EUROPARC Welcomes Newcomers in April 2024

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In April 2024, EUROPARC welcomed representatives from Serbia, Italy, and Belgium, each bringing a unique perspective and dedication to preserving Europe’s natural beauty. Let us delve into the backgrounds and aspirations of these new members, and hear directly from three of them about their journey and hopes within EUROPARC.

Serbia: Nurturing Nature’s Heritage

Serbia presents its champions for biodiversity conservation and sustainable practices. Our new member, Ecological Movement ‘Frame of Life’, has been instrumental in fostering community inclusion in decision-making processes regarding ecological matters. With a keen focus on biodiversity preservation and sustainable agriculture, the efforts of this organisation culminated in the establishment of a Community Seed Bank in 2019, safeguarding traditional crop landraces and invaluable knowledge.

Our second Serbian newcomer, University of Belgrade – Faculty of Biology, adds its venerable legacy of 170 years to the EUROPARC community. Renowned for its pivotal role in biological research across the Balkans, particularly in national-level protection efforts, their expertise promises to enrich the EUROPARC network with a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Italy: Preserving Nature’s Tapestry

Italy sends forth representatives deeply embedded in the conservation fabric of the country. Natural Regional Park of Coastal Dunes from Torre Canne to Torre S. Leonardo, focuses on sustainable tourism and heritage preservation, which, in turn, resonates strongly with EUROPARC’s ethos. By promoting slow mobility and nurturing diverse habitats alongside historical landmarks, they exemplify a holistic approach to conservation.

Similarly, the Regional Natural Park of the Sile River reinforces Italy’s commitment to environmental stewardship. With a mission to protect and enhance the environment while supporting traditional economic activities, they stand as guardians of Italy’s natural heritage, ready to collaborate within the EUROPARC community.

Belgium: Uniting Nature and Society

Belgium contributes its visionaries from the Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse National Park, a testament to the country’s dedication to ecological restoration and community engagement. By uniting various natural regions and fostering rewilding initiatives, they underscore the importance of preserving ecological richness while enhancing local livelihoods. Through environmentally-friendly activities and robust visitor facilities, they aim to reconnect people with nature, ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

In exclusive interviews, Santina Grande from the Regional Natural Park of the Sile River, Jelica Novaković from the University of Belgrade, and Ivana Radović from Ecological Movement ‘Frame of Life’ share their impressions and aspirations within EUROPARC:

  • What impressed you most about EUROPARC’s mission and objectives?

Santina Grande: The objectives and missions of EUROPARC are the common objectives of the entities that manage protected natural areas. It’s impressive to see a unified approach across diverse European landscapes, highlighting the importance of addressing different realities on a continental scale.

Jelica Novaković: What impressed us most about your mission and objectives was your commitment to the expansion of protected areas, networking, and support for projects that maintain the landscape.

Ivana Radović: We liked the core values and principles that shape the work of EUROPARC. Protection of nature is not possible without these core values, which encourage us to overcome individual interest for the sake of the interests of  society. We also appreciate the devotion to restore the connection of people with nature.

  • How do you plan to contribute to our community and our common goals?

Santina Grande: Despite the challenges faced by our park, including limited staffing and resources, I am fully dedicated to supporting EUROPARC in any initiatives that impact our park’s territory.

Jelica Novaković: We want to share knowledge and experience through collaboration with colleagues and act at a local level to protect and promote the conservation of protected areas in our country.

Ivana Radović: We can contribute in the areas of sustainable agriculture and agroecology, participatory approaches to local communities and in the domain of use of citizen science in protected areas.

  • Are there any particular benefits or resources you hope to gain from your membership of EUROPARC?

Santina Grande: As a new member of EUROPARC, I look forward to the invaluable benefits of engaging in cross-national and European-level comparisons.

Jelica Novaković: We hope to collaborate with colleagues from around the world, share skills and experiences, and form teams for international projects in the field of nature improvement and protection.

Ivana Radović: We would be delighted to gain knowledge and experience through EUROPARC membership, connecting with fellow members to support one another in activities and projects. Specifically, we hope to forge connections with initiatives in South-East Europe.

With these new members, EUROPARC strengthens its dedication to conservation, promoting collaboration and innovation worldwide. Together, they share a vision of protecting Europe’s natural wonders, driving towards a sustainable and harmonious future.