Story | 31 Aug, 2017

European Parks´ Academy – A new training format for protected area professionals

The European Parks´ Academy is a new training format on protected area management for executives and professionals from all over the world. Based on the outputs of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 and the “Promise of Sydney”, the two-week summer academy with different training modules has just been held for the first time from 18- 29 July in Klagenfurt in Austria. Based on the great response and successful implementation of this year's event, the European Parks´ Academy will be organised annually with alternating topics, lecturers and keynote speakers.

The seminars of this years´ academy focused on two topics: “Effective financing of protected areas” and “New challenges in the governance of protected areas”. In addition, the IUCN Green List Standard was spotlighted during a full-day workshop with James Hardcastle. Facilitated by outstanding trainers from IUCN and other international conservation initiatives – Dr. Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend, Prof. Roger Crofts, Dr. Francis Vorhies, Dr. Michael Jungmeier, and Dr. Andrej Sovinc - the academy offered participants numerous high-level inputs and guidance, and wasn't short of enlightening reflections and discussions.

The good working atmosphere and enriching exchange were supported by the size of the seminars - limited up to 18 people - and the lively participation, motivation, and professionality of participants. Coming from a working context directly linked to protected areas and their management, participants could learn from each other during in-depth discussions or peer group coaching. 

European Parks' Academy, Klagenfurt, Austria       Photo: Olesya Petrovich

All together, ten countries and almost all decision-making levels related to the governance and management of protected areas were represented during this years´ academy: the Albanian National Agency of Protected Areas, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, the research departments of the Biosphere Reserve Spreewald (Germany), the Plitvice National Park (Croatia), the management of the Biosphere Reserve Nockberge (Austria), the Ljubljansko barje Landscape Park (Slovenia) and the Synevyr Nature Park (Ukraine), an NGO from Ethiopia, the protected area department of Dubai Municipality, the sub-national cultural heritage department of Estonia, international donor organizations and the German consultancy.

The selection process of relevant topics for next year's academy already started. With financing and governance of protected areas two very relevant issues have already been tackled. But as challenges and learning fields related to protected area management are endless, we are confident to identify new interesting and relevant issues also for the next European Parks´ Academy in July 2018! So, cards, topics and lecturers will be mixed again, and “old” as well as “new” participants can apply for participation in 2018. Please contact the organizers or check their website for updates on this event.

The organising team is:

IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and E.C.O. Institute of Ecology, Klagenfurt

Partners & sponsors are:

  • Austrian Ministry of Environment
  • Institute of Instructional and School Development (IUS), Alpe-Adria University Klagenfurt
  • Technical University Vienna
  • University College for Agrarian and Environmental Pedagogy
  • University of Primorska


Andrej Sovinc, IUCN WCPA : 

Alexandra Joseph, E.C.O. Institute of Ecology: