GREEN CROSS SPAIN ADDRESSES SPORTS IN NATIONAL PARKS

Green Cross Spain links Sport and Biodiversity

At an event at the High Council for Sport Headquarters on 8 July, GC Spain officially launched the new project “Sustainable Sport Practices for Biodiversity Conservation”. The project seeks to improve sport management in natural areas, specifically in protected areas. In addition, the project aims to create a dynamic tool that can be used by both managers of protected areas and athletes practicing sports outdoors in protected areas.

Accordingly, GC Spain has created a Sport and Biodiversity section on the Sustainable Sport website that shows the main aspects that should be considered when practicing sport in natural areas, as well as related documentation, applicable laws and relevant news. Furthermore as the project invites sports entities working in natural areas to develop a Sustainability Action Plan, the website serves as a useful communication instrument between promoters of sport activities and managers of natural protected areas, encouraging collaboration in developing activities in a responsible and manner. The website also includes information on general aspects of nine of the Spanish National Parks and the sports that can be practiced in each.
The launch event included Ana Leiva, Director of Biodiversity Foundation; José Luis Terreros; Deputy Director of Sport and Health of the High Council Sport; Elena Cebrian, Assistant Director of the Autonomous Organization of National Parks; Javier Puertas from Europarc- Spain; Angel Luis del Castillo, President of Green Cross Spain and Alberto Fraguas, Executive Director of Green Cross Spain.
During the event, Mr. Terreros highlighted the importance of projects like this one and referred to the challenge of developing Agenda 21 for Spanish Sport. Ms. Leiva expressed the necessity that the whole society, including sports, collaborates in the conservation of biodiversity. Both Mr. Terreros and Mr. del Castillo expressed the power of sport to communicate and transmit social values, such as conservation of biodiversity.
Furthermore, Ms. Cebrian pointed out that “the knowledge of nature is the best way to ensure its protection and this project has the power to improve the knowledge of the natural protected areas.”
Javier Puertas stressed the usefulness of this tool as an information source, and as the starting point to collaborate in the management of sport activities in natural protected areas. Alberto Fraguas concluded by saying that “sports promotes the quality of life and there is no quality of life without respecting the environment”.
GC Spain developed the project in collaboration with the Biodiversity Foundation, which is supported by the Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs and with the support of the High Council for Sport, the Autonomous Organization of National Parks and Europarc- Spain.
The idea for the project was elaborated in the National Strategy on Sport and Sustainability developed by Green Cross Spain in 2007 with the support of Biodiversity Foundation and the collaboration of the High Council for Sport. The national strategy consulted several managers of natural protected areas, including National Parks, 86 sport entities, national and regional sport federations and sports and adventure tourism companies on their experiences in the field of sport in natural areas.

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