Honorary doctorate to Director of IUCN Member

Director of Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland and former Countdown 2010 Ambassador Ignace Schops received an honorary doctorate from the University of Hasselt, Belgium on 30 May.

Ignace Schops (right) with Jacko Vangronsveld, Doctor Professor of the Centre of Environmental Issues of the University of Hasselt (left) Photo: Ignace Schops

Not so often biodiversity experts and practitioners are acknowledged with honorary doctorates. Ignace Schops received this doctorate in recognition of his “international achievements for biodiversity and social entrepreneurship featured by cooperation and sustainable development”. The international nature and impact of Ignace’s work and his steady commitment to biodiversity conservation were the main reasons for this acknowledgement. The support showed by the University through this doctorate gives Ignace inspiration and urge to strengthen his work towards solutions for a sustainable world.

As a Goldman Prize recipient and Ashoka Fellow, Ignace has been dedicated to biodiversity for a long time. With his organization the Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland (www.rlkm.be) he and his team established the first national park in Belgium, the Hoge Kempen National Park, in 2006 – today recognized as an example of best practice for biodiversity. With his (Re)connection Model he has proved that biodiversity – besides its intrinsic values – is an asset for economic development: the total annual benefits from Hoge Kempen visitors fees is 24 million Euros. See TEEB-report cases: http://www.eea.europa.eu/atlas and http://www.eea.europa.eu/teeb/teeb/developing-the-first-national-park.

IUCN congratulates Ignace for this achievement and will continue supporting his work. You can contact Ignace at ignace@rlkm.be.

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