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Parks for the Planet- Nature and Childhood: From Research and Activism to Policies for Global Change 06 Mar - 10 Mar, 2018
SUSTAINABILITYParks for the Planet- Nature and Childhood: From Research and Activism to Policies for Global Change06 Mar - 10 Mar, 2018



LOCATIONSchloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg, AustriaMAPFEE AND REGISTRATION INFORMATIONRegistration Deadline
01 Jan, 1970


    In 2018, the Parks for the Planet Forum will focus on Nature and Childhood: From Research and Activism to Policies for Global Change. Around the world, access to nature and green space for children growing up in urban environments is increasingly becoming an issue of equity and social justice. If children grow up without a sense of the importance and wonder of nature, they will not fight for it in the future. If children cannot play outdoors and in safety, their physical and mental health will suffer, affecting their life chances at school and beyond.

    There is compelling evidence on the many benefits that access to nature and outdoor play bring to children and the wider communities in which they live. These include better learning outcomes, improved health and well-being, and the development of a broad range of social and emotional skills. Return on such investments is much higher if begun in early childhood. However, governments around the world still over-invest in corrective policies for older children, and under-invest in ongoing early years’ initiatives.

    The 2018 meeting will build on recommendations from the Forum’s 2017 meeting on The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play and focus on four targeted interventions:

    • Play as a Lever for Economic and Social Resilience: Embed nature in everyday places used by children (schools, backyards, parks, playgrounds, streets) to make the city into a natural outdoor classroom.
    • Designing Parks for Community Well-Being: Involve children in designing and planning green spaces for recreation, education, inspiration and health, to give them ownership and pride in their communities, schools and parks.
    • Influencing the Next Generation of Conservation Leaders: Build curiosity and care for nature by greening school grounds and involving children with community gardens.
    • Establishing Cross-Sectoral Partnerships: Build cross-sectoral and multi-level partnerships for an inclusive culture of health in cities.

    Participant Profile

    This cutting-edge program aims to convene around 40 thought-leaders, change-makers and policy makers from different regions, sectors, and disciplines, who have the capacity to bring about significant policy change in their communities. The group will include representatives from sectors such as: government, civil service and policy; business, finance and real estate development; urban design and planning; construction, technology and green infrastructure; education, academia and research; sport and recreation; environmental conservation; physical and mental health; civil society; early childhood development, parenting and child care; and media.

    Participants will come together on equal terms to explore the complex challenges and growing opportunities for innovative human-centered approaches to design, policy and practice in urban environments.

    Session Format

    The highly interactive program will be structured around an inspiring mix of presentations, cross sector panel discussions, curated conversations, and small group work.  The process seeks to combine theory, policy and practice across sectoral silos, opening up new perspectives and intensive learning opportunities.

    Participants will explore cross-cutting questions during plenary sessions featuring presentations and discussions led by groundbreaking practitioners. They will also work intensively in smaller focus groups that will meet several times over the course of the program to focus on specific themes and assignments in greater depth.

    Key Questions

    • What do successful child-centered urban policies look like around the world?
    • How can the private sector and urban developers be effectively engaged in this agenda?
    • How can nature and outdoor learning be better integrated into time spent in pre-school and school?
    • What works to build and sustain genuine multi-stakeholder engagement?
    • How can we better communicate to policy makers the case for investing in comprehensive strategies for children, nature and play?

    Outcomes and Impact

    • Participants will jointly develop a ‘Salzburg Statement’ recommending scalable policies and practices to help local and national governments and business and community  stakeholders enable all children to grow up with nature and opportunities for outdoor play.
    • Following the program, there will be a series of interactive questions on social media, webinars and podcasts to discuss and disseminate the Salzburg Statement and multiply its impact in different settings.
    • An impact report will subsequently be published summarizing the program as well as highlights from the social media and webinar debates that follow it.

    Multi-year Series


    Salzburg Global Seminar’s annual meeting of the Parks for the Planet Forum explores critical intersections between nature and human development, with a particular focus on the impacts of urbanization and reduced access to nature on health and well-being – especially for the next generation.

    The Forum is a flagship ten-year program launched in 2015 with IUCN-International Union for Conservation of Nature and an expanding partner coalition.  It aims to connect the 2014 and 2024 World Parks Congresses and advance interdisciplinary collaboration to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.

    The Forum supports cross-sector conservation strategies as critical investments for human health and well-being, climate resilience, nature-based solutions and social and economic innovation. We seek to build a core group of ambassadors and champions from key cities and governments, the private sector, finance and media to accelerate transformative leadership and action across the world.


    The Parks for the Planet Forum is a collaborative platform convened by Salzburg Global Seminar to position nature at the heart of human health and well-being, security and prosperity. Embedded in the IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme, the Forum advances action, investment and leadership to implement The Promise of Sydney and the Sustainable Development Goals. It combines high-level meetings on selected topics with an evolving multi-year work program that connects pioneering approaches across sectors and scales. Key topics addressed to date include:

    The Promise of Sydney is a ten-year road map adopted by 6000 participants from 160 countries at the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014. Affirming that “nature is the ultimate foundation of life, our economy and our aspirations, and underpins our human existence, cultural identity, health and prosperity,” it positions protected and conserved areas, including transboundary protected areas, as critical investments for planetary resilience and human well-being. The promise is implemented through twelve innovative approaches to transformative change, supported by open-access Solutions and Promises from different stakeholders.

    IUCN Health & Wellbeing Working Group

    The IUCN WCPA Health and Well-being Specialist Group promotes the health and well-being benefits of nature across the conservation, health and other sectors. For more information click here