Society & Education
Parks are born from the willpower of their communities, whose ideas should also help shape the future of the whole region. In Switzerland, it is up to local communities to decide if they wish to be part of a nature park. This «grass-roots» democratic approach is unique in the world.
Parks bring their inhabitants closer together. Municipalities and stakeholders formulate their objectives in the park charter and work hand in hand to implement them, a process that strengthens the region's identity.
Example: UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch
Governance – the inhabitants decide their future
With its strategy based on cooperation, participation and communication the UNESCO biosphere Entlebuch has become a model for all biosphere reserves in the world. The future of the region is not designed on a drawing board but is shaped through professional dialogue and hand in hand cooperation, knowledge, craft and joy. Living in the biosphere is a permanent, open, searching, learning and developing process.
We promote sustainable development by creating structures and cooperation processes within and between sectors, at both local and regional levels. This improves the regional material cycles and boosts the creation of value. The Entlebuch method encourages innovation and cooperation and helps speed up processes, thus generating a momentum of its own. At the same time, this method calls for personal initiative. As a result, the inhabitants see the biosphere as an opportunity and understand how they can use their skills and know-how to make profit. No one can manage land, water and natural resources or develop a region in a sustainable manner better than its inhabitants. The bigger and deeper the bond and love to the living space, the more efficient the process.
«People with a strong bond to their land are far more important for a region's development than any top experts' network».
Theo Schnider, Director of the UNESCO biosphere Entlebuch
Swiss parks organise a number of cultural events, from staged guided tours, festivals and writing contests to cooking courses and concerts.
Education and awareness for sustainable development is a core mission of the parks. Consciousness and understanding for nature, society, economy and their complex interplay should hereby be encouraged and demonstrated by practical examples on location. The parks offer a varied program with exhibitions, excursions, evening events, discussion panels and project weeks over a wide range of topics.