard-working young people from all over Europe, pitched their inspiring document to delegates at the EUROPARC 2018 Conference in Cairngorms National Park – a real success! Their clear message:

We are ready to take action and tackle our common challenges together with you – now we need you to respond!

Now, only 21 days after its official launch the Youth Manifesto has gained momentum! First project ideas to implement the Youth Manifesto are right now being discussed in parks and rural areas across Europe. Some of the young ambassadors are travelling around their regions, invited to present the Manifesto. Some have even worked out concrete plans with responsible authorities in their parks and communities, to take action.

The EUROPARC Conference 2018 has marked a promising starting point. Now we need to keep the momentum going: Kick-off is now!

In the upcoming months we’ll keep you updated about the projects implementing the Manifesto all over Europe – providing you with the inspiration and hand-on experience it takes for you to start with your own.

We are already excited to learn about your projects inspired by the Manifesto, so we can connect and make them visible throughout our European network. Feel free to get in touch with us for questions and make sure you keep us posted about your ideas to implement the Youth Manifesto in your area:

Let’s take action for change and co-create sustainable Protected Areas and resilient communities together!

Make sure you follow the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto Project on Social Media and check the Youth Manifesto Website & EUROPARC news page regularly to keep up to date!