Europe, with its multiple languages, diverse habitats, and relatively dense populations, presents challenges to organizations striving to increase the capacity of professional staff to effectively manage protected areas. Eleven representatives from European organizations that provide protected area educational opportunities met 3 – 6 of June at a workshop on the Isle of Vilm, Germany to collaborate on the assessment, development and delivery of protected area capacity development programs and propose European contributions to the protected area capacity development cross cutting theme at the 6th IUCN World Parks Congress, to be held in November 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
Convened by Dr. Sigrun Lange and Dr. Michael Jungmeier of E.C.O. – Institute of Ecology (Austria and Germany) and by Gisela Stolpe and Ralf Grunewald, Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Germany), the workshop included presentations on European capacity development programs, the IUCN WCPA protected area Capacity Development Program and the 6th IUCN World Parks Congress. Five European countries were represented. Eduard Muller, WCPA Vice-Chair, Education and Learning, and David Reynolds, IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme, participated in the workshop, giving several presentations on aspects of the IUCN WCPA Protected Area Capacity Development Programme, the Global Partnership for Professionalizing Protected Area Management, and the World Parks Congress.
Small working groups were formed where the participants developed a draft resolution outlining the objectives and action items for protected area capacity development cooperation in Europe. The resolution will be finalized by July. The draft resolution expressed an interest in developing a EUROPARC capacity building working group to promote protected area training and collaboration. Also, workshop participants had a keen interest in using the products being developed by the IUCN WCPA Global Partnership for Professionalizing Protected Areas (GPPPAM) when completed. Some participants were interested in participation in the IUCN WCPA Work Groups and testing the completed capacity development products.
There was a strong interest by participants in having European institutions and organizations contribute to the protected area capacity development cross cutting theme at the 6th World Parks Congress. Andrej Sovinc, IUCN WCPA European Vice-Chair, will use the resolution to inform a session on European contributions to the World Parks Congress at the 9-13 October EUROPARC Conference in Hortobagy, Hungary.