Message from Little Sydney

The ‘Little Sydney: Protecting Nature in Europe’ conference, held in Austria in May 2015, gathered more than 200 experts who discussed approaches and priorities for protected area and nature conservation in Europe. The summary of discussions is now available online.

Little Sydney was organized around four key themes: Reaching Conservation Goals, Supporting Human Life, Influencing Policy and Institutional Responses, and Partnerships, Governance, Capacity Development and Resources, discussed through 20 working sessions. The Conference highlighted key findings from the IUCN World Parks Congress and discussed how to realize, bring out and implement those elements of the Promise of Sydney most relevant to Europe.

There are a number of recommendations which highlights the importance of wilderness protection in Europe. Here come the 3 most important suggestions:

  1. Enrich diversity and resilience of protected area networks like Natura 2000 and Emerald sites emphasising connectivity opportunities through transboundary and wilderness areas and other corridors including restoration efforts as appropriate,
  2. In relation to the European Common Agriculture Policy, investigate the potential of marginal and abandoned agricultural land as possible wildernessareas and promote policies to promote such use
  3. Reflecting on territorial protection, governments should safeguard Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) and wilderness areas beyond Natura 2000 sites to enhance conservation of threatened species and ecological representation

In addition to these recommendation above, participants of Little Sydney conference highlighted the importance of improving management effectiveness of existing protected areas. Our European Wilderness Quality Standard and Audit System (EWQA) offers an excellent tool for protected area managers to strengthen management practice and gurantee constant improvement. Our EWQA helps reaching systematic conservation planning for protected areas across Europe and ensures ecological representation and effective management.

The summary of Little Sydney is available here.

Vlado Vancura

Vlado Vancura is the Deputy Chairman and Director of wilderness of the European Wilderness Society and is based in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia.

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