Climate change, nature recovery and collaboration on the agenda of AONB’s Annual Conference

Credit: Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation

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On July 11th, EUROPARC was warmly welcomed by the National Association for Areas of Outstanding National Beauty during the AONB’s Annual Conference: Landscapes for Life, in Colchester, United Kingdom.  EUROPARC was invited to facilitate a workshop and present the work done in the LIFE Natur’Adapt project on climate change and protected area management. It was a collaboration opportunity that the EUROPARC Federation was more than happy to seize.

Landscapes for Life and climate change adaption

EUROPARC project manager, Olivier de Sadeleer, presented the preliminary results of the LIFE Natur’Adapt survey. This survey helped defining the baseline of the Natur’Adapt project, which is a 5-year experiment aiming at integrating climate change into protected area management practices as a collective process. It was well received by AONB managers as they could take inspiration from what was being done in terms of climate change adaptation across Europe. The discussion also highlighted the potential benefits of developing a climate change adaptation approach for protected areas and nature.

On top of sharing the first results of the LIFE Natur’Adapt project, attending this conference was an opportunity for EUROPARC to learn more about AONB Network’s work and ambitions. Through a number of discussions and exchanges with participants, keynote speeches and the collaborative drafting of the Colchester Declaration, we could feel the energy and willingness that is shared by the EUROPARC Federation, to move forward boldly to tackle the global challenges underlying species mass extinction and climate change. 

The UK Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are exactly what it says they are: outstanding landscapes whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so precious that it is safeguarded in the national interest. Credits: Costwolds AONB, photo by the Countryside Agency ©Nick Turner

Thoughts from AONB’s Annual Conference 2019

Among others, Nigel Dudley, Co-Founder of Equilibrium Research reminded us of the importance of integrating and publicising protected area’s contribution to meeting the objectives of international agreements such as United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification or the Paris Agreement. 

Jules Pretty, Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Essex shared enthusiastically the latest results of his research, which measured the concrete benefits that nature and protected areas have on people’s health. 

Craig Bennett, Chief Executive Officer at Friends of the Earth added

conservation professionals need to step up in the fight against climate change – as nature loss and climate change are actually two symptoms of the same global systemic crisis.

EUROPARC was honoured to witness and give its contribution to this collaborative effort. This chance to support the development of pan-european exchanges and potential future collaborations for area-based conservation was very energising.

As Howard Davies, Chief Executive Officer of NAAONB puts it: “Now is the time to harness our collaborative skills and knowledge and our technical understanding of landscape, our power to convene, and our ambition to deliver. This conference and the coming Colchester Declaration are major milestones to accelerate nature conservation and recovery in the UK and in Europe”.

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