Implementing the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto across Europe

Photo: Alan Smith (Cairngorms National Park); Seed and germ: Samantha Biebl (Bavarian Forest National Park)

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The seeds were sown – Initiatives are growing

Enthusiasm about the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto remains unbroken. The young ambassadors calling for change in Rural Communities and Protected Areas keep receiving invitations to present the Manifesto at conferences, to share it in board meetings of their parks, to hand it over to local politicians and to discuss it with peers in schools. Besides, first commitments to implement the Manifesto – in parts or fully – are made by parks!

EUROPARC Youth Manifesto ambassadors Ethan Tizzard, Cat Edwards, Matthew Boal from Pembrokeshire National Park (UK) are presenting the Manifesto to school pupils © Tom Moses, Discovery Ranger at Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority

High time for a quick overview of what is happening with the Manifesto all over Europe…

… Yorkshire Dales National Park, UK

Inspired by the first Youth Manifesto planning workshop this May, project participants Katy Foxford (communications apprentice with Yorkshire Dales National Park, YDNP) and Ian Colledge (Ranger at YDNP) initiated the set up of a Youth Forum – a first implementing action of the Manifesto before it was even released. Now, 7 months later, YDNP Authority has formally and fully committed itself to listening to young people – giving them a chance to take the lead: Katy and Ian had presented the Youth Manifesto to the National Park Authority and highlighted actions they could take to further connect with local schools and youth clubs, and to bring young people’s ideas to decision makers. Katy Foxford stressed:  “The manifesto is an urgent call to action. Here in the Yorkshire Dales National Park there is a declining population of the younger generation. Yet we need young people to live and work here to create sustainable communities for the future. For that to happen, we need to make sure these rural areas are places of opportunity for young people. This is where the importance of the Youth Manifesto comes in. It sets out potential solutions to the multitude of problems young people face.”

Afterwards members voted unanimously to fully adopt the Europarc Youth Manifesto over the upcoming months.T he Authority’s Deputy Chairman, Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong, told the meeting:  “I think this is great. We all talk about how we want to involve young people, and how we care about the next generation and want to attract young people to the area, but we don’t have any mechanism for getting the information and opinions from young people to us.” The Authority’s Chief Executive, David Butterworth, said:  “Getting the voice of young people heard in rural areas remains a real challenge but the adoption of the Youth Manifesto today is a step in the right direction. It is pleasing to see the ideas around better connecting communities to their environment and future sustainability. The challenge for older generations is to help make this happen or get out of the way to allow others to deliver a better future.”

The YDNP is the first Protected Area committing  officially to fully adopt the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto – a bold and inspirational example to learn from. We will keep you posted about the experiences of Yorkshire Dales NP staff and community implementing change! Read on: Article by Yorkshire Dales NP

… Julian Prealps Nature Park, Italy

EUROPARC Youth Manifesto project participant and active Youth+ member, Leonardo Cerno from the Julian Prealps Nature Park, was invited to speak at the conference of “Federparchi” – the Italian EUROPARC section. He shared the Youth Manifesto with delegates and asked them to take the Manifesto home as an inspiration and practical tool to engage with their local youth. To encourage delegates with concrete ideas, Leonardo presented the example of the Youth Advisory Board he just set up this summer with peers in his park. They plan to engage closely in transboundary activities and projects with young people from Triglav National Park and the Bavarian Forest National Park. Besides Leonardo was invited to speak at the conference “Young Ideas for the Alps! GaYA Conference on Youth Participation and Governance” in France this November.

… Cairngorms National Park, UK

Chris Faulk, Bob Cairns and Jackson Ratcliffe presented the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto at Cairngorms Business Partnership Conference, November 2018

The area of Cairngorms National Park – the park where the Youth Manifesto was partly written and launched during EUROPARC Conference 2018 – has some very active ambassadors around. In October, Chris Faulk, Jackson Ratcliffe and Bob Cain presented the Manifesto at the annual Cairngorms Business Partnership Conference, this year all about “Inspiring young people to build a future in the National Park”. Following this, they were invited to give an interview for ‘Out and About’, a weekly program about community projects by the local “SpeySound Radio”. Jackson and Bob did a fantastic job sharing how the Manifesto came together, reporting what ambassadors are working on across Europe to help parks and communities implement it. They called on all listeners of the show to follow the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto website and Facebook page to keep up to date with activities – or to take action themselves!

…Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, UK

Youth Manifesto ambassador Luke Vogan had the opportunity to present the manifesto to Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. He discussed the issues mapped out in the Manifesto with staff and the newly established Youth Committee – “a great bunch of young people, very eager, very inspirational!”, as Luke found. He hopes to have sparked some ideas and is looking forward to see the difference they’ll make in their Park with the Manifesto as an inspiration for change.

…Youth LEADER project “Nuoriso”, Finland

Representatives of the youth branch of the Finish Leader programme “Nuoriso” presented the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto at their national meeting of rural development organizations. They received great feedback and have meanwhile produced a Finish version of the Manifesto to make it more accessible to local decision-makers and communities.

…Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, UK

Youth Rangers and Manifesto ambassadors Ethan Tizzard, Cat Edwards and Matthew Boal have presented the Manifesto to 6th formers in the biggest school in Pembrokeshire this October. Soon after they had the opportunity to introduce the Manifesto to Pembrokeshire National Park Committee and even reached an agreement on creating a working group to identify and prioritise possible actions moving forward. The statement from the YRs: “We presented the Youth Manifesto to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority committee at the National Park headquarters in Pembroke Dock. We were really nervous but managed to do a really great job! The Committee congratulated us on the Manifesto and our presentation, but we were after something a little more concrete to help move things forward. The Authority agreed to create a working group (some Authority Members and us) to come together, identify and prioritise more ideas for future discussions with the board (which is what we wanted!) Woop Woop!” 

…Weerribben-Wieden National Park, Netherlands

Last week, the Europarc Youth Manifesto was handed over to Carola Schouten, Dutch Minister of Agriculture and Nature. Well done to the young ambassadors who represented three programme initiatives championing young people at once: The Youth Manifesto, EUROPARC Youth+ and the EUROPARC Junior Rangers (Weerribben-Wieden, Dutch JR programme). The Dutch version of the Manifesto has also just been launched and is now available for download.

…EU European Commission, Brussels

by Corentin Béchade – own image,

The EUROPARC Youth Manifesto also aroused some interest at EU level: In the beginning of this month, EUROPARC Youth Representative Laura Peters, on behalf of the youth from across Europe, presented the Manifesto to Humberto Delgado Rosa, Director for Natural Capital at the EU Commission Directorate General for the Environment. Having read the call for change, he assured:

You can be sure that we will take the Manifesto into account, it will be on our mind for our policies – because, what are we doing here, if not preparing better futures for our younger generations.


These are just some of the many first examples for the tireless – and increasingly successful – efforts the young ambassadors are taking to promote the implementation of the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto. Make sure you follow the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto Project on Social Media and check the Youth Manifesto Website & EUROPARC news page regularly to keep up to date!

If you are interested and have an idea to implement the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto in your Protected Area and/or community – do get in touch via