To mark the end of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development an MOU has been signed between Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland and SUNx to build a climate learning, innovation and resilience centre in the Hoge Kempen National Park in Limburg, Belgium. The centre will be established at Terhills-Connecterra, the main gateway to the National Park. It will be a proof of concept and focal point for a global network. It will also link with Ecotron, a global science project of the Park and University of Hasselt on climate change and nature-based solutions, as well as the University’s Field Research Centre.
The MOU was signed following a meeting between the Governor of the Province of Limburg, the Rector of Hasselt University, RLKM and SUNx. Leading the partnership are Professor Geoffrey Lipman, SUNx Co-founder, and Ignace Schops, Director RLKM, President of EUROPARC Federation and a Goldman Award winner.
SUNx – Strong Universal Network- is a program of the EU based, not for profit Green Growth and Travelism Institute, and a legacy to the late Maurice Strong – sustainable development pioneer. Its goal is to promote Climate Resilient, Impact-Travel with good & bad effects measured and managed coherently: with Green Growth at the core and, 2050-proof in line with the Paris Accords and the W.E.F. 4th Industrial Revolution. At its heart are SUNx Centres: prefabricated, solar powered climate research and innovation centres for climate resilience learning and capacity building.
Ignace Schops said:
“We have partnered with SUNx to strengthen our research on climate change, specifically focusing of climate resilience for the wider society and the relation with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). Hoge Kempen is Belgium’s first and only national park, and protects one of the largest open green spaces in the country. As well as being an important visitor attraction we are also investing in research on climate change and biodiversity protection as we believe that climate change poses the greatest threat to humanity and life on earth.”
Professor Geoffrey Lipman, SUNx Co-founder said:
“We are proud to be working in partnership with RLKM who are leading the way in protecting Belgium’s natural resources and creating a blueprint for sustainable tourism in National Parks. We believe that tourism has the power to be a massive force for change if managed carefully and have developed a system that will be accessible to every community to help climate adaptation. The Limburg Centre is being developed as a model for a global network that will support Travel & Tourism in its journey to align with the Paris Climate targets and relevant Sustainable Development Goals.”