Group of Specialists on European Diploma for Protected Areas annual meeting

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What is the European Diploma for Protected Areas

The European Diploma for Protected Areas is a prestigious international award granted since 1965 by the Committee of Ministers (Foreign Ministers of each Member State) of the Council of Europe. It recognises natural and semi-natural areas and landscapes of exceptional European importance for the preservation of biological, geological and landscape diversity, which are managed in an exemplary way.

About the meetings and the role of EUROPARC Federation

The Group of Specialists on the European Diploma for Protected Areas annual meeting took place from 20 to 21 February 2024 in Strasbourg and was attended by EUROPARC Federation’s Executive Director.

Our Executive Director Carol Ritchie is a member of the Group of Specialists on the European Diploma for Protected Areas, the body that advises the Committee of Ministers, whether an area in question is of exceptional European interest.

2024 Annual Meeting CoE EDPAs

At the meeting, the Group discussed the consequences of the cessation of the membership of the Russian Federation to the Council of Europe and of the freeze of the technical cooperation with Belarus.

There was also the opportunity to reflect how the monitoring of the European Diploma can contribute to the achievement of the Strategic Plan of the Bern Convention and to examine the findings of on-the-spot appraisal visits to seven Protected Areas.  Lastly, discussion revolved on the several sites requiring particular attention, and planning the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the European Diploma in 2025.

It was great to see EUROPARC members both in the Group of Specialists and amongst the 66 Diploma sites across Europe (after the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian sites) .

It was especially heartening to see and hear the presentation from Sierra Nevada National Park, Spain, as it made its new application for the Diploma. It is an award that not only looks at the assets of a site but at how they are managed and has high political significance and visibility.

Looking forward to the 60th anniversary

EUROPARC would encourage members across Europe to consider making such an application, especially as the Diploma reaches its 60th anniversary next year. It would be an ideal time to shine a spotlight on the great work being done by Protected Areas to protect our nature in all it is glorious diversity.

For more information

European Diploma holding areas

The EU Parliament adopted the Nature Restoration Regulation

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An historic decision from the European Parliament

After a long process started in 2020 with the approval of the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the Commission’s proposal for a Nature Restoration Law presented in June 2022, the EU Parliament formally adopted the trilogue agreement on the proposed new EU Regulation on the 27th of February.

EUROPARC welcomes the decision of the EU Parliament. Michael Hošek  – EUROPARC President stated:

 It is an extraordinary commitment that comes at the right time to put back nature at the core of EU political agenda.

Nature restoration, to be implemented at scale across Europe, will require massive investments over the coming decades: an estimate of €8.2 billion, according to IIEP report.

The EU Nature Restoration Law, aims to restore degraded ecosystems in all member states, with a target to restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. Member states will also have to adopt national restoration plans detailing how they intend to achieve these targets.

Role of Protected Areas

We anticipate a crucial role will be played by Protected Areas across the EU, as priority for restoration will be given to Natura 2000 sites until 2030.

We also expect Protected Areas to inspire processes for restoration planning and implementation in wider landscapes.

For this EUROPARC will continue to develop tools, methods and explore opportunities to support restoration planning and implementation within Protected Areas, in particular through capacity building and the development of innovative financing methods.

Next steps

The final step in the legislative process is for the agreement to receive the formal approval of Member States, which is expected to take place in March or April this year.

For more information:

To the EC official page To the #RESTORENATURE campaign website Text of the adopted Nature Restoration Regulation

European Day of Parks 2024: Vote for Nature!

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Every year, on the 24th of May, EUROPARC organises the European Day of Parks (EDoP). It’s a day for Parks and Protected Areas to celebrate across Europe and welcome people into these beautiful places. This year, we ask you to “Vote for Nature”!

European Day of Parks 2024: Vote for Nature

Nature is important to us all.

The official EDoP 2024 banner!

It’s therefore essential, to raise our voices, concerns and take action to secure a healthy future for people and nature.

We can show our support and concerns for nature in many ways, by influencing decisions that are made. However, in 2024, European citizens get to vote on a new European Parliament. A significant event for the future of the European Union – and beyond.

So, whether you are voting in the European elections this year, or any upcoming national or regional elections, or if you just need to influence better decisions for your Park and Protected Area – it’s time to “Vote for Nature”!

In this year’s European Day of Parks, the EUROPARC Federation wants to highlight just how essential our Protected Areas are for the development and implementation of nature policies & their central role in ensuring a sustainable and resilient society for European citizens to live, work and enjoy. Let us all #VoteForNature and give some well deserved support to our natural heritage.

Europe’s Parks and Protected Areas bring policy decisions to life!

Protected Areas are builders of bridges. These places have the ability to connect international policy decisions and agreements with local communities. Furthermore, they are essential not just for the successful execution of these policies, but also help shape wide-spread acceptance amongst citizens.

However, the benefits Parks & Protected Areas bring go far beyond the execution of global, national or even regional nature policies. These places safeguard some of the most spectacular nature in Europe. Every day, they provide us with fresh water, clean air and places to unwind, whilst fostering sustainable regional development.

That is why, on and around the 24th of May, we invite you to organise events that showcase exactly that!

Register your event!

Need some inspiration?

As always, we’ve created extensive guidelines to help Parks and Protected Areas get started:

Get the guidelines here!

The official “Vote for Nature” banner is available in different formats and languages as well. You can download it here:

Download the banner in your language

Is your language not yet there? Do you require it in a different format? Then don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Write us an email with the correct translation and we will be happy to create it for you. You can also request the byline “Bring policy decisions to live”.

Lets make some noise…

Raise your voice on social media!

The European Day of Parks is all about getting people out into nature and promoting Europe’s Protected Areas. However, we cannot underestimate the power of social media. That is why this year we ask you to ‘make some noise’ on social media on the 24th of May. Put the “Vote for Nature” European Day of Parks logo on a picture of your Park and post on social media with #VoteForNature. Take the opportunity to highlight why your Park or Protected Area deserves all the (political) support it can get!

Be sure to tag the EUROPARC Federation on Facebook & X @EUROPARC; Instagram @EUROPARC_Federation; LinkedIn @EUROPARC Federation when you post!

A special social media pack with sample messages, as well as the stand-alone logo, will be shared one month before the European Day of Parks.

We look forward to seeing your events, posts and activities!

About the European Day of Parks

Imagine a day when all Parks and Protected Areas come together across Europe, to celebrate their successes and declare the value and benefits of Europe’s Protected Areas to communities, decision-makers and the wider public. That is EUROPARC’s European Day of Parks!

Every year, European Day of Parks takes place on and around 24th of May. It aims to bring people closer to nature and raise public awareness on the importance of the natural beauty preserved in Protected Areas and the importance of conservation and sustainable management of those places.

Check here to see the previous editions.

The European Day of Parks is made possible through funding of the LIFE Programme. Views and opinions do not necessarily reflect that of the European Commission or of CINEA.