The benefits of European Wilderness Quality Standards

We may not be aware of them, but we use standards every day, in all aspects of our daily lives – in communications, media, healthcare, food, transport, construction, furniture, energy.

Some standards have been around for hundreds or even thousands of years – weights and measures, for example. It is also thought that the railway Standard Gauge is derived from the grooves worn into the ground by Roman chariots and carts. Users of carriages and wagons in later centuries found that the ride was more comfortable if the wheels fitted into those grooves. Then, when the first railways adopted the available carriages and wagons, the track spacing was determined by their wheels. That spacing was thus ‘standardized’, saving all the additional cost and effort of devising a new ‘standard’.’

European Wilderness Quality Standards provide:

  • International acceptance
  • Compliance with the Wild Europe Initiative “Definitions and Criteria for Wilderness and Wild Areas”
  • Compliance with the IUCN criteria for wilderness areas
  • Compliance with the PanPark wilderness criteria
  • Compliance with the wilderness continuum model
  • Compliance with the Germann wilderness definition ofbthe BfN 2012
  • Standardized Criteria for a Pan-European Certification Process
  • Safety and reliability – Adherence to the European Wilderness Quality Standards helps ensure visitor satisfaction, reliability and environmental care. As a result, visitors perceive wilderness areas as more dependable – this in turn raises visitor confidence, increasing visits and financial support.
  • Improving effectiveness – The European Wilderness Quality Standard provides wilderness area managers with reliable third-party recommendations based upon a detailed SWOT analysis on the basis of a standard set of european wide accepted criteria and indicators.
  • Support from government policies and legislation – Standards are frequently referenced by regulators and legislators for protecting users and business interests and to support government policies. Standards play a central role in the European Union’s policy for a Single Market. Adherence to the European Wilderness Quality Standards will show the commitment to a common set of European values.
  • Interoperability – the ability of wilderness areas to work together relies heavily these areas to comply with the wilderness standards.
  • Encourage ResearchEuropean Wilderness Quality Standards provides a solid foundation upon which scientists base their research and to enhance monitoring.
  • Marketing possibilities – As more and more Wilderness areas adhere tot he European Wilderness Quality Standards more and more visitors and wilderness advocates will support and promote wilderness due to their increased awareness and confidence.
  • European Wilderness Quality Standards reduce costs – Potential Wilderness Areas do not have to reinvent the wheel because all the basic criteria and indicators what defines a wilderness has already been thought through. This ensures that new wilderness areas will support the same principles with the existing wilderness network.
  • Wilderness benefits from Standards – The European Wilderness Quality Standards set a minimum levels that help classify wilderness according to several criteria and a multitude of indicators. They provide benchmarks against which wilderness areas are audited. This gives the areas an incentive to improve their wilderness to gain an advantage. In turn this guarantees public access to more wilderness for future generations.

It is therefore not only natural that we strive and wish reliable standards in our daily life, but we also need them to improve the trust in our services, the guarantee of the fulfillment of our claims, the possibility to reduce operating costs and a chance to offer with other areas a wilderness that everyone believes in.

 

Max A.E. Rossberg

Max A. E. Rossberg is an avid WIlderness Advocates with extensive experience in Sustainable Tourism Strategies and Multistakeholder planning processes.

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