From Barents to the whole European Green Belt

9th Pan-European Green Belt Conference was held from 31st October to 3rd November 2016 in Koli, Finland.

More than 125 participants from 24 countries were building networks and learning about cooperation and activities along the European Green Belt. Also, many BPAN partners were present in the conference.

Focus was on conserving the ecological network of high-value natural and cultural landscapes while respecting the economic, social and cultural needs of local communities.

The conference contributed to the development of the European Green Belt as part of Green Infrastructure in Europe. The participants were informed about the possibilities and goals of the EU’s Green Infrastructure Strategy launched in 2013. Germany’s GI planning was introduced with advanced planning and co-operation experiences but also with the lack of set time frame, legal binding planning and finance constraining the establishment of the GI network.

The European Green Belt Initiative strategy was further developed based on the achievements of the previous Pan-European Conference in 2014. There, four fields of action were issued as the focus of the work: capacity building, knowledge exchange, (EU-) lobbying and awareness raising and education. Practical activities on these topics were discussed in Koli.

Participants of the 9th Pan-European Green Belt Conference in Koli, Finland © European Green Belt Association

The participants improved their awareness on the specific features of the Fennoscandian Green Belt from a presentation of its history and special characteristics as well as the strategy launched for its establishment.

BPAN II phase project was presented as one of the best practices at European Green Belt. Anna Kuhmonen from the Finnish Environment Institute gave a presentation at the plenary as well as in a poster session.

The Barents – nature has no borders exhibition was put up at the conference to show beautiful sights from the northern part of the Belt.

The background information and the results of the conference can be found on the web page of the Finnish Ministry of the Environment and in the newsletter from the European Green Belt Association.