Tatranská Javorina, High Tatras Region, Slovakia -The Carpathian Network of Protected Areas Conference was organized by WWF back to back with the BIOREGIO Carpathians Mid Term Conference organized by UNEP Vienna – Interim Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention (ISCC). Representatives of protected areas and other stakeholders acting in the Carpathian Region met inSlovakiato exchange experience and ideas for future cooperation. During the Conference several distinguished keynote speakers discussed a variety of perspectives on approaches and issues regarding the network of protected areas, such as the governance of protected areas, the science behind conservation, and the role of Non-Governmental Organizations. Amongst others, speakers will include representatives from the European Commission, DG Environment, the Alpine Network of Protected Areas (ALPARC), and the Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Areas and Territories (ICCA). Additionally, a number of workshops on different topics, such as sustainable financing and connectivity and continuity, was be organized.
Ideas for possible future cooperation projects mainly under new EU financial programmes were being discussed. The involvement of BioREGIO Carpathians with other initiatives (CNPA, Alpine Convention, and Carpathian Convention) have been outlined and further strengthened.
Cooperation is essential in order to achieve important objectives such as ecological connectivity and continuity. Within a Region with so many environmental, economic and social common features such as the Carpathian Region the cooperation at transnational level is particularly relevant. This is underlined also in international agreements, such at the Carpathian Convention and its Biodiversity Protocol, and is a central topic of strategic transnational projects such as the European Territorial Cooperation South East.
Identification of Regional Development Opportunities
The Carpathians hostEurope’s largest area of old-growth forests as well as the largest remaining natural mountain beech and beech-fir forests ecosystems. The unique diversity of habitats of the Carpathians make them a haven for globally threatened species such as the European bison, theTatraMountainchamois and the Imperial eagle. The Carpathians are the last region inEuropeto support viable populations of large carnivores. An estimated 8,000 brown bears, 4,000 wolves and 3,000 lynx can still be found here.
Often, regional development opportunities represented by protected areas and natural assets not used or underestimated. Local and regional stakeholders with different backgrounds are aimed at to be brought together and elaborate options and strategies for regional development in their respective protected area. An analysis of existing socio-economic data provides additional input for a final report on the “Regional Development Opportunities Represented by Protected Areas and Natural Assets in the Carpathians”.
Funded under the EU SEE Programme, the BioREGIO Carpathains Project in its three years focused on the challenges to biodiversity in the Carpathian Region. 16 international, national, and local authorities, organizations and scientific institutions have joined forces to contribute to the protection and development of the Carpathian mountain region, situated in the hard ofEurope. They are convinced that protection and regional development in the Carpathians can go hand in hand if natural assets are managed in an integrated way and relevant stakeholders are involved. It builds on the existing framework of the Carpathian Convention, its Biodiversity Protocol and other related transnational networks and initiatives. It is an EU project which is co-funded by the ERDF within the South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme.
Integrated management and regional development of Carpathian natural assets and protected areas
One of the main aims of the BioREGIO project is the development of management approaches that facilitate coordination and cooperation between the institutions, regional and local authorities, and other stakeholders of protected areas and natural assets. We will put a special focus on the development of a methodology for integrated forest management and on integrated wetland management.
Strategic project in the field of integrated management biological and landscape diversity
The findings of the BioREGIO project as well as the pan-European perspectives of biodiversity have been discussed with representatives from the European Commission as well as with participants from other international institutions attending the BioREGIO mid-term conference. Its outcomes are not only of strategic relevance for the coordinated development of biodiversity in the Carpahtina region but with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme the BioREGIO results and experience can also be shared with other mountain regions, such as the Balkans