Transforming old industrial areas into green areas, providing employment to local people and integrating nature with human activities and the urban environment is what IUCN Members strive to do in Belgium.
In 2012, the Brussels Government adopted new and innovative nature legislation specific to its urban context. The legislation introduces a new concept of nature conservation.
Replacing sanctuary nature zones and inaccessible nature reserves, the new legislation promotes the concept of nature integration. In other words, efforts are made for nature to be incorporated into the built environment, promoting the co-existence with people and their activities.
The Hoge Kempen National Park, in the east of Belgium, is a unique nature area, covering more than 5,700 hectares of woodland and heathland. The Park was officially established only six years ago and yet it is already seen throughout the world as a model for nature conservation. Carved out of a once industrial area in Limburg, the project is a rare example of cooperation between industry, government and environmental organizations.
Despite its small size, Belgium hosts lots of species. Recent biodiversity assessments have recorded more than 35,000 species of animals, plants, fungi and bacteria in the country. Nearly two thirds of these species are animals. Insects are the most numerous: 4,500 species of beetles, 4,500 species of flies and mosquitoes, 2,400 species of butterflies and moths, and more.
Read more on IUCN's work in Belgium here.