In an effort to contribute to a more sustainable future for Eastern Europe, North and Central Asia, IUCN ECARO focuses its work on the long-term protection of biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources across the region. While acting now on safeguarding biodiversity and natural resources, IUCN ECARO actively engages with Members, Commissions and partners on defining priorities and elaborating the next quadrennial regional workplan 2017-2020.

The office in Belgrade was established first in 2004, initially as the Programme Office for South-Eastern Europe (IUCN SEE) and following an agreement with the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, a member organisation of IUCN. Until 2015, the office was operating under the guiding principles of a regional Strategic Plan “Shaping a Sustainable Future for South-Eastern Europe”. Fully aligned with the IUCN Programme 2013–2016 and the Implementation Plan of the IUCN Programme 2013–2016 in Europe, the Strategic Plan was a response to the most pressing conservation needs and priorities in the region. Thematically, the emphasis was placed on effective governance and management of protected areas, species conservation, and sustainable ecosystem management, with policy influencing, capacity building, and strengthening the Union as three cross-cutting priorities of IUCN’s engagement in the region.