Launch of the Healthy Parks Healthy People Programme Europe

Published on:

The Healthy Parks Healthy People Europe Programme is developed by the EUROPARC Federation and built on the innovative practise gathered by the Health and Protected Areas commission over several years.

Health is on everyone’s mind right now, but the connection between health and nature tends to gets overlooked. This is why EUROPARC is now launching the new Healthy Parks, Healthy People Programme Europe.

As the largest network of Protected Areas in Europe, EUROPARC wants to improve cooperation, the exchange of ideas and experience and the development of better policy and practice. Our vision is for “sustainable nature, valued by people”, and we see the sustainable nature of Europe’s parks and protected areas as a key asset for health and well-being. To help realise this vision, the Jūrmala Communiqué agreed by the EUROPARC Federation in Latvia 2019, calls for the Federation to create a Healthy Parks, Healthy People Europe Programme (HPHPe).

We want happier and healthier people, connected to nature-rich parks and protected areas

Simultaneously, Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius from DG environment, has recently stated that : “Nature brings us wide range of benefits. It provides us with food, medicines, business opportunities, and at the same time it is our natural shield from air, water and noise pollution. Access to nature is also essential for health. During the Covid-19 lockdowns across Europe, we had a chance to realise how important green areas are for our mental and physical well-being. To build a healthier and more resilient society we thus need to value our nature protected areas and invest more into green infrastructures, including in urban areas and public spaces. This is one of the aims of the 2030 EU Biodiversity Strategy”.

Healthy Parks Healthy People

Positive contact with nature is essential for human health and well-being, this has been supported by a range of scientific evidence. Parks and Protected Areas play a vital role in connecting people to nature and thus supporting public health. The Healthy Parks, Healthy People Programme Europe wants to highlight the importance of green health. Today it launches with its very first webinar.

The programme aims to maximise the contribution of Europe’s parks and protected areas to key policy priorities on:

  • Improving public health and well-being for all and reducing health inequalities
  • Protecting, restoring and investing in biodiversity
  • Responding to the climate emergency

Additionally, the programme wants

  • more of Europe’s parks and protected areas providing well managed, accessible facilities and engaging target groups in health-promoting activities.
  • more policy, practice and partnership working to maximise the potential of Europe’s parks and protected areas as key assets for improving public health and well-being and reducing health inequalities.
  • more people from all backgrounds enjoying the health benefits of connecting with nature and supporting the case for better protection, restoration and further investment in Europe’s parks and protected areas.

To find out everything you need to know about the HPHPe programme and join the initiative, check out the programme page here.

Download the programme brochure