Biodiversity goes local in Southeastern Europe

10 October 2011 | News story

On Thursday 13 and Friday 14 October 2011 the international conference ‘Biodiversity goes local’ will take place in Budva, Montenegro. The aim of the conference is to further enhance local biodiversity actions in South-Eastern Europe, with a focus on the Western Balkan region.

Biodiversity is still abundant in large parts of the Balkan region. From a European perspective, the region is of prime importance from a nature and biodiversity point of view, and this diversity itself is one of the main building blocks for sustainable economic development. This building block is currently being jeopardized by unsustainable development and the impact of climate change, which manifests itself strongly in  South-Eastern Europe.

Municipalities have a vital role to play in safeguarding biodiversity and the services ecosystems provide, such as nature-based tourism, water retention, climate sink and local food. The conference will share information and expertise on how best to link biodiversity to development goals, how to address the relationship between climate change and biodiversity, and also on how to increase public awareness and participation.

The conference will be attended by representatives of various municipalities in the Western Balkan region, representatives of national governmental and intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and experts.

Representatives of the municipalities will present their local biodiversity action plans, and share information on the development and implementation process. Via a Biodiversity Action Fair municipalities will showcase their biodiversity action plans and priority projects. The conference will also discuss the setting up of a regional learning network for local biodiversity in the Dinaric Arc.

The conference is being organized by ECNC–European Centre for Nature Conservation together with its project partner REC-Regional Environment Center in the framework of the project ‘Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Local Sustainable Development in the Western Balkans’ (SEE-BAP), funded by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The SEE-BAP project resulted in strongly increased awareness about biodiversity and sustainable development on a local level. Ten municipalities in six Western Balkan countries developed a local biodiversity action plan. In each municipality ten priority actions from these plans were supported, ranging from:

  • Drina river habitat protection;
  • Development of ecological awareness;
  • Education for nature and biodiversity;
  • Effective use of biodiversity resources for local economic development;
  • Ecotourism and organic farming;
  • Urban biodiversity;
  • Field guidelines to achieve preservation and further development of existing biodiversity;
  • Protection of Mount Tara and Mount Zlatibor and surrounding resources through the protection of selected species of flora and fauna; and
  • Development of local skills in relation to nature conservation.

For more information please contact: Ms Hanneke Wijnja, ECNC, via wijnja@ecnc.org or Sasa
Solujic, REC, via ASolujic@rec.org.

Background information and conference documents can be found here:
http://www.ecnc.org/programmes/nature-and-society-ongoing-projects/biodiversity-goes-local.