Yet recent events have created an opportunity to safeguard the Dinaric Arc’s biological and cultural diversity. At the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 9) the “Big Win” statement was released, moving the governments of South Eastern Europe closer to an emerging vision of a vast cross border network of protected areas stretching across this ecologically important region. This joint commitment will help protect the region’s rich biological and cultural diversity, favour the growth of national economies and provide a concrete basis for lasting regional cooperation. Following up on the commitments made in the “Big Win”, as well as on the premises of the Dinaric Arc Initiative, a number of organisations have joined forces to set up this project that supports cross-border cooperation for the conservation of key natural and cultural sites.
Covering six pilot sites, (NP Plitvička jezera-NP Una, NP Durmitor-NP Sutjeska, NP Tara-Drina, Neretva delta, Mountain Dinara, and Prokletije / Bjeshkët e Namuna) the project will promote the natural and cultural values of the area, while enhancing local livelihoods through improved regional cooperation and strengthened environmental governance.
A broad range of activities will be undertaken at different levels including:
- Establishing bottom up local private / public partnerships to conserve natural heritage and use;
- Identifying actions in the fields of tourism, forestry, agriculture, and protection of valuable areas;
- Increasing capacities to recognize and value local biodiversity and cultural values;
- Aligning priorities to undertake joint action across borders;
- Assessing the potential for establishing transboundary protected areas;
- Integrating activities into broader European frameworks for nature conservation; and,
- Creating platforms for key decision makers from different countries to interact and coordinate actions.