Quality Counts - Benefits for Nature and People
EUROPARC 2011 took place from 21st - 25th September in the Schwabian Alb Biosphere Reserve, Bad Urach, Germany. During the four day conference participants had the chance to exchange their experiences and expand their networks with European colleagues. They discussed and developed solutions for an effective protected area management throughout the four day programme.
The conference was hosted by the German state of Baden-Württemberg and organised together with EUROPARC Germany. 320 international experts from across the field of nature conservation attended the conference under the motto Quality counts - Benefits for Nature and People.
Quality Management for Protected Areas across Europe and beyond
As delegates arrived in Bad Urach from across Europe on 21st September they were greeted not only by the friendly faces of the conference team and volunteers, but also brilliant sunshine and blue skies with just a touch of autumnal trimmings. It promised to be a good few days in the Swabian Alb Biosphere Reserve (DE) at the EUROPARC Conference 2011 under the topic ‘Quality Counts – Benefits for Nature and People’.
In total over 330 people attended EUROPARC 2011 from 39 countries including Australia, Columbia, China and the USA. The conference took place from 21st – 25th September and was hosted by the Swabian Alb Biosphere Reserve and the Ministry for Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection of Baden-Württemberg. It was organised by a hard-working team from EUROPARC Germany together with the EUROPARC Federation.
After feedback from the workshops the plenary session of the conference kicked off with the Awards for EUROPARC’s Transboundary Park and European Charter for Sustainable Tourism programmes. Two transboundary parks were re-evaluated after working together across borders for five years. A grand total of 13 Charter areas were awarded with the Charter this year and five protected areas were re-evaluated after their first five years of being Charter areas.
After the awards the Bad Urach declaration that had been given to delegates for comments at the beginning of the conference was approved and the new EUROPARC President Thomas Hansson gave the closing remarks for the conference 2011. The preparations for EUROPARC 2012 have already begun and so the EUROPARC flag was symbolically handed over to Hoge Kempten National Park in Belgium where the conference will take place from 20th – 25th October 2012.
As usual the conference did not end without an opportunity for participants to let their hair down and celebrate another successful conference. From 8pm the delegates gathered in the Festhalle in Bad Urach in their best outfits for the gala dinner courtesy of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. During the dinner the Alfred Toepfer Award was presented to Hans Biebelriether and three new young conservationists were awarded the Alfred Toepfer Scholarship. Finally protected area staff from across Europe and beyond concluded the conference networking in a frenzy of whirling and grooving on the dance floor into the early hours of the morning!.
Read more about the conference at www.europarc2011.com.
Find out about EUROPARC 2012 in Belgium