Promising applications for the next course
During the last weeks and months, we got many interesting applications from motivated and skilled persons from all over Europe, but also from non-European countries, ranging from Afghanistan to Columbia. We are very much looking forward to start working with those experts in the fifth round of the MPA Programme. However, due to technical reasons, the directorate of the programme decided to shift the start of the next programme from February to September 2014. In case additional persons would like to apply, they will have to prepare their documents until 30 June 2014. Meanwhile, in October 2013, the "Friends of the MPA Programme Association" has been established. The main objective of this association is supporting selected European participants financially by granting loans for covering the tuition fees or costs related to thesis projects. Mag. Angelika Staats, former Head of the “Swarovski Waterschool“ at Hohe Tauern National Park, was elected as president of this organisation. She and the other members will try to collect funds for the friends association, either from sponsoring, donations or membership fees. The expertise of the board members guarantees for a wise use of the allocated funds. In order you are interested in supporting our participants, please get in contact with the association.
Ongoing cooperation on European level
Between 9 and 13 October 2013, almost 300 people from 34 countries, responsible for managing Europe’s natural resources, met in the Hortobagy National Park in Hungary for this year’s EUROPARC Conference in order to plan for the future, and seek solutions for the integrated management of protected areas. On the initiative of E.C.O., the expert gathering was used to organise another meeting of the informal European Working Group on Capacity Building which already met in June 2013 at the Island of Vilm. Erika Stanciu (ProPark, Romania), Naik Faucon (ATEN, France), Marta Mugica (EUROPARC Spain), Hans Schreiner (Alfred Toepfer Academy of Nature Conservation, Germany), and Sigrun Lange (E.C.O. Germany) agreed that they would like to continue their cooperation in the next year. An online platform, currently developed by ProPark, shall be used for jointly promoting the respective capacity building offers. Furthermore, interest was expressed in initiating a project which allows for jointly developing well elaborated case studies from Europe to be used in all training programmes. Therewith, a new focus on problem based learning could be launched. The activities of this informal working group on capacity building have been presented during the WCPA Side Meeting “European Contribution for the World Parks Congress 2014”, which was organised by Andrej Sovinc, Ad-Interim Chair for WCPA Europe, on the last day of the EUROPARC Conference. Andrej introduced the EUROPARC members to the current and future activities related to IUCN’s World Parks Congress, scheduled for November next year in Sydney. As capacity building will be a crucial component of the Sydney congress, our activities shall be presented there, either by some representatives who are joining the congress, or in form of some poster or roll-ups which will be prepared jointly by the members of the working group.