In the week before the World Wilderness Congress in Spain, WRi teamed up with PAN Parks to devise a resolution for a Wilderness Convention for Europe, and then submit it to Congress. The Resolution has now been in included in the Congress list, and is now open for public comment.
WRi along with PAN Parks was instrumental in ensuring that the draft Vision for a Wilder Europe developed in the run-up to the Congress promoted the idea of a new European Wilderness Convention that would underpin strengthening of existing protection of the last areas of wilderness in Europe, and that there was a strong focus in the document on natural processes through giving space and freedom for ecosystem development and function.
The need for a Convention arises from the growing realisation that Europe does have areas with a wilderness characteristic that need adequate protection, but that it is unlikely that countries will seek to amend their national protected area legislation for redefining strictly protected areas as wilderness, even if their language allows them to do so. Europe therefore runs the risk of missing out on a powerful and inspirational means for an appreciation of its wild nature that comes from having a common understanding of wilderness. The Resolution calls upon all European Countries to join together in a European Wilderness Convention based on a framework that incorporates the wilderness definition developed by Wild Europe, and has a ‘model law’ for wilderness as a protocol for its protection derived from existing national legislation for strict protection. The framework will include a commitment on Contracting Countries to explore the possibility of establishing additional strict wilderness reserves in their territories in line with the protocol, and to incorporate them in the European Wilderness Preservation System developed by PAN Parks. WRi will be working with a number of colleagues across Europe to develop the idea of the Convention, and will bring forward a draft next year.
WRi also submitted a proposal for a Resolution for seeking a status for non-intervention in nature conservation in England. There will be an explanation of this when the Resolution is posted on the Congress website.