LIFE – Project Kick-off & 1st Technical meeting

Life Project Kick-off & 1st Technical meeting - Brussels, 25 to 26 June 2018

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LIFE – Project Kick-off meeting

At the end of June, EUROPARC hosted the first meetings for our new LIFE Preparatory project, Supporting e-learning and capacity building for Natura 2000 Managers. Over four days, 14 representatives from the project partners plus four external experts gathered in Brussels for back-to-back project kick-off and technical meetings.

This innovative three-year project explores potential new approaches and learning methods to improve knowledge and build capacity amongst Natura 2000 Managers in both public and private land, across the EU. Taking a competence-based approach, the project enables peers to connect and learn about what Natura 2000 managers need to know and be able to do.

Building Competence

Working with the IUCN Global Register of Competencies for Protected Area Practitioners, a range of functions were identified requiring specific competencies for Natura 2000 management – these include,

  • management planning,
  • conservation team coordination,
  • biodiversity monitoring and reporting,
  • community engagement,
  • stakeholder communication,
  • implementing conservation measures,
  • site and visitor protection methods.

Indicatively, the competence topics that will receive specific attention within the project include: awareness and education; communication and collaboration; and, communities and cultures. Attention will also be given to development of personal competencies as a grounding for partnership building, as well as communication outreach/ public relations as common competences required for effective Natura 2000 management.

Tools will be developed to provide practical learning about effective ways to engage and work with local communities, working models to build partnerships and disseminate information about and for Natura 2000.

Analysing Training needs

The project will analyse a core group of 60 individuals‘ training needs in such competence areas and make available new ways to access information about the multiple skills required for Natura 2000 management and policy implementation. We will be inviting applications before the end of the year from a range of individuals keen to improve their Natura 2000 management knowledge and practical skills.

Additionally, though, we will look to engage a wider group of 500 people as active project participants. This group will be able to try and test the project’s capacity building tools and flexible learning methods. All participants will provide feedback, which will help us to evaluate what works and what doesn’t, whilst they also gain insights useful for their work in relation to Natura 2000. As such, there will be ample opportunities for EUROPARC members to get involved with the project!

In particular, at this early stage of the project, we are keen to know about your e-learning preferences. Over the coming months, we will be asking for your ideas and insights – for example: Have you participated in a webinar? Did you find it useful or not – why? What types of digital tools are you familiar with using? How do you think these be can be used to provide training and learning? Most importantly, would you use them!?

We look forward to e-learning together! Please regularly visit the LIFE section of the EUROPARC website for more information.

The project is led by The EUROPARC Federation with the support of six partners: ProPark Foundation for Protected Areas, Fundación interuniversitaria Fernando González Bernáldez para los espacios naturales (FUNGOBE), University of Padova, Dept Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (TESAF), the European Landowners Organization, Rangers Campus and the Kullaberg Nature Reserve.

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 or

Access here the digital toolkit (available in Spanish)

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. 🙂