Transboundary cooperation is instrumental for the conservation of natural assets and for improved regional cooperation in the Western Balkans. This is one of the key conclusions of a stakeholder meeting organized in Tara National Park (Serbia) under the auspice of the IUCN-led project Environment for People in the Dinaric Arc.
The meeting, held in March, gathered relevant state authorities, local communities, expert organizations, PA authorities, and NGOs from the bordering area along the Drina River in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in order to discuss actions to be taken to support transboundary cooperation in the target area. “This is an initial step towards the establishment of a transboundary protected area spanning Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia along the Drina River”, said Boris Erg, Director of IUCN Programme Office for South-Eastern Europe.
This is only one in a series of stakeholder meetings to be organized in selected transboundary areas of the Dinaric Arc in support of the establishment of a network of protected areas. Achievements so far comprise two Memorandums of Understanding signed between protected area authorities and NGOs in transboundary areas of Durmitor and Sutjeska National Parks as well as the Neretva River delta. The broad public participation process should end up with an international conference on the Dinaric Arc to be organized in June in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Dinaric Arc is a region of South-Eastern Europe encompassing a large part of the Western Balkans between the Adriatic Sea and the Danube Plain. The Dinaric Alps form the backbone of the region, which is endowed with a natural and cultural heritage with richness and variety that is almost unparalleled in Europe. The region hosts healthy populations of large carnivores, numerous endemic plant species, large and almost unspoilt forests, and is extremely rich in terms of freshwater ecosystems.
Yet, these qualities are under threat due to previous socio-political circumstances. Over the past twenty years, the countries of the Dinaric Arc have experienced periods of political and social instability, economic crisis and transition towards a market economy and European integration. Effects of rural abandonment and degradation of the natural environment have severe impacts on the livelihoods of many rural communities in the region. However, recent favourable events have created a unique opportunity to boost biodiversity, landscape conservation and sustainable rural development in the Western Balkans.
Therefore, IUCN has partnered with WWF Mediterranean Programme Office and SNV in order to foster the sustainable development of rural communities on the basis of conservation of biological diversity and traditional landscapes in transboundary areas of the Dinaric Arc. The overall project objective is to promote sustainable development of rural communities through increased transboundary cooperation in the management and conservation of biodiversity and cultural landscapes. The whole endeavor is supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
For further information please contact:
Boris Erg, IUCN SEE at firstname.lastname@example.org