European Parks Academy 2020


This year’s European Parks Academy will not, like originally intended, take place in Klagenfurt. Instead, we’ll go online and invite all participants to join our new free EPA webinar series.

The dates are currently being prepared. We aim to offer 5 webinars, one each month starting July 2020. Everyone joining the free webinar series will be guaranteed a fixed place for the European Parks Academy 2021 as well as an early bird ticket.

The programme intented for 2020 will be the same in 2021. The free webinar series shall serve as an exchange platform among participants and experts and opportunity to thoroughly prepare for EPA 2021 in Klagenfurt and get even more out of this unique experience.

We'll keep you updated. More information regarding the exact webinar dates will soon be posted here. We are happy to answer your questions via

A unique opportunity for professionals in nature conservation

Learn. Exchange. Enjoy.  



Why join?

The European Parks Academy (EPA) is a unique opportunity to learn more about emerging trends and new approaches in the management of protected areas. The seminars of EPA focus on the practical implementation of international standards (e. g. IUCN, UNESCO, Ramsar), policies and guidelines.

Bring a showcase from your work to this exclusive training. In an intensive 4-day seminar you will work in small groups, discuss with renowned experts to find innovative solutions for your individual challenge. This is your main take-home message, bringing new perspectives into your organisation. Maybe you can even save money which you would have spent for a consultant instead!

Who is this training for?

The academy programme is designed for professionals in nature conservation from all over the world, including administrative and technical staff of protected area management bodies, consultancies and planning companies, NGOs and international institutions, interested scientists or researchers as well as representatives of stakeholder groups having a professional interest in conservation.  

NEW: ECTS credits available!

If you are a student you can be awarded with 3 ECTS credits in the European system after attending the academy and writing an additional seminar paper. Please check with the relevant office of your institution. We we will provide any necessary supporting evidence to help evaluate the worth of the course.

Stay updated

On our Event Facebook Page we'll post regular updates. Come and join us there to get the latest news. You'll receive updates via e-mail as well. You can register for our newsletter via:

>> Register here <<

UPDATE [March 2020]:

Please note that due to covid-19
the European Parks Academy 2020 will be held as a free webinar series.
Everyone joining the free webinar series will be guaranteed a fixed place for the European Parks Academy 2021 as well as an early bird ticket.
The dates of the webinar series are currently being prepared and will be published on our website.
You are welcome to register for the free webinar series already via:


3 Seminar topics

In 2021, the European Parks Academy will take place from 12-18 July again in Klagenfurt with the Lakeside Campus next to the Wörthersee as attractive academy venue with the programme and seminar topics intended for 2020. The new free webinar series in 2020 whis is currently being prepared will serve as an introduction and preparation for participants. Basically, these webinars shall cover the topics of modules presented below.

For the 5th round of the European Parks Academy in 2021, participants will be asked to choose among three different modules:


Seminar A: Enhancing the Value of Natura 2000 Sites for Regional Development

Natura 2000 sites are of outstanding European value. Among European countries, different approaches exist to promote and use the site beyond nature conservation. The training and coaching programme of this seminar will deal with conflicts, challenges, limits and potentials regarding the valorisation of the Natura 2000 Sites for regional development. Participants will learn how to act between limitations and potentials as well as between socio-economic values and a Good Conservation status. Experts from the Natura 2000 Network, IUCN Green List and EUROPRAC Federation will elaborate and discuss these core themes with you. Bring your personal case example to learn from and with each other!

Representatives from international Institutions, IUCN Green List, EUROPARC Federation and Experts from E.C.O. Institute of Ecology


Seminar B: Capacity Development in Protected Areas and other Conserved Territories

Capacity development is about transformation that empower individuals, managers, organisations and communities. Today, more and more is expected from protected areas, such as educating, resource protection, visitor management and research. How do I successfully communicate the vision and values of a protected area? What are strategic approaches for attracting, enabling and informing individuals, organisations, communities as well as a broad audience? Within this seminar these issues will be elaborated with experienced experts from IUCN | WCPA and EUROPARC Federation. Bring home inspiring ideas and tools for increasing the visibility, influence and outreach of your park.

IUCN | WCPA and EUROPARC Federation


Seminar C: Nature Conservation and Human Rights in Protected Areas

Protected areas have different impacts on the lives of local communities and actions to conserve nature are often related to rights of people and their access to natural resources. Many questions remain about how to respect human rights and at the same time implement nature conservation programmes. Our Experts from the the GFA Consulting Group, the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights (CIHR) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) will discuss guidelines, examples and showcases of international importance with you.

GFA Consutling Group as well as representatives of KfW Development Bank*, IIED – International Institute for the Environment and Development* and CIHR – Conservation Initiative on Human Rights* (*to be confirmed)


Excursions 2021: Wienerwald Biosphere Reserve & Donau-Auen National Park - Vienna at its best!

We will visit two conservation areas:
- the last remaining major wetland environment in Central Europe: the Donau-Auen National Park, a nature gem situated between the European capitals Vienna and Bratislava.
-  the Wienerwald Biosphere Reserve, which was designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 2005 by UNESCO. This standing protects the great variety of natural and cultural elements that make this region so unique and valuable.

Plus: The city of Vienna is just around the corner. We'll also explore Austria's renowned capital.



>> Download programme and timetable here << [currently being updated for 2021]



[Update as of March 2020 | Please note: Due to covid-19 in 2020 we'll hold a free webinar series, we'll keep you updated]

The summer academy is situated at the attractive and inspiring facilities of the Klagenfurt Lakeside Campus in Austria. The seminars as well as the conferences will take place on the Lakeside Campus with the Wörthersee and the historic city centre of Klagenfurt next by. An interesting evening program offers the opportunity to discover culture and nature of this beautiful place.

Logistics – accommodation & transport

Participants are responsible to organize their accommodation and transport to and within Klagenfurt for themselves. However, the organizing team will be glad to offer support in all logistic questions.


The venue

The academy venue is located close to the lake Wörthersee in the facilities of the Lakeside Park and the Alpen-Adria University. Around the academy venue, you have everything you need: several accommodations options, restaurants, supermarkets, possibilities to walk etc. The city center is 4-5 km away (see map above) and can be easily reached by bike or bus. Bike rental can be organized.



There are many accomodation possibilities in and around Klagenfurt. As the summer season is usually very busy, please make sure to book early enough!

Pension Wachau - reasonable prices (46-69 Euro incl. breakfast) and is located close to the academy venue

Youth Hostel Klagenfurt - close to the venue, shared (24 Euro) and single rooms (32 Euro), advanced payment for booking required.

Seepark Hotel - close to the venue (5 min walk), approx. 100-150 Euro.

Hotel Gretl - next to the lake in Krumpendorf (5 km from the venue), can be reached by train, bike or taxi, approx. 50 Euro.

Hotel Weidenhof - close to the venue (10-15 min walk), approx. 70 Euro.

AirBnB - private rooms or flats in and around Klagenfurt.



Klagenfurt can be reached by plane (to Klagenfurt airport), train (e.g. flight to Vienna, then 4 hours by train) or by bus (e.g. flight to Ljublijana, 2 hours by bus).

Train connections in Austria:
Shuttle bus Ljublijana – Klagenfurt:
Taxi in Klagenfurt: +43 463 311 11



Participants can choose between the following training package (early bird discount before 30 April):

The fee includes: lunch and one welcome dinner at the beginning of each module; all costs related to food, transport and accommodation during the excursion; evening program (e.g. welcome event, excursion to the lake, guided city tour, etc.)

Not covered are: accommodation (except 1 night during the excursions), dinner during seminars, transport to and within Klagenfurt.


How to register

Please download the registration form attached (on the top of this page). Fill in your personal information and select your preferred training package and respective training elements (can be done electronically after download). Print out and sign the completed registration form and send a scanned version to Registration deadline is the 30th June 2020. Early bird discounts apply until 30 April. Your participation will be valid with the transfer of the fee, after you have received a confirmation mail with the invoice.



There are many national and international scholarships and grants available. Please check with your institution or government. One example might be the WWFs' Professional Development Grant.




... for early bird registration: 30 April 2020
... for registration: 30 June 2020


Course fee...



European Parks Academy
c/o E.C.O. Insitute of Ecology
Lakeside B07b, 2nd floor
9020 Klagenfurt , Austria

Programme directorate

Dr. Andrej Sovince | IUCN WCPA Regional Vice-Chair Europe, University of Primorska

Mag. Dr. Michael Jungmeier | CEO of E.C.O. Institute of Ecology, Director of Master Programme "Management of Conservation Areas"

Programme coordination

Lisa Wolf BSc MSc | Sustainable development, trainings & education |

Programme assistence

Caroline Fiedler | Office |