Wilderness Policy

Calling for the Wilderness Convention

During the 1st European Wilderness Academy Days in Mittersill, Austria on 3 October 2014, our team arranged a workshop on legal issues linked to Wilderness preservation in Europe. There were quite a few voices who argued that better protection of Wilderness in Europe does not require a new law, but the enforcement of existing legislation. What’s your opinion?!

The European Parliament passed a resolution on Wilderness in February 2009, some of the recommendations having been realised through the development of a definition of Wilderness; the development of guidelines on Wilderness management in the Natura 2000 network; and a Wilderness register that documents and maps Wilderness in a subset of countries in Europe. One of the outcomes of the 10th World Wilderness Congress in Salamanca was the 17th resolution arguing for a supranational new legal instrument in Europe. The Alpine convention, the Bern Convention and the European Landscape Convention are considered to be examples.

The purpuse of the European Wilderness Convention is not necessarily the suggestion of new laws, In most European countries Wilderness or strict protection or the acceptance of natzural processes within protected areas have already been included in existing acts. The convention would aim to help enforcing existing laws and whenever necessary to help creating new legal tool.

I thought of sharing the presentation, which explains the current version of the European Wilderness Convention.If you saw the joint presentation of John Muir Trust and European Wilderness Society, you might still have some new thoughts or you want to articulate your ideas again. If you have not seen the presentation, you might want your voice to be heard. In any case we want to hear your answer on the following questions:

  1. What do you think the advantages and disadvantages of a European Wilderness Convention are?
  2. What should its aims be?
  3. What should it contain?
  4. What are (if any) the missing element from the current draft? (plse contact me to receive the full document)
  5. What/who should be included in the engagement strategy?
  6. What are the barriers to getting the Convention adopted? How can they be overcome?
  7. What would be the conditions of your organisation supporting the advocacy work for the convention at the Council of Europe?

So please let me know about your thoughts and answers to these questions.

2 thoughts on “Calling for the Wilderness Convention

  • One point which I believe should be embraced by the European Wilderness Convention is the way in which the public is able to experience these areas. Far too often Europeans are told that the simple act of spending the night in the woods is illegal. Wild camping should be embraced as the most effective and meaningful way for Europeans to immerse themselves in the natural world. Staying in a hotel or public camp site is no substitute. Wilderness camping as a means of truly connecting the public to nature is proven in many countries. The excuse that people camping in the wild will spoil and litter it is simply not true. Without nights spent in a tent in the wild, how will Europeans ever know what wild is?

  • It seems that, regardless of the outcome, this can only be a good thing. The discussion needs to happen on multiple levels.

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