EUROPARC Spain: new President and Council elected today

(left to right) Eulàlia Comas Lamarca, Treasurer; Rafael Mata Olmo, President; Amaia Barredo Martín, Vice-president, at EUROPARC Spain General Assembly 2017

Published on:

Rafael Mata Olmo is the new President of EUROPARC Spain

Download here the Spanish press release

Today, members of EUROPARC Spain gathered in Madrid for the General Assembly, to vote for the new Council. Rafael Mata Olmo, a recognised expert in Protected Areas, was elected President of the Council, becoming the 7th elected President since the foundation of EUROPARC Spain, in 1993.

Rafael Mata Olmo will now replace Carles Castell, who have led the Council for the past 4 years.

The Council members elected today were:

  • Mr. Rafael Mata Olmo, President. Geography Professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid
  • Mrs. Amaia Barredo Martín, Vice-president. Environment and Urbanism Director at Álava’s Provincial Council.
  • Mrs. Eulàlia Comas Lamarca, Treasurer and Secretary. Technician at the Directorate-General on Environmental Policy at the Regional Government of Catalunya.
  • Mr. José Ángel Arranz Sanz, vocal. Director General of Environment at Junta de Castilla y León.
  • Mr. Francisco Javier Madrid Rojo, vocal. Director General of  Environment and Protected Areas at Junta de Andalucía.
  • Mr. Aitor Zulueta Tellería, vocal. Director of Environment and Land planning at the Basque Government.
  • Mr. Basilio Rada Martínez, vocal. Director of the National Parks  Administration at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing, Food and Environment.
  • Mr. Antonio López Lillo, vocal. President of Honor of EUROPARC-España.
  • Marta Múgica de la Guerra, vocal. Director of the “Fundación Fernando González Bernáldez” and Coordinator of EUROPARC Spain.

About Rafael Mata Olmo

Professor of Regional Geographic Analysis at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Rafael Mata is a specialist in the study of rural systems and landscapes and in land planning, landscape and nature conservation policies in Spain and Latin America. He has been the President of the Association of Spanish Geographers and the Spanish Committee of the International Geographical Union (2005-2009), and editor and promoter of the manifesto “Por una nueva cultura del territorio” (“For a new territory culture”).

He has collaborated with numerous public administrations in the elaboration of territorial planning plans, landscape guidelines and urban planning proposals (in Andalusia, Cantabria, Canarias, Extremadura, Madrid, Mallorca, Menorca, Murcia, Basque Country, Valencia). Mr. Olmo has collaborated with EUROPARC Spain in the framework of its first Action Plan and in the Monograph on “integration of protected natural spaces in land management”. He has developed research projects and directed doctoral thesis in protected areas of Paraguay, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia.

Past, Present, Future

During the General Assembly, a great focus was given to the programme “Society and Protected Areas 2020”, which consists in the creation of strategic partnerships to promote social benefits arising from nature conservation. The Strategic Plan of the Programme was introduced to EUROPARC Spain members: it identifies the present and future needs based on more than 20 years of experience, and the highlights the changes that are envisaged in the medium-term.

Rafael Mata Olmo highlighted the need to intensify efforts in the approach and collaborative work with all entities and groups involved in protected areas,

and added that the emphasis should be on “showing and enhancing the multiple benefits that protected areas provide to society.”

The priority lines of the Society and Protected Areas Programme are:

  • Integration of protected areas in the territory
  • Ecosystem services for human well-being
  • Transfer of scientific knowledge to PA management
  • Strategic communication to increase social and political support
  • Diversification of governance models
  • Diversification of financing models
  • Harmonisation of sectoral policies
  • Global responsibility and international cooperation

General Assembly – EUROPARC Spain 2017

Members have also approved the main activities for 2017, which include:

LIFE RedBosques. Knowledge and training networks for the effective management of Mediterranean forest habitats of the Natura 2000 Network in Spain, in which the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Center for Ecological Research and Forest Applications (CREAF) and the Catalunya-La Pedrera Foundation are partnering.
Integration of adaptation to climate change in the planning and management of protected areas in Spain, supported by the Spanish Office of Climate Change.
European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas, an initiative in which 44 protected natural areas and more than 400 tourist companies are involved, and which is also being joined by travel agencies.

2017 is a special year for elections: EUROPARC Federation will also have their members voting for the election of Council and President. EUROPARC General Assembly 2017 will take place in Portugal, on the 6th September at EUROPARC Conference 2017.