Last September 6th, the EUROPARC Conference 2017 opened its doors in Portugal, in the Magic Mountains territory, to over 300 protected area professionals from all over Europe.

Under the theme “New Voices, New Visions, New Values” the Conference was an opportunity to debate the questions that modern society is raising about its core values. However, this year, the Conference was marked by an important milestone in the history of two institutions dedicated to nature conservation. EUROPARC Federation and Fedenatur merging was completed during the General Assembly that both institutions celebrated on the 5th of September.

Photo: banner of EUROPARC Conference 2017: New Voices, New Visions, New Values 

The Conference started with a Plenary Session that counted with the participation of relevant international political and social figures. Among them, it is worthy to highlight the speeches of Marina Silva Vaz de Lima, environmental minister of Brasil in 2003-2008 that helped creating 25 million hectares of new National Parks; Monsignor Froján Madero, Vatican representative who has an active role in bridging spiritual values with nature conservation; and Humberto Delgado Rosa, Director for Natural Capital, DG Environment, European Commission.

Following the agenda, the Conference offered to the participants the possibility to learn from their peers and exchange experiences on different topics in the sixteen Workshops organised. In addition to the Workshops, different Speaker Corners sessions were hosted to gather and discuss about different topics concerning protected areas and nature conservation.

Within the Speakers Corner sessions, IMPACT Interreg Europe led the “Open dialogue: where are the limits of socio-economic development in protected areas” which is the core theme of the project. For more information about this session read the dedicated new.

One of the last and most expected activities of the Conference was the EUROPARC Market Place. This event brings the opportunity to the participants to display information about their institutions and projects, and share some delicacies from their regions. At the Market Place, IMPACT Interreg Europe was also represented by EUROPARC staff, who took the opportunity to make new contacts and liaise with other institution’s representatives interested in the project. The project especially called the attention from Brazilian participants, who wanted to learn the specifics in order to replicate this initiative in their country.


Photo: IMPACT stand at the EUROPARC Conference 2017’s Market place. 

To end with, in this Conference we could see once again the high interest that the socio-economic development inside protected areas has among park managing institutions and professionals, which is very promising for the success of IMPACT Interreg Europe project.