Culture knows no borders

Cultural identity: building up from the connection to nature. Kemeri National Park, Latvia

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Europe made 2018 the European Year of Cultural Heritage to highlight the diversity, shared history and rich cultures that make Europe today.

Cultural Heritage in Europe: linking past and future

On the 26 June the European Parliament, in cooperation with the Culture and Education Committee organised a High-level conference entitled “Cultural Heritage in Europe: linking past and future”.

Conference Cultural heritage in Europe: linking past and future © European Parliament


The meeting brought together political leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders, as well as 44 high-level speakers that were invited to participate in three-panel debates:

  • Cultural Heritage and Europeanness
  • Preserving and promoting Cultural Heritage
  • Innovation and the economic potential of Cultural Heritage

In addition, participants were surprised by live music performances by the European Union Youth Orchestra and by children singing in the choir Europa in Canto.

Europe is for the union of thoughts

During the discussion main point was the importance of the European identity, that need to be connected with contemporary society, with sustainable development, creating an ark of Noe with everything that is important for us and to preserve it.  The European strength is the great variety presents and as the conductor and composer Ezio BOSSO said:

“Europe is an orchestra to turn to, roots are not an axis, but they are another part of the tree”.

       ©EUROPARC Federation

Culture knows only one heart

Our Heritage: where the
past meets the future
is the key message of the 2018
European Year of Cultural Heritage
More information at:

Last but not least, Xing Qu, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO underlined the important cooperation between UNESCO and the European Union in the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, sharing different initiatives that have been planned to mark the Year.

As highlighted in the European Commission’s spotlight publication on the Year of Cultural Heritage, approximately 300,000 people work directly in the EU’s cultural sector and the sector is indirectly responsible for the creation of around 7.8 million jobs. In addition, with 453 inscribed sites, Europe has almost half of UNESCO’s World Heritage List with further 89 elements inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The conference was one of the key events of the European Year of Cultural Heritage which has seen thousands of activities organised across Europe to involve citizens more closely with Cultural Heritage at local, regional, national and European levels.

The full conference programme, documents and streaming can be consulted on the dedicated webpage of the European Parliament.

Check the EUROPARC initiatives for the Year of Cultural Heritage!


Manual: Adaptation to climate change in protected areas

Regional Reserve Callora River (Italy) - Learn about the river restoration actions in this Reserve in Italy

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Despite the evidence of climate change and how it impacts life on earth, that are still few projects on climate change adaption, with a higher emphasis being putto mitigation aspects. However, most conservation projects such as dunes or wetlands restoration, forest management, contribute to climate change adaptation. What is missing? How can Parks better perform their natural role as climate change mitigators? 

Manual Adaption to Climate Change in Protected Areas

To support Protected Areas technicians and decision makers to better incorporate actions for climate change mitigation in their management plans, EUROPARC Spain launched a practical manual in 2017, and the second and revised version has now been published. The Manual Adaption to Climate Change in Protected Areas is available in Spanish, with executive-summary in English.

With the support of several experts on climate, protected area technicians and researchers, EUROPARC Spain defined criteria and compiled a roadmap for considering climate change in all phases of the planning process.

Management plans are the main and most important tool for natural areas, as they set biodiversity and conservation targets along with indicators and evaluation criteria. However, while other drivers of climate change (like changes in land use, invasive species or pollution) are well identified and targeted in management plans, the attention shown to climate change is very scant, often non-existent. 

What is needed is a is throughout system and criteria to guide actions for better climate change adaption. This will require strengthening mechanisms for collaboration between scientists and managers of protected areas. Adaptation to climate change in protected areas should be based on an ecosystem approach, aiming for the protection of the natural resources and ecosystem services provided to society.

Download the manual here

In Portugal, at last year’s EUROPARC Conference, a group of Protected Areas professionals joined a technical workshop moderated by Jose Auturi from EUROPARC Spain, that focused on Climate change adaption to share successful experiences and learn about what is being done in Spain.  Below you can download the presentations and outcomes of the workshop.

Download the Workshop Conclusions

Case Study 1: Incorporating Climate Change Adaption into planning and management. By José Antonio Atauri, EUROPARC Spain (ES)

Case Study 2: Experiences of Adaption to Climate change in Catalonia Nature Protected Areas. By Leonardo Bejarano, Generalitat de Catalunya (ES)

manual adaption to climate change

Slide from the presentation from Generalitat Cataluna

Announcement: YOUTH+ decided for their EUROPARC Youth Representative 2018-2020

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During the last week the young people active in the EUROPARC Youth+ programme stated their opinion in a mail consultation process. Now it is official: Congratulations to Laura Peters – the old and new EUROPARC Youth Representative!

Laura Peters at the EUROPARC Conference 2017, Magic Mountains, Portugal

The election process took the form of a mail consultation, where the young people involved in the main Youth+ programme actions of the last 5 years were asked to express their support, disagreement or abstention in regard to Laura Peters (23) being re-elected as Youth Representative (YR).

Read into Laura’s full application and watch her personal video message here. To get an overview of  the requirements for the role of a EUROPARC YR check out this article. For some background on some of the main milestones in the Youth+ programme mentioned check out:  EUROPARC Youth Conference 2013 Declaration, the Youth+ Camp 2015 Aigüstortes Declaration, the Youth Conference 2017 Presentation.

We are glad to announce there was only supportive feedback on Laura Peter’s candidature and understand the feedback of the Youth+ demonstrates that they are ready to keep working the way they have started together. Informed about the outcome Laura states

I am very happy to have another two years as the Youth+ representative and am looking forward to working together with all the Youth+, the Youth+ Council and the EUROPARC Council in this period. See you all at the Conference in Scotland!

Expressing their votes, supporting the role of the YR, the young people active within the Youth+ network are making it clear: they want their voice heard directly in the EUROPARC Council. The EUROPARC Federation in turn very much appreciates their dedicated commitment and energy, the new ideas and dynamic approaches the youth brings into our network!

The EUROPARC Federation is looking forward to another 2 years of great teamwork and good progress on our activities with the youth from Protected Areas across Europe! Keep up the good work everyone – we’re glad to know you all on board and are excited to keep advancing our youth activities with you. 🙂 

Elections for a EUROPARC Youth Representative 2018 – Applications closed!

Youth+ Jumpers just hanging around - a rare moment. Photo by Laura Peters

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EUROPARC believes that the young people active in parks across Europe are not only the potential future managers of our Protected Areas. They are also their valuable advisors, ambassadors and innovators, whose voices need to be heard. As future stewards and managers of our natural and cultural heritage, young people’s contributions must be recognised as crucial for the administration and management of Protected Areas already today.


Who will be the new Representative of Young People from Europe’s Protected Areas? 

With the first elected EUROPARC Youth Representative Laura Peters (mandate 2016 – 2018), the Federation had welcomed a committed new face to its Council, whose fresh ideas and hard work have driven the development of the EUROPARC Youth+ programme over the past two years.

Laura Peters at the EUROPARC Conference 2017, Magic Mountains, Portugal

The EUROPARC Federation appreciates and thanks her for her commitment – and for the courage to pioneer the position of the Youth Representative. In 2018 Laura Peter’s mandate ends and EUROPARC has now just closed the application period for the next mandate 2018 – 2020.

Read more about the elections in 2016 and the still valid requirements for candidature here

Quick overview: Role & Tasks of the Youth Representative

  • Assist and advise the Council on how to oversee the work of the EUROPARC Federation;
  • Bring extra insight to Council: a youth perspective to identify and solve problems arising from the changing agenda for biodiversity and sustainable development in Protected Areas;
  • Work with the Directorate, as necessary to provide regular reports to the Council on the development of the Youth + programme;
  • Represent the EUROPARC Federation, where appropriate – in dialogue and exchange with youth organisations and networks at the European level;
  • Assist EUROPARC to increase the involvement of young people its decision-making and in the  work of Protected Areas;
  • Share information and provide feedbacks to youth in Protected Areas across Europe;
  • The Youth representative should attend at least 2 council face to face meetings per year.

The EUROPARC Directorate and Council will provide induction information and a mentor to support the youth representative in the course of its mandate. EUROPARC will cover travel and accommodation costs for the participation to relevant meetings and events.

Canditature 2018-2020: Who is running for the position?

Within her first two years as EUROPARC Youth Representative Laura Peters has earned the trust of her peers, established the Youth+ Council and grew some profound experience of what it means and takes to work with the Federation Council. Seeds were planted and it might come as no surprise, that Laura is now running for a second period “in office” to help grow those seeds. Or as Laura put it in her own words in her application:

My first year was about learning, my second year was about preparing and now I hope to get chosen again for the next two years to execute plans and ideas!

Check out Laura’s full letter of motivation

and watch her short video message below,  where she tells you about her activities and experience during the last 2 years and explains her motivation to stay “in office” as the EUROPARC Youth Representative for another 2 years.

Election procedure 2018 – 2020

Besides the application of Laura Peters, no other applications were received and therefore the election process will run as follows:

All participants of the Youth Conference 2013, the Youth+ Camp 2015 and the Youth Council will be invited by mail to express their support for Laura Peters before the 16th July 2018.

Also disagreement and abstentions will be collected. The results of the consultation will then be considered and announced by Friday 20th July. Make sure you follow our news!

Eventually, the elected Youth Representative will be invited to attend the EUROPARC Council Meeting in the Cairngorms National Park – UK, during EUROPARC Conference 2018.