EUROPARC Online Conference 2020

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The EUROPARC Conference 2020 “OUR NEW FUTURE: HOW READY ARE WE?” will be an innovative 2 day ONLINE event on the 8th and 9th of September. At this online experience, we will bring you the best of EUROPARC networking

And we are off! Today EUROPARC launches its webpage and registration for the EUROPARC online Conference 2020: “OUR NEW FUTURE: HOW READY ARE WE?” online on the 8th and 9th of September. Join us, as we look to the future of Protected Areas management!

                                                       Register here!

Currently, we are living through challenging times and there are many changes around the corner. From the response to COVID-19, to the new EU strategies, parks and Protected Areas need to be involved in discussions about the future of society and be prepared with solutions to ensure they are part of a safer and more sustainable Europe.

Those working in Protected Areas need to feel equipped with tools, skills and competencies to juggle competing priorities, manage community engagement, maintain and develop partnerships, articulate political arguments and pitch new communications.

EUROPARC online Conference 2020: “OUR NEW FUTURE: HOW READY ARE WE?”

This year’s EUROPARC conference therefore, will explore these big issues and look at what skills and capacities protected areas need to address these changing times, implement the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy and respond to the post COVID-19 world.

Hearing of Commissioner-designate Virginijus Sinkevičius (News, European Parliament)

So who better to hear from then one of the driving forces behind the new EU strategies: Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries? He will be our first key note speaker.

For all speakers and the tentative programme, click here!

At the conference, just some of the issues we will look at are :

  • What personal and organisational skills, knowledge and competencies are required to achieve the ambitions of the EU Biodiversity Strategy?
  • How do we ensure healthy parks, healthy people in periurban Europe?
  • Sustainable tourism: are we ready for ecotourism as the new future?
  • How can Protected Areas incorporate climate change into their management practices?
  • Youth is the future! How can Protected Areas implement the EUROPARC Youth manifesto to ensure young people take part in the decision making processes?

And much more.

Speak up!

With the EUROPARC Conference 2020 we want to provide an innovative event that provides ample opportunity for the exchange of best practice and experiences. This is why we created “Speaker’s Corner”. EUROPARC Federation is opening the stage to its members and conference delegates, to come and present their work to their peers.

This interactive session will be a great opportunity to learn and discuss protected area matters. These slots are open to exchange views and ideas about specific conservation practices. This is an opportunity to present project results or highlight current initiatives in a 20 minutes session .

If you wish to get on stage, please apply here by Aug 21, 2020

Let’s get future-ready, together. Join us, meet like-minded people and let’s work on a healthy and green future for Europe at the EUROPARC ONLINE Conference 2020 on the 8th and 9th of September.

Go to the EUROPARC Conference 2020 webpage here

Go here for last year’s EUROPARC Conference in Latvia.

EGNOS : a satellite-based system to support Protected Areas

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In the age of digitalization, new tools are being developed. Some of them can be of great benefit to the work of Protected Areas by facilitating the collection of information, monitoring, and exchanges of good practices. One of these is the EGNOS initiative: the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service. They present a public and free tool that can help nature conservation.

The programme exploitation manager is European Global navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA).

What is EGNOS?

The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is the public and free satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) provided by the European GNSS Agency (GSA). EGNOS is a free public service provided by the European Commission that corrects the GPS data, reducing the error of the location measurements.

What are the benefits of this tool for Protected Areas?

Protected Areas can benefit from EGNOS for typical GPS field operations carried out in the framework of conservation of their ecosystems and management of their infrastructures. By providing more accurate positioning data, EGNOS allows to have better references of the Protected Areas’ elements in digital maps of geographic information systems (GIS). In this sense, EGNOS enhances the location and revisit of individual elements such as dens, lairs, nests, shrubs, trails, trees, dustbins, litter, picnic tables, signposts, etc. In addition, perimeters and areas, such as those of burned fields, ditches, groves, peat-lands, bodies of water, etc., can also be measured more accurately with EGNOS. In this way, EGNOS facilitates, to both field managers and operators, the performance of tasks related to the inventory, monitoring and maintenance of both natural and manmade items in Protected Areas. Concretely, it can help Park Managers for trail tracking, species monitoring and safety…

How does it work?

Area covered by EGNOS

EGNOS is available in almost all handheld GPS devices so no additional infrastructure (base station, radio link, mobile network coverage, etc.) is required. Protected Areas field employees only need to activate and configure EGNOS correctly in their equipment to automatically get more accurate positioning data at no cost. In this sense, it is essential to set the current active EGNOS satellites, whose PRN identifiers are provided in the EGNOS User Support Website. Some examples on how to configure EGNOS in mapping and GIS receivers can be found here.

For more detailed information of the proper configuration of EGNOS and its benefits for mapping and GIS applications, please take a look at this webinar recording. In order to have all the EGNOS up-to-date information with you, the EGNOS app is available for both Android and iOS. Finally, for any inquiry or issue, please do not hesitate to contact the EGNOS helpdesk by email: [email protected], phone: +34 911 236 555 or online form.


Launch of the Healthy Parks Healthy People Programme Europe

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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.

Health is on everyone’s mind right now, but the connection between health and nature tends to gets overlooked. This is why EUROPARC is now launching the new Healthy Parks, Healthy People Programme Europe.

As the largest network of Protected Areas in Europe, EUROPARC wants to improve cooperation, the exchange of ideas and experience and the development of better policy and practice. Our vision is for “sustainable nature, valued by people”, and 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 the EUROPARC Federation in Latvia 2019, calls for the Federation to create a Healthy Parks, Healthy People Europe Programme (HPHPe).

We want happier and healthier people, connected to nature-rich parks and protected areas

Simultaneously, Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius from DG environment, has recently stated that : “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”.

Healthy Parks Healthy People

Positive contact with nature is essential for human health and well-being, this has been supported by a range of scientific evidence. Parks and Protected Areas play a vital role in connecting people to nature and thus supporting public health. The Healthy Parks, Healthy People Programme Europe wants to highlight the importance of green health. Today it launches with its very first webinar.

The programme aims 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
  • Responding to the climate emergency

Additionally, the programme wants

  • more of Europe’s parks and protected areas providing well managed, accessible facilities and engaging target groups in health-promoting activities.
  • more policy, practice and partnership 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.
  • 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.

To find out everything you need to know about the HPHPe programme and join the initiative, check out the programme page here.

Download the programme brochure

Projets agriculture au Parc Naturel Burdinale-Mehaigne

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With the aim of visiting concrete experiences of collaboration between farmers and parks in Wallonia, the EUROPARC Brussels office team visited the Parc Naturel Burdinale-Mehaigne on the 18 June 2020. Focused on rural development, the park develops several projects reconciling agriculture and biodiversity. This article is in French : you can use deepL to help you for translation in English or other language!

Afin de découvrir des expériences concrètes de collaboration entre les fermiers et les parcs, le 18 juin 2020, l’équipe du bureau de Bruxelles d’EUROPARC s’est rendu au Parc Naturel Burdinale-Mehaigne. Axé sur le développement rural, le parc développe des projets réconciliant agriculture et biodiversité.

En Wallonie, les 12 Parcs naturels correspondent environ à un tiers du territoire Wallon. Leur mission principale est le développement rural, en harmonie avec la nature. Crée en 1991, le Parc Naturel Burdinale-Mehaigne s’étend sur 11 000 ha sur 4 communes (Burdinne, Braives, Héron et Wanze). A l’origine, la création du parc a suscité certaines résistances, notamment auprès des agriculteurs mais aujourd’hui les choses ont évolué. Désormais, les managers du Parc et les agriculteurs travaillent main dans la main. Le Parc est considéré comme un partenaire. Créer une relation de confiance nécessite de la communication et beaucoup d’échanges. Rencontre avec la directrice Mélanie Cuvelier, Inès Van Den Broucke et Hadrien Gaullet pour nous parler de leurs projets sur l’agriculture.

De droite a gauche : Hadrien Gaullet, Inès Van Den Broucke, Mélanie Cuvelier, Olivier de Sadeleer, Elisa Tuaillon, Stefania Petrosillo

Les caractéristiques du Parc Naturel Burdinale Mehaigne

Faucon Crécerelle, symbole pour les agriculteurs

Traversé par deux rivières, qui donnent leur nom au Parc, ce dernier est composé d’une réserve naturelle (Marais de Hosdent) et de 2 sites Natura 2000 : la Vallée de la Burdinale (BE 33008) et la Vallée de la Mehaigne (BE 33009). Pour plus d’information, visitez la page du site web du Parc !

L’agriculture est au centre du territoire couvre près de 80% du territoire du Parc naturel .Le Parc est caractérisé par des paysages d’openfield historiquement dédiés à la culture céréalière. Cette région est caractérisée par un sol limoneux fertile, et le prix de la terre est élevé. Le territoire a d’ailleurs été affecté par l’intensification agricole et le remembrement des terres.



© Sébastien Leunen – Les trois espèces de Busards (Saint-Martin, des Roseaux et Cendré) sont protégées et fort en déclin, les deux premiers sont présents régulièrement au Parc naturel et le Busard cendré y a niché l’année dernière. Cette photo est un des poussins au Parc Naturel de Burdinale-Mehaigne.

Le Parc Naturel de Burdinale-Mehaigne contribue à créer une communauté sensible à la biodiversité dans l’agriculture. Cette mission se décline à travers deux projets : la diminution des produits phytosanitaires et la protection de la faune, notamment les oiseaux. Dans un contexte où les bénéfices par rapport à l’investissements sont faibles et ou les agriculteurs sont pointes du doigts, favoriser le dialogue est au cœur de ces deux projets.



L’agriculture est le miroir de la société. Si l’agriculture est intensive, c’est avant tout parce que notre société est intensive.

Le projet GAL

Le projet « Agriculture et biodiversité » a pour principal objectif de recréer une capacité d’accueil des plaines agricoles pour la faune et la flore.

« Avant la récolte, les oiseaux ont de la nourriture et des espaces pour se protéger. Mais du jour au lendemain, le sol est mis à nu. Cela met en danger la survie des oiseaux, tout aussi bien pour leur nourriture que leur habitat. »


Les tendances des espèces © Hadrien Gaullet

Outre les rencontres en terre agricole et échanges de bonnes pratiques, diverses actions sont mises en place : mesures agroenvironnementales et climatiques, installations de structures (agrainoirs, plots à alouette des champs) et des actions de sensibilisation auprès des habitants pour favoriser la cohésion sociale et valoriser l’image de l’agriculteur.

Pour favoriser la biodiversité en agriculture, recréer un maillage écologique (tallus, bassin d’orage, bord de route…) est un élément clé. Aujourd’hui il est à peu près de 1.7% dans cette zone (5% est nécessaire afin d’assurer un statut de conservation stable).

Barre d’effarouchement

A droite, c’est une photo d’une barre d’effarouchement construite en collaboration avec l’agriculteur Jacques Anciaux. Il s’agît d’un dispositif situé à l’avant du tracteur et qui effarouche la faune avant le passage de la machine. Cela permet d’éviter une mortalité importante lors des travaux de fauche et de destruction mécanique des engrais verts. L’agriculteur se place au service de la biodiversité en construisant cet outil en vue de le prêter à tous les agriculteurs qui en font la demande !

PDF de la presentation Projet GAL – Wallonie

Le site web du projet


Le Projet Générations Terre

EN TERRE TON SLIP, un test pour comparer la biodiversite des sols. A gauche, un sol riche vs a droite un sol pauvre.

Décliné dans 3 parcs, l’objectif du projet pilote Générations Terre est de réduire de 30 à 50% les produits phytosanitaires (herbicides, insecticides et fongicides) dans les 5ans.

Le projet a 3 axes d’action : suivi personnalisé (constat, calcul, observations), une animation territoriale (formations, essais, échanges de bonnes pratiques), communication (vulgarisation, valorisation de l’image de l’agriculteur). Favoriser le dialogue entre les citoyens et les agriculteurs est essentiel pour valoriser l’image des producteurs. La charte du vivre ensemble est un outil développé pour favoriser le dialogue entre agriculteurs et riverains.

PDF de la présentation : Projet Generations Terre

En plus de ces projets agriculture, le Parc Naturel Burdinale-Mehaigne a développé des projets Nature-biodiversité comme les Apis jardin (charte écologique de gestion du jardin pour les citoyens), des vergers et plantations de haies pour faire découvrir la diversité de la flore aux citoyens.

Projets Nature – Biodiversite


Un grand merci à Mélanie, Ines et Hadrien pour leur accueil !