Delegations from four EU countries find inspiration on visit to Swiss National Park
Switzerland has gained valuable experience with national parks, sustainable tourism and biodiversity conservation. It is now sharing this knowledge with partner states as part of the second Swiss contribution, including the recent study trip that SECO and its partners organised for experts from Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Estonia.
With approximately 20 nature parks, Switzerland has extensive experience and expertise to share regarding sustainable tourism in and around national parks and protected areas. This knowledge has been attracting interest in central and eastern Europe: Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Estonia aim to promote sustainable tourism, better manage their national and regional parks and protect biodiversity with support from the second Swiss contribution towards European cohesion.
SECO and the Swiss National Park organised a study trip to Zernez, Bern and Birmensdorf, where leading representatives from administration, science, environmental protection and business presented the latest Swiss findings and research results. They used practical examples to illustrate Swiss parks' activities and management practices, and showed ways to strike a balance between tourism and nature conservation – and where these strategies reach their limits.
Laying the foundations for Swiss partnerships
As part of Switzerland's contribution, the country is making its expertise available to support partner states in conceptualising and implementing their own programmes. While on the study trip to Switzerland, the visiting delegations were able to network with Swiss experts and lay the foundations for further discussions and longer-term partnerships. Learning from colleagues was an important pillar of the study week, as was direct exchange between the delegations. These included officials from environmental ministries, heads of national parks and other specialists.
Agreements reached on cohesion activities with all 13 partner states
SECO and the SDC are working together on projects funded by the Confederation's cohesion credit of CHF 1.102 billion, to be implemented by 2029. The contribution to 13 EU member states is an investment in Europe's security, stability and prosperity. It is intended to strengthen cohesion while reducing economic and social inequalities. Thanks to this contribution, Switzerland is strengthening and deepening its bilateral relations with these countries and with the EU as a whole.
Switzerland has negotiated the content of specific programmes and projects with the individual partner countries. From mid-September, all 13 cohesion partner states will have the necessary basis to work out the agreed programmes in detail and implement them by 2029.