Today, Tuesday 31st January, Dr Peter Hobson, Principal Lecturer at Writtle College will be attending the protecting wilderness in Europe conference held at the European Parliament in Brussels. The ‘round table’ meeting was coordinated by PAN Parks Foundation - a member of Wild Europe. Together they are working towards the development of Policy to ensure preservation of untouched natural areas for future generations. Dr Hobson attended the conference on behalf of the European Society for Conservation Biology Policy Committee.
The European Parliament adopted a special report on wilderness by 538 votes to 19 on 3 February 2009. This was followed by the European Commission developing the Agenda for Europe’s Wilderness (May 2009, Prague). Three years after adoption of the Parliament’s report, wilderness still faces widespread threats from logging and development – but there are many opportunities to enhance its protection. Participants of the conference will assess what has been achieved so far and provide suggestions for future action.
Some of the Main achievements for wilderness and wild areas by the Wild Europe initiative and its members in 2011 include:
• securing a place for wilderness in the EU Biodiversity Strategy to run until 2021 (campaign by Wild Europe, with others)
• proposing and gaining an EC contract for a Wilderness Register – a cornerstone for future protection (initiative originated & promoted by Wild Europe)
• identifying funding flows from carbon in wetland and forest habitats (initiative by European Nature Trust in tandem with Wild Europe)
• production of the film Wild Carpathia, an innovate approach to promoting conservation, now seen in 120 countries and gaining 150,000+ website hits in the last three months. This helped fuel the WWF initiative for protection of old growth forest in Romania. (film by European Nature Trust)
• successful initiation by WILD (US) of the WILD10 World Wilderness Congress for Autumn 2013 in Spain (Wild Europe on the Executive Committee)
The Main aims for the group in 2012, which are to be discussed at the conference, include:
• to develop and promote a restoration support strategy based around Target 2 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy (restoration of 15% of degraded ecosystems by 2020) and the CBD’s identification of 200,000 klm2 of marginal land where restoration could support global conservation objectives
• to trial ANEP (Audit of Non-extractive Economic Potential) in wilderness and wild areas, linked with the TEEB Phase 3 programme
• to identify & promote implementation opportunities for old growth forest protection in Target 3B Action 12 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy
• to identify further funding opportunities from the PES agenda (Payment for Ecosystem Services)
The above summary from the group is by no means exhaustive.