Parks protagonists of sustainable development

At the start of the X Federparchi Congress

Five key words for the X Congress of Parks: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership as indicators of the close relationship that exists between the protection of biodiversity and the development of local communities and, above all, the ability of protected areas to be reference models for sustainable development that safeguards habitats and contributes to the mitigation and adaptation of changes climatic.

In the introductory report of the two days scheduled in Rome, the outgoing president of Federparchi, Giampiero Sammuri, reaffirmed the importance of protecting both animal and plant biodiversity for human survival and, in this perspective, the function performed by protected natural areas, which in Italy cover a total of 22% of the territory and 16% of the sea surface.

Sammuri recalled the recent decisions taken at the Cop15 in Montreal with indications for 2030 and 2050 on the subject of protection of nature and ecosystems. Of particular importance is the goal of bringing protected natural areas worldwide to 30%, both on land and at sea, such as the international commitment established in Canada to interrupt and bring the rate of threatened species to 10%. The global objectives are already an integral part of the European Strategy for Biodiversity to 2030, which includes specific commitments to increase protected areas in EU countries. In this regard, Sammuri recalled how, in Italy, this objective is within reach, at least for protected areas on land. “It would be enough to start with the ready-made parks that are only waiting for the definitive green light, such as those of Portofino and Matese, or that of Val Grande, where all the municipalities are asking for enlargement”, says Sammuri.

The outgoing president of Federparchi underlined the importance of the tool IUCN Red Lists“a rigorous scientific tool that should guide conservation policies. The priority in safeguarding species comes from its level of threat, if a species is less threatened, as in the case of the wolf, it must always be protected but it is right to concentrate efforts on those at greater risk of extinction, even if perhaps they are less likeable and captivating species, as in the case of insects. We need more science and less emotion”.

Sammuri dwelt at length on parks as models of sustainable development, recalling how, after the pandemic, the tourist presence in protected areas has grown again. In this regard, the president underlined the importance of the European Charter of Sustainable tourism as an operational tool for managing flows in the name of sustainability and respect for nature as well as the needs of local communities.

The report then moved on to the political-institutional aspects concerning the park management. Sammuri recalled the voids that are created in governance, “when entities are left without top management or with incomplete bodies, management effectiveness suffers, rapid and punctual mechanisms are needed for the appointments of bodies”. Just as, he added, “the administrative set-up needs to be reviewed for good budget management, for optimizing the use of personnel, where there is a shortage of specialized professionals”. He also focused on one of the main criticalities of park authorities: the lack of connection between national and regional parks. “To date, the two subjects ignore each other from an institutional point of view – he said – but nature knows no borders and administrative differences; it is urgent to reactivate the three-year plan for protected areas provided for by law 394 which also allows the regions to be involved” .

Sammuri also cited the Pnrr inviting the government to avoid “random” or “unopened box” distributions of funds: “it is necessary to share choices, also for equipment and technologies, with the managing bodies to avoid waste.”