TransParcNet meeting 2012
Pasvik-Inari Trilateral Park (FI/NO/RU)
This year, the annual EUROPARC TransParcNet meeting took place from 11th to 14th June in the “far” North of Europe – in the Trilateral Pasvik-Inari Park. This area is composed of the Inari-Vätsäri Wilderness Area (FI), Øvre-Pasvik National Park (NO) and Pasvik Zapovednik (RU). The meeting was organized by Metsähallitus – the Finnish Natural Heritage Services – together with their Norwegian and Russian colleagues who all did an excellent job.
About 40 participants from Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russian, Serbia and Slovenia had a real transboundary experience this year. In just three days they visited three countries with three different time zones, different currencies and completely different languages and crossed all kinds of borders several times. It was also a very northern experience with midnight sun, fjords and reindeer.
This TransParcNet meeting provided a good opportunity to see the trilateral transboundary cooperation in practice. It also served as a platform to share experiences from transboundary protected areas from all over Europe and, which is also very important, to express concerns and difficulties that some European TBPAs are facing at the moment.
The meeting started in Finland, at the Siida centre in Inari where the participants visited the Museum of Saami culture. Next day the meeting continued in the Bioforsk Research station in Svanhovd, NO where the presentation and workshop session was held. The Norwegian, Finnish and Russian colleagues gave an introduction to the area and to their cooperation work in the Trilateral park and in the framework of the Green Belt of Fennoscandia. Other presentations were held by representatives of other certified transboundary parks and those in the process of certification who shared their sometimes quite different experiences in transboundary cooperation from Austria, Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia. The annual TransParcNet meeting is open not only for EUROPARC network, but for all individuals or organizations involved in transboundary cooperation, this year for example it was attended by Boris Erg representing the Tranboundary Specilaist group of WCPA, IUCN who gave a presentation on the work of the group.
Participants also had a chance to share their ideas in the workshop session facilitated by Carol Ritchie. The aim of this workshop was to look at TransParcNet and to see what can be improved and also what we need most to make transboundary cooperation more effective as well as identifying the need to extend the membership and improve communications. The fundamental answer that the participants came up with to improve transboundary work was, “Mutual respect and Love”.
The meeting concluded with a visit to the Russian part of Trilateral Park – Pasvik Zapovednik where everybody was warmly welcomed. It was good to see the interest from local press to the event – the whole meeting was filmed by a crew from Murmansk TV and there was a press conference for local press on the last day.