U.S. Deputy Secretary of Interior, Lynn Scarlett and the Deputy Director of IUCN member
US National Park Service, Lindi L. Harvey, welcomed Ignace Schops, the European winner of the Goldman 2008 Environmental Prize.
Founder and Director of the IUCN Belgian Member Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland (RLKM), Mr.Schops led the effort to establish the first and only national park of Belgium in the midst of a densely populated region. In his acceptance speech, the European Goldman Prize Winner said: “We as citizens of wealthy countries must take responsibility for biodiversity. Why should we ask developing countries to protect the rainforests if we cannot protect our own environment?”
The model he and his team used to create the national park, uniting all levels of society and raising more than US$90 million, shows that local society can only benefit from sustainable management of nature. IUCN is hoping to apply this model into the larger world of protected area conservation. In the course of the visit it was agreed to pursue closer cooperation with the US Department of Interior and the US National Park Service.