Under the auspices of the RAMSAR COP11, representatives of the governments of Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia, IUCN, ICPDR, Ramsar Secretariat, Wetlands International, WWF, other NGOs and participants at the conference gathered to celebrate the new achievements on the way to designate the pentalateral UNESCO Biosphere Reserve “Mura-Drava-Danube”.
WWF’s introduction to the initiative to conserve the unique natural values of the three rivers Mura, Drava and the Danube, and their floodplains, was followed by statements of the five countries (Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia) highlighting their commitment to achieve the final designation of the area as a Biosphere Reserve. The efforts made up to date by all parties involved were rewarded by the announcement of the first nomination of a significant part of the area (80%, about 630.000 ha) shared by Croatia and Hungary, as a Biosphere Reserve.
The importance of the initiative for nature conservation but at the same time as a framework for increased cooperation between the countries to commonly address upcoming threats from unsustainable development (especially navigation) was emphasized by IUCN, ICPDR, Ramsar and Wetlands International representatives. From a global perspective, the “Mura–Drava– Danube” transboundary Biosphere Reserve would also serve as a leading example of international cooperation to save one of the last remaining natural wetland areas in Europe.
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