We will be celebrating three very important nature-related events in the upcoming days – the European Natura 2000 Day (21 May), the International Day for Biological Diversity (22 May), and the European Day of Parks (24 May). Slovenia is one of the most biodiverse countries in Europe. This is also witnessed by the fact that our country has the largest share of Natura 2000 areas among all the EU member states, comprising approx. 37 per cent of the country’s area. We are making great efforts of preserving nature in Slovenia in our secured areas, which comprise 14 per cent of Slovenia’s area.
The Slovenian Natura 2000 award at the 30th anniversary of Natura 2000
This year’s European Natura 2000 Day, which is celebrated every 21 May, marks the 30th anniversary of the LIFE and Natura 2000 programmes in the EU and the 18th anniversary of Natura 2000 in Slovenia. We have carried out more than 90 Natura 2000 projects in Slovenia since 2004. To commemorate the important milestones of the European protection of nature, the LIFE-IP NATURA.SI partners introduced the first Slovenian Natura 2000 award. The finalists and winners of the Slovenian Natura 2000 award, who will be known in autumn 2022, will be an example of good practices in managing the Natura 2000 areas with long-term effects.
Natura 2000 is a social commitment on nature protection
There are currently 18 Natura 2000 projects active at 80 Natura 2000 areas, which are meant to preserve and improve species and their habitats and which unite over 50 organisations. Organisations of various sectors are active in Natura 2000 projects: protection of nature, forestry, agriculture, water management, tourism and local self-government who cooperate with landowners in Natura 2000.
The excellence of Slovenian organisations and projects for Natura 2000 on the European scale is also reflected in the eight projects which won awards and were among the finalists of the LIFE award, as well as five projects which were among the finalists of the European Natura 2000 award.
International Day for Biological Diversity
In 1992 the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was concluded in Rio de Janeiro. The programme of the United Nations (UN) for the environment (UNEP) declared 22 May as the international day for biological diversity to commemorate the start of CBD’s implementation. This day serves as an opportunity to think about how to increase the understanding and awareness on issues concerning biological diversity. Slovenia has been commemorating this day since 1996 when it became a partner in CBD.
This year there will be a UN summit on biological diversity which will especially focus on the urgency of taking measures at the highest levels in support of the global framework for biological diversity since 2020. CBD’s contribution to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will also be assessed, as well as the implementation of the vision on biological diversity by 2050.
The slogan of this year’s 22 May is “Building a shared future for all life”, which stems from the slogan of the 15th Conference of CBD partners “Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth” and in support of the adoption of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The adoption of this document, which will define global goals for biodiversity until 2050 and detailed goals until 2030, is expected to be carried out at the upcoming conference of the partner states in China.
The slogan for this year’s European Day of Parks is “We are nature – rethink, restore, reconnect”
The European Day of Parks is a commemoration day for protected areas in Europe, which was introduced by the EUROPARC association in 1999 to commemorate protected areas in all of Europe. It celebrates the establishment of the first national parks in Europe – a set of nine parks established in Sweden in 1909.
The EUROPARC association were thinking: “What would we be without nature? It is part of our very existence. We depend on it for our mental and physical health, production of food, the air we breathe, etc. But our attitude towards it and our treatment of nature are in an imbalance. Not only are we losing natural areas as a result, but also the feeling of belonging. This is why it is time to rethink, restore and reconnect with nature! This is what we are asking you to do on the European Day of Parks.”
Protected areas in Slovenia operate under the common Nature Parks of Slovenia association.
The Nature Parks of Slovenia was established in 2011 and currently includes fifteen managers of protected areas. They are connected with the common interest of preserving nature, ensuring balance between an efficient protection of nature, cultural tradition and on the other hand the various activities within the protected areas. Protected areas or parks, even reserves, are not areas which would completely prohibit people from entering. These are just areas where a sound and thorough consideration is required about every activity of man, even tourism.
The Nature Parks of Slovenia association has prepared a series of events for the European Day of Parks, for example tours, hikes, cycling trips, lectures and exhibitions.