lifelineMDD - International workshop Participation of the Local Population and Stakeholders in European UNESCO Biosphere Reserves


Workshop Participation of the Local Population and Stakeholders in European UNESCO Biosphere Reserves was organized from 5th to 8th of July 2021 at Elbe River Landscape Biosphere Reserve, Lenzen (Germany) by Michael Succow Stiftung. Representatives of the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation (IRSNC) participated in the workshop and presented their work.

The subject of the workshop was the participation of the local population and local stakeholders, including the youth, in Biosphere Reserves. Lecturers from Austria, France, Germany, Netherlands and Slovenia presented successful practices and case studies of participatory processes in the fields of land use, youth engagement, citizen science and education for sustainable development. Workshop attendees were employees of BRs, universities, nature conservation institutions, independent researchers and nature conservation NGOs, from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands and Slovenia. Case study lecture sessions intertwined with interactive workshop sessions, a stakeholder role-playing board game and two field trips. 

Katja Berden presented a contribution titled Overview of the Stakeholder Participatory Process in the Mura River Biosphere Reserve. The focus of the presentation was on stakeholder inclusion in decision making throughout different projects in the Mura River Biosphere Reserve area, which contributed to the implementation of the ongoing lifelineMDD project and its forerunner coopMDD. All the know-how on stakeholder participation, from past projects of the Mura River Biosphere Reserve area, is benefiting the implementation of the lifelineMDD’s work package T4 – Stakeholder platforms for sustainable cooperation. 

The workshop offered insight and new ideas on how to approach and complement existing practices of stakeholder participation in our project. Presented practical examples from different biosphere reserves based on science on group sociology, effective participation techniques, methodology and experience. A difference between focus on decision-making (policy) level stakeholders and including local population (landowners) and youth in decision-making emerged during the discussion on practices from different biosphere reserves. We will use the gained knowledge in the implementation of work package T4 and share it with all project partners. Journey to the workshop also offered an opportunity to visit briefly the Haus der Flüsse information centre.

Photos by IRSNC

Programme co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)