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