What makes a good LIFE Project?


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The European Commission – Environment and Climate Action Directorates-General – published recently two inspiring publications regarding the LIFE Programme: “Best Life Nature Projects 2014” and “Best Life Environment Projects 2014”.

Both publications introduce the “Life Best Awards´” winners and “the best of the best” projects, and are certainly a good reading for those currently running or aiming to apply to LIFE Programme. There you will find good examples of projects from across Europe, with different objectives – from communication and education to habitat restoration.

Best Life Nature Projects 2014 – online version and printable version

Best Life Environment Projects 2014 – online version and printable version

To learn more about the LIFE Programme: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/about/index.htm

E-learning for Protected Areas, 2nd Edition

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On February  1st, a new online training for Protected Area Specialists will start in Romania. The platform www.proparktraining.ro, created in 2015, opens now its third edition to 49 participants who are directly or indirectly involved in the management of Protected Areas, and motivated students that want to start working for Protected Areas. 

A flexible schedule, an interactive learning process and, most important, a pertinent content of high relevance for protected area professionals (topics & practice) are the main reasons for attending this training. During 6 weeks of intensive study within the virtual platform, the romanian students will be evaluated, and,  based on the results, the first 15 students will participate in a ”face to face” session, in order to become certified Protected Area Specialists in Romania.

In the meantime, ProPark Foundation for Protected Areas, is analysing the feedback and experience gathered in the previous versions in 2015, improving materials in order to create a dynamic and “fresh” way of learning.

DBU platform

ProPark E-learning website

This is a real challenge for all the trainers who are working right now, discussing solutions, exchanging experiences – especially after the training events – , all to improve the content and offer a better experience of learning  on the online platform

said Georgiana Andrei, Project Manager.

The platform is developed within the project „Increasing education opportunities on sustainable development for Protected Area managers in Romania“, implemented by Propark Foundation for Protected Areas with the support of EUROPARC Federation and funded by DBU – Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (German Federal Foundation Environment).

More info about the project available here.

For more information contact Georgiana Andrei from ProPark.

ATS 2014 – Reports are online!

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Investing in young professionals working for Protected Areas

Every year,  the Alfred Toepfer Natural Heritage Scholarships (ATS) and EUROPARC support the work of young conservationist in protected areas across Europe. The call is open to all young professionals working in topics related to Protected Areas in Europe. Conditions to apply:

  • candidates must be under 35
  • have a European nationality
  • be employed by a Protected Area or nature conservation organisation

Check this page to access all the information about the current call!

We are proud to promote the study tour reports made by the 3 scholars awarded in 2014:

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Restoration of peatlands drained for forestry, by Joshua Ratcliffe (UK)

Peatlands are the largest and most space-efficient form of terrestrial carbon storage. Peatland restoration is now underway across Europe, but important questions about the long-term effectiveness and the most economic forms of restoration still need to be answered. In the autumn of 2015 I secured funding to visit peatland restoration projects in Finland. While there I visited Metsähallitus, one of the pioneering organisations involved with the restoration of afforested peatlands. I also visited the “peatlanders” at the University of Helsinki, who have produced a herculean portion of the research on forested peatlands in recent years. This was done with the aim of gathering information on peatland restoration which may be of relevance to projects across Europe, particularly those in the north of Scotland. Several messages came up time and time again throughout my visit on importance of hydrology, on uncertainties about the effect of restoration on the  carbon balance of bogs or on what areas are the most valuable to be restored.

Linking policy and practice: The EU Biodiversity Strategy in management of the transboundary Alpine Protected Areas, by Natalya Yakusheva (Sweden)

The study visit to the transboundary protected areas, Prealpi Giulie Natural Park in Italy and the Triglav National Park in Slovenia aimed at exploring links between political objectives (EU biodiversity strategy) and day-to-day implementation and management in these protected areas. The visits to the two parks demonstrated that day-to-day practices in these institutions comply with the general European approach, especially, in regards to public engagement and searching the way to balance between biodiversity conservation and social welfare tasks.

 On controlling invasive species: how to tackle conservation, ethics and communication to the general public? by Milene Matos (Portugal)

Alien invasive species are a worldwide leading cause of biodiversity decline, ranking second only to habitat loss. The seriousness of this issue led the European Commission to entitle a whole target on it, within the EU Biodiversity Strategy. The negative consequences of invasive species extend beyond environment to ecosystem services, public health, economy, landscape aesthetics, etc., representing a main concern and threat to all aspects of sustainability. Once established, invasive species are extremely difficult and costly to control and eradicate, and their ecological effects are often irreversible. Thus, producing effective invasive species management plans is a central issue in conservation, and increasing awareness and understanding of the risks and issues involved in dealing with invasive alien species is an overarching matter in conservation communication. When it comes to charismatic species, ethical questions also arise, and tackling conservation through their control is a very complex issue. This study visit took place in Parque Regional del Sureste, Spain, where a raccoon control program is being carried out. The goal was to learn how communication in such a delicate topic is being handled. Also, surveys were distributed in Spain and Portugal in order to assess the public perception and knowledge on invasive species.

All reports from previous years can also be downloaded in the library, please follow this link.

EUROPARC @ ETIS Conference, European Comission

© European Comission

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On 28th January, European leading experts in sustainable tourism will be together for full-day conference on “Managing and Promoting Sustainable and Accessible Tourism Destinations – ETIS and Accessible Tourism Conference”, organised by the European Commission. Ignace Schops, EUROPARC Federation President, will representing Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas, with a presentation about the Charter, along with other relevant keynote speakers coming from UNWTO (World Tourism Organization), the European Network for Accessible Tourism and DG GROW.

Since 1993, the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECST) has been supporting protected areas in defining and implementing a sustainable tourism strategy. Over 140 areas in 17 countries are following the Charter principles, bringing benefits for nature, society and local economy.

20 years later, the European Commission launched the European Tourism Indicator System (ETIS), in order to assess destinations on their sustainability and accessibility performance. Over 200 destinations have been engaged on voluntary basis, testing ETIS between 2013 and 2014. Best practice examples and results will be shared in conference on the 28th January.  The conference will also provide an occasion to hear first-hand accounts on the ETIS assessment from the destinations involved, including representatives from Spain, the Netherlands, France, Montenegro, United Kingdom, Slovenia and the Bulgarian Danube Region, as well as from the Italian urban destination network of Rome, Milano, Florence and Venice.

The agenda and other useful information are available at https://etis-jointconference2016.teamwork.fr/, registrations are mandatory and can be done here.