The workshop on the Participation of the local population and stakeholders in European UNESCO Biosphere Reserves took place from 5th – 8th July 2021, at the Elbe River Landscape Biosphere Reserve, Lenzen, Germany. The workshop series running from 2019-2022 is managed by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) with the financial support of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and organized by the Michael Succow Foundation and Nationale Naturlandschaften e.V.
The workshop brought different practitioners, scientists, and people from youth MaB representatives together to enable the exchange of best practices, ideas and knowledge. The workshop participants came from different countries, namely, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Latvia, Austria, Slovenia. The experts presented their findings on the essence of participation, which was accompanied by the case studies by the practitioners. The case studies showed successful participation processes, initiatives and approaches, which spurred lively talks that continued during coffee, lunch breaks and in the evenings. Last but not least, the workshop included excursions to the dyke relocation site at Elbe river guided by BUND and to Rudower lake in the Elbe River Landscape Brandenburg Biosphere.
As it was a workshop where participants were physically present, the opportunities it created for networking and further exchange of ideas and best practices were highly valued by our participants. Nevertheless, as the workshop was organized during Coronavirus times, the strict regulations were followed by everyone, like wearing masks inside the facilities, keeping distance in sitting arrangements, etc.