EUROPARC Transboundary Programme at the European Week of Regions & Cities 2017
Organised every year by the European Committee of the Regions to promote initiatives of local and regional authorities in Europe, the European Week of Regions and Cities 2017 is taking place from 9 to 12 October in Brussels.
In the framework of the event, during the workshop Nature protection in cross-border areas, EUROPARC President Ignace Schops, illustrated the EUROPARC Transboundary Parks Programme and the TransParcNet, EUROPARC network of parks working across borders. Ignace shared good practices from the network, referring them as inspiration for Parks and Natura 2000 managers to better manage the challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change, as well as tourism, agriculture and local economy. Currently, the TransParcNet includes 10 transboundary areas, involving 23 protected areas in 13 countries.
Among the speakers, also Mr Robert Stejskal, from the Podyji National Park (CZ) presented the cross-border cooperation with the Thayatal National Park in Austria, one of the TransParcNet members that have been cooperating since 2007. Read more about their cooperation here.
EU tools to promote cross-border cooperation
Mr Andrè van de Nadort, on behalf of Mr Roby Biwer (Rapporteur for the fitness check on the Nature Directives from the Committee of Regions) and of Mr Nicola Notaro from the European Commission emphasised the importance for Europe to reinforce the “cross-border cooperation between neighbouring national or regional authorities in managing Natura 2000 sites which cover habitats that stretch across borders, or species which simply ignore borders.” For the EU representatives,
Cross-border cooperation becomes even more relevant if the conservation status of habitats and species on one side of a border depends on action taken on the other side of the border – just think of downstream river species and habitats.
During the workshop, EU instruments and tools that can help cross-border cooperation here mentioned, such as INTERREG and LIFE programmes and the European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) – that allows public entities from different Member States to come together under a new entity with a full legal personality. Indeed, EUROPARC members Alpi Marittime Regional Park (IT) and Mercantour National Park (FR) are using this tool.
In the final remarks the EU representatives mentioned that the workshop has shown that cross-border nature protection can be a success, and is moreover crucial for the protection of many cross-border Natura 2000 sites and migrating species protected under the Nature Directives.
About the EU Week of Regions & Cities 2017
The European Week of Regions and Cities is an annual Brussels-based four-day event during which officials from regions and cities’ administrations, as well as experts and academics, can exchange good practices and know-how in the field of regional and urban development. It is also an acknowledged platform for political communication in relation to the development of EU Cohesion Policy, raising the awareness of decision-makers about the fact that regions and cities matter in EU policy-making. The European Week of Regions and Cities is the biggest European public event of its kind.