Switzerland did not only celebrate its national day on 1 August 2014; it also marked the 100th anniversary of the Swiss National Park in the eastern part of the country. IUCN staff from the Global Protected Area and World Heritage Programmes made the trip from HQ to join the festivities and raise awareness of IUCN’s work on protected areas and related topics.
“This is Switzerland’s only ‘national park’ and its centenary has profound significance for global conservation, as those involved in its creation also promoted IUCN’s founding in 1948, with its headquarters in Gland,” says Tim Badman, Director of World Heritage Programme. “The day was extremely successful and showcased Switzerland’s long-term connection with nature and confirmed its commitment to protecting one of its most pristine areas.”
Since its establishment on 1 August 1914, the Swiss National Park has been a model of good practice in protected area management for Switzerland’s 6200 areas recorded in Protected Planet. It developed community-based approaches at the local level to conserve natural and cultural resources. Today, it is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and, due to the highest level of protection, it is the only park in the Alps to be classified as a strict nature reserve.
“Everyone is proud of their park and is an essential part of its success,” says Helen Noble of the IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme. “Being part of this celebration was really rewarding and enjoyable. the celebration of a place they cherish is a heart-felt example of the connection between man and nature – passion is what drives conservation.” says Helen Noble of the IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme . “At the global level, the same kind of passion runs through people and we’re confident it will be at the heart of the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney next November.”
Taking place just once every decade, the IUCN World Parks Congress is a landmark global forum bringing together conservationists and leaders from diverse sectors and regions. Its theme – Parks, People, Planet: Inspiring Solutions – recognizes the essential role of protected areas such as the Swiss National Park in addressing some of the complex problems the world faces.
Organised by ProNatura, Switzerland’s largest organization for local nature conservation, the 100th anniversary celebration of the unique Swiss National Park in Zernez with the presenece of the Swiss Minister of Environment, Tranport, Energy and Communications, Doris Leuthard.