IMBA Europe is part of the European Network of Outdoor Sport and in that capacity, ENOS and the EUROPARC Federation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote the practice of responsible outdoor sports in Protected Areas, minimize their environmental impact and to work for the local implementation of the ENOS Charter that EUROPARC fully endorses. This year, ENOS will host a 2 hour workshop for NP and PA managers about outdoor sports and how to measure the benefits they bring to people and Protected Areas.
The workshop is planned on day 1 of the conference, Tuesday the 8th of September, from 14.30 - 16.30 CET.
Protecting our landscapes and natural areas is an issue of significant importance to outdoor sports enthusiasts as well as those involved in conservation. Through the Benefits of Outdoor Sports to Society (BOSS) project that ENOS undertook over the past few years we have explored the range of benefits that outdoor sports provide and how to value these effectively in economic terms. One such benefit was how outdoor sports can connect people and especially young people to nature, make them appreciative of their natural surroundings and engender a desire to protect and look after it.
How do you effectively survey people to assess the ecosystem services and area provides? How do you generate appropriate economic values? What interventions most effectively engage people with natural areas? What really makes a difference in making people fall in love with and want to look after their local area? These questions and more will be explored through short presentations, case studies and most importantly interactive engagement in the workshop.
About the Conference
We are living through complex and challenging times. Parks and Protected Areas need to be involved in discussions about the future of society and be prepared with solutions to ensure they are part of a safer and more sustainable Europe.
The EU Green Deal elaborates actions for a greener society, able to protect biodiversity and natural resources, promoting sustainable economic activities, human well-being and the planet’s health. Europe’s Protected Areas have long established practise and experience in delivering these multiple benefits, but our management must remain ‘fit for purpose’, resilient to change and future-proofed to ensure that our natural and cultural resources can thrive and share these benefits.
The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 Bringing nature back into our lives, recognises the multiple benefits of biodiversity for society and is a crucial pillar of the EU Green Deal. Fundamental to its implementation will be effectively managed protected areas which can also establish functional partnerships with wider land use managers, e.g. forestry, agriculture, energy and in marine, fisheries. Underpinning all is of course the response to climate change required at a protected area network level.
With climate policies high on the EU priority list, the importance of ensuring the integration of nature conservation and the role of Natura 2000 and Protected Areas in particular, in the upcoming EU Climate strategies and targets is imperative.
As Europe emerges into a new COVID world, we identify the need to protect and restore nature as all the more urgent, further raising awareness of the links between our own health and the health of ecosystems. Within all this, parks are dealing with new communications and perceptions of the interactions between people nature and indeed between tourism and local people.
These are complex and challenging times. Therefore those working in parks and protected areas need to feel equipped with tools, skills and competencies to juggle competing priorities, manage community engagement, maintain and develop partnerships, articulate political arguments and pitch new communications.
Building on initiatives such as the LIFE e-Natura2000.edu project led by EUROPARC, it is now that Protected Areas need to discuss the personal and organisational skills, knowledge and competencies required to improve practical management effectiveness. Leading by example and excellence in management practices, PAs can make vital contributions to achieving the ambitions of the EU Biodiversity Strategy.
This year’s EUROPARC conference therefore, will explore these big issues but importantly look at what skills and capacities protected areas need to address these changing times, implement the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy and respond to the post COVID-19 world.