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European Botanic Gardens - New Joint Actions for Conservation

Volume 2 Number 4 - December 1994
Blaise Du Puy & Peter Wyse Jackson

On 13 and 14 May, 1994 a meeting was held of representatives from a number of major European botanic gardens, on the theme "Wild Plant Conservation - developing the role of European Botanic Gardens".

The meeting was held at the Helga Masthoff Tennis Hotel, Palmitos Park, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, hosted by Palmitos Park, Maspalomas, and the Jardin Botanico Canario "Viera y Clavijo", Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, organized by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and the International Association of Botanic Gardens (IABG).

The aim of the meeting was to plan Europe-wide initiatives for botanic gardens. The participants agreed to establish a new initiative for European botanic gardens entitled the BGCI/IABG Joint Liaison - European Botanic Gardens Consortium.

The meeting recognized that botanic gardens in Europe have an important role to play:

  • in developing national action plans under the Convention on Biological Diversity and Sustainable Development.
  • in promoting the implementation of the Habitats Directive, the Bern Convention, the Ramsar Convention, the Washington Convention (CITES) and the Alpine Convention, at international and national levels.

The meeting proposed that these could be achieved by formulating a European Botanic Gardens Action Plan to help to develop a framework for concerted action by botanic gardens within Europe. It was agreed that botanic garden activities should be considered in a wide sense, to include conservation, environmental education, ethnobotany, amenity horticulture, landscape and habitat restoration and management, species recovery, research, tourism and many other fields.

The meeting underlined the importance of helping botanic gardens in their collaboration with botanical institutes and networks in other regions to compose National Action Plans in response to Agenda 21 and associated Conventions. A major concern of the participants underlined the importance of raising the profile of botanic gardens within the European Union and promoting wider recognition of their role, importance, potential and programmes and therefore to attract new resources in support of their actions.

The meeting was held as part of ongoing cooperation between IABG and BGCI, as defined by the joint Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two organizations in Wuxi, China in October, 1993.

A second meeting of the Consortium was held on 5 and 6 November at the Palmengarten, Frankfurt am Main, Germany hosted by the Palmengarten.

At this meeting it was agreed that the first moves to begin the development of an electronic network for botanic gardens should be initiated. This work will be co-ordinated by BGCI towards the launch of a new BG-NET in 1995. Such a network would be an important of making data or information available, and to broaden the Consortium to include many more institutions. A draft contents for the European Botanic Garden Action Plan was discussed and approved. Work on the preparation of the draft Plan will take place over the coming six months.