EUROPARC Youth Manifesto

A Call for Change in Rural Communities and Protected Areas

The EUROPARC Youth Manifesto is a source of ideas and inspiration for decision-makers in Protected Areas and rural communities to ensure the involvement and empowerment of young people.

Young people play an important role in looking after our Protected Areas: They are the decision-makers of tomorrow and they are capable to help leading the way to a sustainable future of our parks already today – if they get the chance to have their say. It is vital that young people get involved in the governance of Protected Areas, so they can share their perspectives on the issues that will impact their future development and that of our natural and cultural heritage. And it is now that they can develop thoroughly the skills it will take to manage resilient parks and build sustainable communities.

Across Europe, Protected Areas and rural communities face similar challenges: They struggle to engage meaningfully with younger generations. Young people and families are the future of rural places in Europe, and yet they are increasingly moving to more urban places, that promise good education, viable jobs, more diverse career opportunities, reliable infrastructure, tolerant mindsets and greater freedom for self-development. Young people leaving parks and rural areas means the next generation of teachers, politicians, rangers, doctors, managers, conservationists and farmers are moving away – the future stewards of our natural heritage, our cultural landscapes and the biodiversity they are home to.

Youngsters engaged with EUROPARC Conference delegates at their info stand and asked them to write down their opinion: “Why is it important to involve youth”? ©Konatsu Hagita

All this has direct effects on our nature as well as on the well-being of our communities: It affects the vitality and resilience of parks and rural areas, which need the creative potential of a diverse community.  All young people have creative potential that needs to be fostered. Working in partnership with the youth in your region allows you to get innovative together and create real opportunities for youngsters to keep living, learning and working in their rural environment and communities; ensuring environmental stewardship and creating more dynamic and future-oriented communities.

clear, consistent and coordinated approach to engaging young people meaningfully in rural communities and the natural environment is needed…

…and this is where the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto comes in

In spring 2018 a group of youth from across seven countries gathered to create the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto. A document that shall draw the attention of Protected Areas, environmental organisations and rural communities to the challenges of their youth. An inspiration to meaningfully engage with young people in their area for tackling those challenges together.

Asking and listening to the youth. Calling decision-makers to action. Inspiring youth empowerment and cooperation across generations at local levels. This is what the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto Project 2018 was all about. This is our invitation. We are ready to take action with you – now we need you to respond” (EUROPARC Youth Manifesto Project 2018)

Download your copy below and get inspired by the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto…

Click on the image to download the English Version of the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto. Find more language versions below. For translation requests, please send us a mail to

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Keep the Youth Manifesto active!

Feel free to get in touch with us for questions and make sure you keep us posted about your ideas to implement the Youth Manifesto in your area by email, share your case studies and best practices via our Knowledge Hub!

We’re thrilled to learn about your projects inspired by the Manifesto, so we can connect and make them visible throughout our European network.

Let’s take action for change and co-create sustainable Protected Areas and resilient communities together!

Make sure you follow the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto Project on Social Media and check this page regularly to keep up to date with implementing the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto across Europe.


We are excited to see the Youth Manifesto being put to use across Europe. Here are some good practice examples:

Cairngorms Youth Action Team

Cairngorms Youth Action is a new project developed by the Cairngorms National Park Authority to help address the issues identified by young people and outlined in the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto.

The key elements of Cairngorms Youth Action will be –

  • To be the voice of young people in the Park by recruiting young people to form the Cairngorms Youth Action Team.
  • To develop a procedure to fund young people’s ideas about living, learning and working in the Park by giving them a grant.
  • To put on educational, exciting and innovative events for young people in the Park.

Youth Advisory Board at Prealpi Guilie

Young people in the Biosphere Reserve were active in the Youth Manifesto project of 2018. In 2019 the Youth Advisory Board was established in the Park. The areas of the Prealpi Giulie Nature Park was established as a MAB Biosphere Reserve in 2019. As such, in total it encompasses a territory of 11 Italian municipalities of the north-eastern part of the Friuli Region. As with many other rural areas young people tend to leave these places in search of more comfort in big cities. Often, they are not aware of the cultural and natural heritage that surrounds them and the opportunities that these places can give to young people. Additionally, often institutions have trouble reaching young people, so there was the need for a “young point of view”.

Making the Manifesto a reality at Yorkshire Dales National Park

The Youth Manifesto is particularly pertinent to the Yorkshire Dales. The Yorkshire Dales are facing real problems with regard to retaining and attracting young people and it is recognised that the Youth Manifesto can play an important role in tackling this. Practical action was taken in the form of setting up an internal Youth Forum for apprentices and under 30’s in the Authority. The aim was to create a space for the younger people to meet up and connect, have fun, learn a new skill, find out about a different department, explore a different area of the National Park, and broaden the experience of an apprentice to ensure transferable skills can be gained in different areas, so that they are in a better position to gain employment once the apprenticeship comes to an end. These objectives stem from the action areas of the Youth Manifesto, such as giving young people a voice and a chance to make decisions.

Youth Committee at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs

The Youth Committee is a way for young people to get involved in decision making for the National Park and help them develop and learn new skills. The Committee wants to:

  • provide opportunities for young people to be involved with, and have a voice in decision making for the National Park through our Youth Committee and links to the National Park Board.
  • support young people to feed into consultations and the wider work of the National Park Authority, both internally and at external events.
  • support skills development/placement opportunities for young people within the National Park.
  • co-design opportunities with young people, for young people, to share their views and experiences of the National Park.


Meet the young folk who created it on behalf of youth from Protected Areas and rural communities across Europe

Around 40 young project participants, aged 16-25, from Scotland, England, Wales, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan, Italy, came together in two intense workshop weeks.

Youth exploring the surroundings in Kalajoki.

In May 2018 participants gathered in the Cairngorms National Park for a first workshop week, that was all about experience sharing, ideating and eventually drafting the Manifesto. Besides all the thinking they got to spend some time in the outdoors of the Cairngorms and experienced a traditional cèilidh.

In our June News you can get an idea of their week and work. 

The second project workshop in June took the youngsters even further up north, to Kalajoki, Finland. Youngsters gathered with some new faces joining the project to finalize the Manifesto, discuss youth governance, learn about designing youth projects and to start planning the final presentation of their work to delegates at the EUROPARC Conference in Cairngorms National Park 2018!

Read in our July News how the youth engaged in workshops, writing and crafted some willow whistles during the final days before Finnish Midsummer.

The Launch: Calling decision-makers of Europe’s Protected Areas and rural communities to action

Throughout their summer holidays, Youth Manifesto project participants stayed connected to work on the official launch of the Manifesto on the final day of the EUROPARC Conference in September 2018 – surprises included. Youngsters were around for the whole event to spread the word about the Manifesto; sharing with delegates their perspectives on challenges and needs of youth in their rural and Protected Areas during field trips, lunches, dinners and coffee breaks. However, the youngsters were not only there to talk. They had come with the mission to inspire real action – and to encourage others to get active, the best way stays: walk the talk and move yourself first! So, the night before the official Manifesto release, youngsters entered the stage and performed a short theater and flashmob dance, inviting everyone to dance along.

Youngsters calling delegates at EUROPARC Conference to (dance) action with a flashmob performance. ©Konatsu Hagita

A symbolic moment, with a clear message: don’t worry if you don’t have the solutions or know the exact steps to take right from the start. Just join in, follow the youth and create your steps together with them.

Youngsters showed in a playful way, that they are capable to contribute with skills we need to create a sustainable future for our European Parks and rural communities together: creativity, joy, some courage – and fresh ideas. All we’ll need to respond with is an open mind, curiosity to learn with the youth and trust that creating together is the way forward.

Take a first step, connect with your local youth – this may mean attending schools and youth clubs. It can also be as easy as having a first exchange of thoughts and ideas with the young people you know personally.

The official launch of the Manifesto and the pledges made by the youth fell on fertile ground. The young presenters energized the audience, and took delegates on a video journey through the project and pitched the Manifesto to delegates.

Youth pitching their Manifesto to a full audience on the final day of the EUROPARC Conference 2018 in Cairngorms National Park. ©Konatsu Hagita

The presentation was a memorable experience, as every young Manifesto representative on stage shared examples from their personal lives or that of peers growing up rural.Their clear message reached delegates. They rushed to receive a printed copy of the Youth Manifesto and discuss ideas with the young ambassadors after their presentation. First project ideas were discussed and some of the youngsters had the chance to work out concrete plans for follow-up action with delegates and authorities in their parks and communities once back home.

The EUROPARC Youth Manifesto was created as an output of a transnational LEADER project, led by the Cairngorms National Park Authority in collaboration with the three Finnish LEADER groups Rieska, Keskipiste, and Ravakka; the Cairngorms Local Action Group; Scottish Natural Heritage; Young Scot and the EUROPARC Federation. The project supported the Scottish Year of Young People 2018.

Follow EUROPARC updates on Youth in parks!

Learn about our activities for young people between 12 – 25, empowering them to grow close connection with nature and learning skills for life while exploring the outdoors together with peers and Rangers. Get an idea of our Junior Ranger Programme aimed at young people aged 12-18.

Find out about opportunities with our Youth+ Programme aimed at youngsters over 18….And follow our Youth+, Junior Rangers and EUROPARC Youth Manifesto project on Facebook!