The traditional EKOBIS fair in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina gathers parties involved in the field of eco-tourism, organic food, and renewable energy technologies. This year it was also a place for a ceremony of signing of an agreement on cooperation in the field of nature conservation between Plitvicka Jezera and Una National Parks represented by their directors. The signing took place on 8 September as a closing event of a conference titled “Water – source of life”.
The Memorandum of Understanding specifies main areas of cooperation, namely protection and preservation of natural and cultural values, improvement of governance and institutional development, as well as sustainable development of the entire region. Further development of sustainable tourism in both national parks and transfer of knowledge and experience between two protected areas are recognized as priorities. The document also includes measures to achieve the set goals, such as: preparation of a registry of natural values for NP Una, establishment of a system for planning and information, fundraising for nature protection, harmonization of management objectives of NP Una with a nature protection and preservation ones in NP Plivice Lakes, organization of transfer of knowledge and examples of good practice between the parks, organisation of trainings for developing a quality government body in NP Una, etc.
Directors of the national parks Una and Plitvice Lakes, Mr. Amarildo Mulic and Mr. Branislav Sutic respectively, addressed the audience and emphasized the necessity and need for mutual cooperation in preserving the common values of the national parks. The Minister of Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Bosnia and Herzegovina Ms. Branka Djuric, gave full support to efforts to establish cross-border cooperation. The next step is action planning, which includes defining of joint cross-border activities that will be carried out by two partner national parks and will be entirely or partially financed by project means.
The signing took place after an extensive discussion during a stakeholder meeting held beginning of July followed by bilateral consultations between the two parks and facilitated by the project team. The signing event was attended by more than 50 guests among which representatives of Bihac and Plitvice Lakes municipalities, high officials of Lika-Senj County and Una-Sana County from Croatia and BiH, Director, Chairman of the Board and representatives of the PE “Una National Park”, Director and Assistant Director of development agencies of Una-Sana Canton and Lika-Senj.
For further information please contact Veronika Ferdinandova, IUCN SEE.