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Finding common ground in Slovakia

Author:  Jonathan Cocking
Last Updated:  08/09/2017

European Arboricultural Council AGM

This year’s european Arboricultural Council AGM was held in the centre of Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. Around 40 delegates attended the meeting, representing 27 european countries. In addition to council business meetings, we discussed a multitude of arboricultural issues affecting tree workers, educationalists, municipal tree officers and consultants.

My first formal duty was to attend the Executive Committee meeting which continued well into the evening and covered all the business and administration issues required for the smooth running of the European Arboricultural Council (EAC).

European City of Trees Award handover in Trnava.

The EAC now has a new home page (; we are starting to get to grips with social media; we have now got European protection for all our logos; and our business plan is in its third year of operation. A large part of the meeting focused on possible future sponsorship by industry to help us achieve our longer-term goals of raising the standards of European tree work, improving worker safety and developing a portfolio of recognised qualifications.

The AGM’s first open session involved a short trip to the city of Trnava which was awarded the ECOT Award (European City of Trees) this year. The award was passed to the mayor of Trnava, with TV coverage, by Beat Kunz of Switzerland who won the award in 2016 and by Jan Goevert, the EAC’s ECOT committee chairman. This year’s ECOT award acknowledged the massive efforts of the mayor of Trvana and his staff in improving the management of the city’s trees and there was special recognition for the effort put into new planting and educating the population regarding the benefits which their city’s trees offer.

Slovakia, Russia, UK

After returning to the venue, the afternoon session covered a welcome speech by Josef Grabner, the current EAC President, and by Tomas Frano who is the head of arboriculture for the Slovakian Ministry of the Environment. A more focused talk was then given by Zuzana Hudekova on arboricultural management in Slovakia with an emphasis on the Bratislava region.

The Russian EAC member, Sergey Palchikov, presented a talk on the current position of arboriculture in Russia entitled ‘Tree Care in Russia: From Delusions to the Truth’. Sergey’s position as head of Russian arboriculture is acknowledged seriously in Moscow, where he is based, and whilst he controls locations up to 4,000 miles apart, he has apparent access to Vladimir Putin and one of his slides showed the two of them together.

The latter part of the afternoon was dominated by a very interesting talk by John Parker from the UK. Many of you will know of John who is the head of arboriculture for Transport for London and the current chairman of the London Tree Officers Association. John took us through some of the many challenges that face him and his team on a daily basis.

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