Justice for Nature a Global Ranger Congress 2023 – Azory
On days 9-12 October 2023, the Global Ranger Congress took place in the Azores Islands, which belong to Portugal. The port town of Horta on the island of Faial became the host of the congress and the program itself took place in a wonderful theater. 125 rangers from 12 countries gathered for this global event, and the main topics were Ocean, Biodiversity and Climate Change.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE CONGRESS
After the opening ceremony with the presence of the local political scene and the top representatives of the Portuguese state nature protection, an extensive series of presentations was launched, in which our organization Justice for Nature also participated.
The very first official presentation was the Eye of the Ocean from Costa Rica, where Milan Jeglík and Zuzana Kolušková presented the monitoring of humpback whales and the vision of saving Santa Elena Bay from the planned “dry channel” project, which is an environmental crime that can destroy the reproduction zone of long-finned humpback whales in northern Costa Rica.
On the contrary, on the last day of the congress, Jan Suchý and Tomáš Šmátrala had a presentation about the real situation of brown bears in Slovakia and the conflict between nature conservation and hunters. Both presentations attracted a lot of interest here, but not everyone agreed, because even among the guardians of nature there are exceptionally hunters, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.
The congress focused primarily on the ocean theme, but there was also talk of the international illegal trade in animals, forest fires, and the work of rangers. Very interesting discussions took place after each lecture module, which was a great refreshment and a novelty at the congress. A big topic was, among other things, how to grasp the increasingly massive tourism, which has unfathomable effects on countless territories across continents, both in the form of enormous consumption and the recklessness of many tourists, the construction of new tourist complexes and attractions, the capture of wilderness, or the problem with the increase in waste, which most countries still do not know how to deal with.
GRC 2023 also included excursions to volcanoes, geoparks, and the historic whaling museum. The Rangers Association of Portugal ensured excellent conditions and demonstrated excellent organizational skills, hospitality and thematics.
Representatives of Justice for Nature at the Global ranger Congress were
Milan Jeglik, Zuzana Kolousková, Tomáš Šmátrala and Honza Suchý.
A big thank to everyone who financially supported our trip.