The next World Ranger Congress (WRC) of the International Ranger Federation is coming up, right in our region: We are very happy for Gardes Nature de France that they have won the bid to host the 10th WRC in Hyères from 7 to 11 October 2024 on the French Mediterranean coast. We spoke to its President, Carole D’Antuoni, about the state of planning, the aims of the WRC and what the event means for the French ranger association.

Carole is not only the current president of the Gardes Nature de France but also team leader of the rangers of Port-Cros National Park on the island right just opposite the congress venue. The opportunity to host the WRC for the first time in France to her is very important for the country and for Port-Cros National Park, which is the first marine National Park in Europe and celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

©Olivier Soulier-Versini

I think this congress is a great opportunity to share practices, skills and knowledge of rangers from all over the world, to join forces and help each other.

Carole D’Antuoni, head of Gardes Nature de France

Carole, what was the motivation for you from Gardes Nature de France to apply as host for the World Ranger Congress?

Carole: We are happy to welcome rangers from all over the world in order to be able to transmit and exchange knowledge and know-how to best protect the environment. This congress will also be a unique opportunity to reflect together on how we can contribute to the COP 15 goal of protecting 30 percent of our habitats by 2030.

From your point of view, what were the main reasons that the IRF chose you as host among your competitors?

I think that the geographical situation counted a lot, Hyères being located in the south-east of France, in the heart of a Mediterranean region which is full of remarkable natural spaces. The fact that it will take place on the territory of the Port-Cros National Park has probably also played in our favour.

What are you personally most looking forward to with regard to the World Ranger Congress?

I think this congress is a great opportunity to share the practices, skills and knowledge of rangers from all over the world, but above all to forge links between everyone so that we can join forces and help each other.

The international ranger community has already been called upon by you to name concrete individual topics that it considers urgent. Is it already clear what will be the main issues at stake under the overarching theme of the 10th World Ranger Congress “Empowering Rangers Globally to meet the 30 x 30 Challenge”?

Yes, we have chosen a theme for the congress: “Empowering rangers around the world to meet the 30 x 30 challenge” with a double plea for greater conservation, regeneration and restoration of global biodiversity, and to alert all current and potential stakeholders on the urgent need to involve, recruit, empower and fully support many more rangers in the protection of global biodiversity.

Have your say on the topics discussed at the 10th WRC: click here or on the picture

What goals do you as a ranger association have in mind for the congress?

We would like to run various training workshops on monitoring and protecting species and natural areas, as well as presenting other tools that can be put in place like creation of protected areas, staff exchanges, post-conference support for several rangers in France, etc. We hope that this congress will encourage a growing number of partnerships and investments in empowering rangers to reverse the decline in biodiversity around the world.

What will be the rough agenda from 7 to 11 October in Hyères?

Monday will be the day on which the participants arrive, with an opening aperitif dinner. This will be followed by three days of conferences and workshops in the classroom and one day out in the field. Friday evening, the closing ceremony will take place with a festive meal. Departures will be on Saturday.

©Olivier Soulier-Versini

Are excursions already planned – if so, where and on which topics?

We have not yet precisely defined the content of the program or the field trips, but there will probably be excursions to the islands of Port-Cros and Porquerolles as well as to the many Parks and Nature Reserves nearby.

Are there plans for how the participants can get involved – for example, through project presentations, workshops or the like?

There will indeed be several workshops and presentations on which participants will be able to intervene according to the criteria that we are in the process of determining.

Congress venue will be the Belambra Business Club on Giens Peninsula, Hyères (click on image to check it out). More accommodation options in different price ranges are yet to be announced.

Do you have any tips for participants who want to arrive before the congress or stay longer?

If participants wish to come in advance, they can discover our territory and its surroundings which are full of magnificent natural spaces near the place where the congress will take place. E. g. the regional natural parks of Sainte-Baume, Verdon, Alpilles, Prèalpes d Azur, the National Parks of Port-Cros, Calanques, Ecrins, National Reserve of the Plaine des Maures … 

After the congress, for international rangers who wish, we also plan to offer the discovery of the daily life of French guards in their different territories. This is still in the definition phase and will be detailed in the coming months.

Are there any recommendations for affordable accommodation in the vicinity?

We are looking for a range of accommodation at prices accessible to all. All information will be given when registering on the WRC website. Until this is activated, we will provide ongoing updates on the WRC on our Facebook page.

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