EUROPARC 2020 programme

The annual EUROPARC conference is the best opportunity for people working in Europe’s protected areas to network: whether face-to-face or online, they learn from each other’s experiences and stay current with policy and practice in all aspects of integrated protected area management. This year’s event is 100% digital. The programme looks at how to future-proof European Protected Areas.

Notes: This is an outline programme, subject to change. All times given are Central European Summer Time.

Please click on each conference day to see the outline programme.

Please click on each  session title for more information.  Further details will be available soon.

If you want to take part in the Speakers Corner please click on the link and complete the form to request a slot. Note- there will be limited places.

You will be able to select your workshops from August

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EUROPARC events are known for their fun.. even online!  So, Why not grab a beer, enjoy a glass of wine and connect with colleagues across Europe. Time for some chat, some games and the BIG EUROPARC quiz.  There may even be dancing!!

From Latvia to Zoomia - Welcome to conference 2020
From face to face in 2019 to virtual in 2020, EUROPARC members and friends can still come together to consider the present situation and work together for our new future.

WELCOME to Conference 2020
Ignace Schops. EUROPARC President will open the conference and set the scene.

The EU Green Deal elaborates actions for a greener society, able to protect biodiversity and natural resources, promoting sustainable economic activities, human well-being and planet’s health.

The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 Bringing nature back into our lives, recognises the multiple benefits of biodiversity for society and is a crucial pillar of the EU Green Deal. Fundamental to its implementation will be effectively managed Protected Areas who can also establish functional partnerships with wider land use managers. Commissioner Sinkevičius will share the Commission strategy and plans for the future.

Reflecting on the big issues that are impacting Parks and Protected Areas, and provide parks with a wake-up call to not just be alert to these global and local issues, but to react and respond to them.

New ambitious targets have been agreed at European level to address the main drivers of biodiversity loss. How will these translate into practice and what roles should PAs have? Taking into account the current coronavirus crisis and related management challenges, what implementation measures and future priorities can we anticipate? In this session you will have the chance to interact with PA managers and decision makers from the EU, national and local institutions.

Confirmed speakers


A coherent network of Protected Areas is central to the implementation of Natura 2000. Benefitting from the LIFE e-Natura2000.edu project, this workshop will discuss what personal and organisational skills, knowledge and competencies are required to improve practical management effectiveness and what professional development systems require to be put in place to achieve the ambitions of the EU Biodiversity Strategy.

Workshop leader: Neil McIntosh

With the representative of the Regional Nature Parks of Wallonia (Belgium), we will discuss how protected areas can promote better communication between parks and farmers, improve the image of the farmers towards the public and the consumers, and support the relation between farmers and public authorities. We will analyse how these parks initiatives with farmers will contribute to implement the EU Biodiversity and Farm to Fork Strategies.

Workshop leader: Stefania Petrosillo

The parks and protected areas found in or close to towns and cities have never been more important! Covid19 has demonstrated the importance of the nature on our doorstep to our lives, for our health and well-being. At the same time though, the proximity of our periurban parks to some of the most densely populated areas in the world brings a unique set of management challenges which need to be addressed. One of the aims of the 2030 EU Biodiversity Strategy is to increase “the value we place on nature protected areas and invest more into green infrastructures, including in urban areas and public spaces” (Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, DG Environment). There is a range of good practice to draw on in many European countries which shows how this can be done effectively. This workshop will explore these issues and provide practical solutions through the work of the EUROPARC Federation commissions on health and periurban parks.

Workshop leader: Peter Rawcliffe

Protecting our landscapes and natural areas is an issue of significant importance to outdoor sports enthusiasts as well as those involved in conservation. Through the Benefits of Outdoor Sports to Society (BOSS) project that ENOS undertook over the past few years we have explored the range of benefits that outdoor sports provide and how to value these effectively in economic terms. One such benefit was how outdoor sports can connect people and especially young people to nature, make them appreciative of their natural surroundings and engender a desire to protect and look after it.

How do you effectively survey people to assess the ecosystem services and area provides? How do you generate appropriate economic values? What interventions most effectively engage people with natural areas? What really makes a difference in making people fall in love with and want to look after their local area?

These questions and more will be explored through short presentations, case studies and most importantly interactive engagement in the workshop.

You can get a feel for the BOSS project from the interactive PDF here.

Workshop leader: ENOS

Marta Múgica EUROPARC Sections Representative will open the conference and set the scene.

Mike draws on global experience to consider what competence-based capacity building is needed for Protected Areas to address these changing times.

Based on years of experience and development, Erika highlights what skills and capacities Protected Areas need to implement the 2030 Biodiversity strategy and respond to the post COVID-19 world.

This interactive session will be a great opportunity to learn and discuss protected area matters. 20 minutes slots are open to EUROPARC members and conference delegates to exchange views and ideas about specific conservation practices. This is an opportunity to present project results or highlight current initiatives and exchange with others.

If you wish to get on stage, please apply here by Aug 21, 2020.

Workshop 5 – Marine Protected Areas - why does our marine environment merit special attention?

Marine Protected Areas have specific management needs, with a unique stakeholder mix. This often requires very specific skills sets and competencies on top of specialist technical knowledge about marine species and habitats. How do we identify the specific capacity building needs for MPAs? What competencies are especially required for effective management of the marine environment?

Workshop leader – Fernando Pinillos

Even if not explicitly targeted in the EU Biodiversity Strategy, young people are the decision makers of tomorrow and an important pillar for the future of protected areas and rural communities. We cannot plan our future without young people. And this is even more relevant today, while we are planning for 2030. So what happens when young people are given the chance to be actively part of decision making processes and to directly contribute to PA management?

During this workshop we will hear from young people and showcase some inspiring examples of PAs which have adopted the Youth Manifesto. A discussion will follow to identify ways to encourage Protected Areas to adopt the Youth Manifesto and to actively promote youth engagement. What can we learn from this crisis and how can we help youth to stay connected? What are the PA’s needs to develop and implement youth dedicated programmes and initiatives?

Case studies by:

Workshop leaders: Laura Peters & Federico Minozzi

The end of coronavirus lockdown created a rush to parks and green spaces to celebrate the end of confinement – people recognised that protected areas provide an added value, important for their health and wellbeing. Are parks and (eco)tourism businesses ready for this new future? What do we need to do in order to provide tourists and visitors with the best quality experience in our parks? What safety procedures should we work with, so people feel confident in their visit to our Parks? Are you ready for this new future? How do we ensure that the European Charter of Sustainable Tourism creates the best start to prepare for our new future!

Workshop leader – Teresa Pastor

In this workshop participants will learn more about the ‘ins and outs’ of integrating climate change in their management practices. Part 1 will focus on how to assess a protected area’s vulnerability to climate change. Part 2 will provide participants the opportunity to reflect on what adaptation measures are possible by looking at a real case.

Workshop leader - Olivier de Sadeleer