A new virus called solidarity 2.0.

Solidarity Covid-19 by Pixabay

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At this difficult time both in our European society and on the global stage, President Ignace Schops reminds us of the principles that also went into the creation of EUROPARC. We may be physically “isolated” right now, but remain “metaphysically” united without “borders”. Stay calm. Stay safe. Stay healthy everyone, till we can meet again!

This week, the coronavirus outbreak has been labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Since the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan in China a few months ago, the world looks and behaves differently. In order to suppress and control the virus, politicians are making decisions based on scientific advice and the efforts are unprecedented. Besides the deadly victims we try to prevent, the society – we – understand the situation and we acknowledge the fact that we need to adapt our behavior for the time being.

In times of life-threatening crisis, the world leaders request us to transform to solidarity-modus and responsible citizen sense. Is it? How cooperative are we really?

The rapid loss of natural ecosystems will cause more deaths than the coronavirus. The dangerous effects of climate change, like heat waves, hurricanes, flooding’s, etc. will cause more deaths.

Even if we are aware and even if we have 99.9% of scientific evidence that if we ignore or fail to take urgent transformative changes, the global society will collapse.

What are the reasons for this bizarre human behavior? How come we take immediate action to limit the spread of the coronavirus and keep on kicking the can down the road when it comes to the loss of our natural ecosystems and climate change? Well, it is the threat of the direct impact of the coronavirus versus the indirect life-threatening impact of biodiversity loss and climate change.

The latter are silent assassins: silent, odorless and invisible. But make no mistake. The symptoms are similar to how a virus behaves: quickly and with serious consequences.

Solidarity was for many decades the magic model that made the world community prosper.

Our health care sector, education sector, are based on the solidarity-system we jointly build. Where a small or minor share or investment of the majority, supports the affected part of the minority. And yet, the belief of the strength of this model is shrinking rapidly.

It’s time to reconsider and reinforce the Solidarity model because it proved its success, even in times of depression and huge struggles. Name it “Solidarity 2.0.” if you wish. A model where we strife to have equal comfort for all.

Quality of life for all, within the limits of our planetary boundaries, and socially just.

Maybe “Solidarity 2.0.” is the way forward and can quickly spread as a new virus. A virus that makes us healthy again!

Ignace Schops, President of the EUROPARC Federation, March 2020.

Ignace Schops © Don MacMonagle

The Bavarian Forest National Park organises an international Youth+ Camp

International Youth+ Camp 2019

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From 11th to 16th May 2020, an international Youth+ Camp will take place in the Bavarian Forest National Park. Junior Rangers from all over Europe are invited to join the event, organised in cooperation with the European Ranger Federation. Participants will enjoy an exciting programme, which includes the amazing opportunity to attend the 5th European Ranger Congress.

From the 11th to 16th May 2020, an international Youth+ Camp will take place in the Bavarian Forest National Park, at the South-East of Germany. This National Park will welcome Junior Rangers from all over Europe, who will even be joined by their peers from Maun in Botswana.

These five days will give young persons – having different national, cultural, and social backgrounds – the opportunity to meet in an amazing setting, to share their experiences and to learn from each other.

This international Camp aims at giving them plenty of room to discuss their ideas about the Junior Ranger and Youth+ projects in Europe, in order to keep improving them, and to reach expectations of both Junior Rangers and professionals of Protected Areas management.

The idea is also to offer young people to participate in a lot of interesting activities related to nature conservation and Protected Areas in Europe, but also to let them explore a newly emerging forest wilderness and have fun together.

bioenergy, biomass, bioeconomy, circular economy, protected areas, bioeuparks, europarc, bioenergy,

Forest © Stefan Stefancik

Thus, the Bavarian Forest National Park elaborated a compelling five-day programme, which provides for a lot of outdoor activities and workshops, with for example a workshop dedicated to: “How can Youth+ activities be integrated into the everyday life of rangers in the best possible way? Requirements – best practices – recommendations“.

Moreover, the International Junior Ranger Camp runs along the 5th European Ranger Congress, and Junior Rangers will get the amazing opportunity to join in some of their sessions.

Participants are also foreseen to meet Ms. Laura Peters, Youth Representative on the EUROPARC Council.

You can now register!

European Junior Rangers and Youth+, aged 16 and over, can now register for this event! If you are interested and want to take part in this great event, you only need to fill in a form and to send it back to the Bavarian Forest national Park!

Registration Form International Youth+ Camp 2020

Good to know: participants do not have to pay for accommodation or meals, the Bavarian Forest National Park takes care of it.

European Commission launches global coalition for biodiversity

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On the occasion of the World Wildlife Day (3 March 2020), the European Commission launched a new global coalition for biodiversity conservation in Monaco. The Commission is calling on all world national parks, aquariums, botanic gardens, zoos, science and natural history museums to join forces and boost public awareness about the nature crisis, ahead of the crucial CoP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming (China) in October 2020. During CoP15, the 196 Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity are expected to adopt a new global framework to protect and restore nature, as much-needed as the Paris Agreement focusing on the climate crisis.

It is crucial that all of us learn just how real the nature crisis has become. We urgently need to take global action to protect and restore biodiversity.

said the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginius Sinkevičius, adding: “Otherwise much of the nature we love, and depend on for our food, health, and economy, is in danger of disappearing forever. Like me and my family, millions of people visit natural history museums, botanic gardens, national parks and similar institutions every day. With their collections, education and conservation programmes, they are the best ambassadors to raise public awareness about the crisis looming over all of us, if we do not act now. If our only chance of seeing a species is in these institutions, then we will all have failed.”

What can Protected Areas do?

World protected areas, aquariums, botanic gardens, zoos, science and natural history museums are being asked to now intensify their communication actions about biodiversity. This means displaying a common message at their entrance, but also engaging in educational and other activities related to the protection and restoration of biodiversity in all its forms. Welcomed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), this new bigger coalition will be organized by the European Commission.

Common message to be displayed

The Commission also encourages national, regional and local authorities, non-governmental organisations, businesses, scientists and individual citizens to play their part in raising awareness ahead of the UN Biodiversity Summit.  Following the Summit, the focus of the coalition will be on coordinated actions with tangible impact aimed at bending the curve of biodiversity loss.

This new coalition will complement the highly successful coalition of “World aquariums #ReadyToChange to #BeatPlasticPollution” launched in 2017, which gathered more than 200 aquariums in 41 countries to raise global awareness about marine litter.

Thus, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco hosted the ceremony, to mark both this launch and the handover of direction of the Aquariums coalition from the European Commission to UNEP under the Clean Seas campaign.

The event took place with the active participation of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, and Inger Andersen, United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director. During the ceremony, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco announced that the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco will be the first to officially pledge its support for the new coalition “United for #Biodiversity”.

International Junior Ranger Camp 2020: Registrations are open!

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Life in the Taiga: Junior Rangers meet the Northern Forest

  • 5-11 July 2020
  • Norway, Finnskogen Nature & Culture Park

The 2020 JR camp will take place in Norway from the 5th to the 11 of July. It will be hosted by the Finnskogen Nature & Culture Park and is being organised with the support of the Norwegian Parks Association.

This year we will be looking at Forest. The Finnskogen region and regional park is where the northern “green scarf of the world” begins: the Taiga. We will discover how people live in this region and how they interact with the Taiga. We will learn more about parks in Norway and the role and function of the Finnskogen park; we will have a full immersion in local cultural traditions, do practical work for nature, go fishing and canoeing… and for sure we will have good fun all together.

Update 24.03.2020

We are very sad to announce that because of the current Corona crisis, the Junior Ranger Camp will not take place in July this year. This was a very hard decision, not just for us at EUROPARC, but especially for the host, the Finnskogen Nature & Culture Park in Norway, who looked forward to welcoming all young nature enthusiasts. However, we agreed that cancelling is the safest and only option at this time. Together with the Finsskogen Nature & Culture Park we will look for possibilities to organise the Junior Ranger Camp in the future, once this crisis has passed. As always, we will update you through our webpage and social media channels.

For more information, please write to communications@europarc.org.