Launched at the conclusion of a high-level gathering in Vienna, the European Rewilding Coalition brings together Europe’s leading practical rewilding organisations. By working together, the coalition membership will accelerate landscape-scale rewilding across the continent.
Taking European nature recovery to the next level
A wilder Europe that delivers diverse benefits to nature and people is a step closer with the formation of a new European Rewilding Coalition. More than 45 leaders from leading European rewilding organisations came together in Vienna this week to map out future priorities for rewilding in Europe, and to identify ways to work together to amplify impact and scale up nature recovery across the continent. The coalition document was signed by organisations from 16 different European countries on the final day of the event, which was convened by Rewilding Europe and facilitated by Dr. Paul Jepson.
Four years ago, a range of leading European rewilding initiatives came together and issued a Call to Action for a Wilder Europe, launching a set of unifying rewilding principles to guide and promote this emerging approach to nature recovery in Europe. It also saw the establishment of Rewilding Spain, which is now leading a large rewilding initiative in the Iberian Highlands.
The new coalition – which is the first of its kind in Europe – will see a wider group of initiatives work even more closely together to scale up practical rewilding going forwards. Participants in the Vienna gathering discussed a number of key topics related to this cause, such as enhancing land access, engaging strategic partners, and demonstrating and catalysing rewilding.
Kevin Cumming, Rewilding Director at Rewilding Britain, spoke about community land purchase as part of a wider panel.
“It was great to have to share the important role communities can and should play in rewilding. With people at the heart of rewilding, the most exciting and successful rewilding initiatives empower and inspire individuals, groups and communities as much as they protect and restore nature, climate and wildlife.”
Why do we need to scale up rewilding?
Europe’s rewilding movement has developed rapidly over the last decade, and everyone involved should be proud of the progress that has been made. Yet there is still a huge amount of work to be done to maximise the benefits that rewilding can deliver.
Rewilding Europe Executive Director Frans Schepers launched the gathering in Vienna with some insights into the current state of European rewilding. He underlined the fact that rewilding is gaining traction as a social movement and growing increasingly popular as it captures people’s hearts and minds. While European nature is hugely degraded, rewilding can create the conditions for nature to heal itself in a way that is cost-effective and available right now. As a means of recovering the health and functionality of nature at scale, it represents a unique and game-changing opportunity to tackle the twin biodiversity and climate crises, and to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change – such as drought, catastrophic wildfire and flooding.
Today, the European rewilding movement has never been stronger, with practical rewilding initiatives mushrooming across Europe. By joining forces, our generation now has a unique opportunity to upgrade European nature for the very first time, but we need to act now.
“With so many countries represented in Vienna, it was hugely exciting to meet such a diverse range of rewilding practitioners already carrying out great work across Europe – to create and strengthen friendships, alignment, motivation, and synergy,” says Frans Schepers. “We can only restore nature at scale in Europe if we work with nature itself to make that happen. This needs a paradigm shift in the way we view nature, as an ally in achieving our ambitions. I’m optimistic this will happen.”
The new European Rewilding Coalition brings together a collaboration of diverse yet like-minded organisations from across Europe. Collectively, they share a mission to enable and practice rewilding at scale in their respective countries and across the continent. Working together, the new coalition will drive the rewilding movement forwards and amplify landscape-scale nature recovery by:
- Joining forces to accelerate rewilding on the ground, build coalitions, and inspire and enable others to join the rewilding movement.
- Uniting to speak with a clear and powerful voice on rewilding-related topics.
- Aligning approaches, methodologies, principles, and positioning.
- Sharing knowledge and expertise to enable best practices, overcome challenges, and maximise the positive impact of rewilding.
“The coalition will result in a stronger, more coherent, better-networked rewilding movement,” says Amy Duthie, Rewilding Europe’s Head of Upscaling. “Moving forwards, open communications between all members, task forces, and in-person events will enable the group to stay aligned and accelerate rewilding across Europe. By focusing on the restoration of nature at scale and fostering public and political support, we can pave the way to a future where nature thrives and communities flourish.”