30 years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Transboundary Parks Declaration

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The Berlin Wall fell on the 9th November 1989. On the 30th anniversary, the European Transboundary Parks published a declaration highlighting the need to cooperate across frontiers.

Nature has no Borders

The EUROPARC’s network is characterised by  making Protected Areas close to each other. They are however still separated by borders – virtual administrative, political and cultural walls – even in a now open Europe.

Since its birth, EUROPARC’s Transboundary Parks Programme, has embodied the spirit of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, on the basis of our day to day experience collaborating in the management of a shared biodiversity despite our political borders.

The experience of our history, our knowledge and values, led us to create a movement of active people, concretely co-operating and building projects to overcome barriers through the EUROPARC Transboundary Parks Programme: a true European project.

TransParcNet Meeting 2018. Author: D. Freudl

The inspiration derived from the Fall of the Wall is particularly evident given that most of our protected areas are located on the former Iron Curtain (now European Green Belt). Just looking at a map of Europe makes this very clear.

As equally evident is the energy and the will that the people involved in the Transboundary Programme put into the cooperation activities every day, driven by the pleasure of working together in once, long-time divided territories.

Commitment for peace, dialogue and nature protection

For these reasons and on this occasion we strongly declare our commitment for peace, dialogue and nature protection and our availability to support, in the frame of our institutional goals and skills, any initiative aimed at fostering cooperation between European states within and beyond the European Union.

Europe is a complex continent with thousands of years of human interaction overlaying the natural world. The most obvious manifestations of that history are the many political borders that abound, and indeed change over time.

Award Ceremony at EUROPARC Conference 2019 – Welcome to the new Transboundary Park! Binntal – Veglia Devero Nature Park

Nature however, never recognizes these artefacts of human civilisation and our Protected Areas represent what is most special across our small, marvellous and populated continent and constitute a “shared European inheritance” of nature protection.

Yet in places borders create artificial barriers to the management of these valuable natural resources. The places where Protected Areas share a common political boundary bring these management issues into sharp focus and need special consideration.

The EUROPARC Transboundary “Following Natures Design” Programme seeks to support a process of mutual understanding, often between countries where history may have created mutual distrust, or administrative barriers and develop management tools to enable greater cooperative management.

Political borders create artificial barriers to the management of the valuable natural resources.

The Protected Areas awarded with the EUROPARC Transboundary Program Certificate compose the TransParcNet, an innovative platform for safeguarding cross-border biodiversity, ecosystem services and cultural landscapes, as well as inspiring and encouraging people for better understanding of the importance of transboundary cooperation.

Download the Declaration and discover our Transboundary Areas.

Moreover, we would like to invite you and your networks to share your own memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall, by uploading a testimonial on the “My House of European History” platform. My House of European History aims to be a virtual library of testimonials and stories from people across Europe, and many nice uploads of people sharing their memories of the fall of the wall already feature.