Conservation programs will only be successful and effective if they are relevant and supported by citizens. Conservation experts are increasingly recognizing this and trying to place it higher on their agendas. Earlier this year IUCN and the Quebec-Labrador Foundation/Atlantic Centre for the Environment held a training session on civic engagement in nature conservation. It took place in Knin, Croatia, within the Environment for People of the Dinaric Arc project.
The training introduced the participants of the cross-border project sites of the Dinaric Arc region to the concept of civic engagement in natural resource management and inspired them to take responsibility for the environment they live in. The training emphasized the benefits of civic engagement, proving it to be a valuable approach to sustaining rural communities and their traditional landscapes in transboundary protected areas. It provided representatives from civil society groups, the national parks administration, municipalities and local communities with many useful methods of civic engagement. Among these methods were facilitation, communication, consultation, idea generation, prioritization, collaboration, and personal connection to natural landscapes. Participants learned from examples of civic engagement in protected landscape areas from other regions of the world such as North America, where this is a commonly used method.
For more information please contact Veronika Ferdinandova, Biodiversity Project Officer at IUCN Programme Office for South Eastern Europe.