One year after its establishment, the EU Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores met for their second annual meeting on 2 June 2015 in Brussels. Representatives from ELO – European Landowners‘ Organization, Joint representatives of Finnish and Swedish reindeer herders, FACE – The European Federation of Associations for Hunting & Conservation, CIC – The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation, IUCN – The World Conservation Union, European Union Representative Office, WWF – Worldwide Fund for Nature, European Policy Office and EUROPARC Federation met to discuss their work over the previous year and their future plans. Amongst the items on a packed agenda, was the first version of the Platform’s communication plan. The Platform also discussed socio-economic aspects of human – large carnivore coexistence and will further follow it up at its future meetings.
A number of case studies gathered from a range of EU Member States were reviewed. The Platform recognized the relevance of the Rural Development Programmes in supporting livestock protection measures and has decided to follow the process through its members. In addition, FACE asked to address some hunting related issues at a further date.
The first regional workshop of the Platform, held in Pravets, Bulgaria and hosted by CIC as a side event to their Annual General Assembly was particularly welcomed by the Platform. Around 120 stakeholders, including a large number of hunters from the region, discussed three key issues: transboundary cooperation, moving from conflicts to coexistence, and prioritized key issues for large carnivores in the Balkan and Carpathian regions. The Platform members were informed by Finnish Reindeer Herders’ Association of their plans to convene a second regional workshop in Finland later this year.
The co-chairs of the Platform, the European Commission and ELO expressed their gratitude to Members for their contribution to an interesting meeting and continued willingness to work constructively together. Konstantin Kostopoulos co-chairing for ELO said: “Participants today have shown their willingness to make an effort to communicate with each other and their members on the range of issues involving coexistence with large carnivores. What we need now is for all Members to use their own channels of communication to reach a wider audience”.
Pia Bucella for the European Commission added: “We were delighted to see the engagement in the first regional workshop and the “constructive disagreement” between participants. The same coexistence issues may be faced under different European cultures and ecological conditions. Therefore, listening to the local perspectives on Large Carnivore issues is invaluable.”
Further information is available on the website of the European Commission.