Certification as a transboundary protected area

Published: 28 November 2016
Last edited: 29 March 2019
Pasvik-Inari Trilateral Park received EUROPARC certification as a transboundary (TB) area in 2008 and was renewed in 2013. Aims of the certification are to 1) identify priorities for future transboundary work, and 2) raise the national and international profile of the parks and TB area as a whole. Application requirements include a joint long-term vision and guiding rules for future cooperation along with an action plan (see Building Block 3), which are essential for the continued transboundary cooperation. Initial suggestions for the vision and guiding rules were circulated among working group members before the Steering Committee agreed on the final vision: “Pasvik-Inari Trilateral Park is an internationally recognised sustainable nature tourism destination known for its wilderness characteristics and natural, cultural and historical values. Promotion of nature conservation and sustainable nature tourism preserves the core values and contributes to the sound development of the area.” Bilateral and multilateral agreements between Finland, Norway and Russia were also needed for TB certification, which incorporated input from all three countries and were prepared in Finnish and translated to English then to Norweigian and Russian.


Legal and policy frameworks, policy advocacy
Alliance and partnership development
Management planning
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

Finnish partner Metsähallitus had previously been certified as a nature protection area and had good experience with that certification procedure. The Finnish-Russian Oulanka-Paanajärvi National Park obtained the EUROPARC certificate in 2005, and Finnish staff were in contact with this national park to clarify official procedures for obtaining TB park certification. Russian partners worked intensively with the environmental ministry of Russia to justify the certification and its benefits.

Lessons learned

Coordination of collecting the required materials from each partners in three countries was helpful for completing the certification process. Furthermore, the application was completed with the help of a translator during a trilateral meeting. A well-planned timetable is needed in addition to communication with the certifying organisation while completing the application. The application form itself was easy to complete. EUROPARC’s transboundary certification programme has been a good tool for transboundary cooperation, which has been supported by all local partners. Certification and re-certification processes lead to agreed-upon assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of the cooperation compared to other transboundary protected areas. It has also motivated participation in annual meetings of European transboundary parks, where many topics involving transboundary cooperation are shared and discussed.

Do you want to share your inspirational story?

Have you been inspired by a solution or building block on PANORAMA? Then share your experiences and tell us how you have been inspired and what you did to replicate a solution! What was needed in order to adapt the solution to your context? Tell us how you enabled a successful knowledge transfer to create more positive impacts for a healthy planet!