Committing to regional cooperation in nature conservation and sustainable development, six governments of South-Eastern Europe signed an agreement to dramatically expand transboundary conservation efforts.
In one of the most significant announcements made at the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 9) in Bonn, Germany, representatives of the governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia announced their intent to declare 13 new protected areas and enlarge 9 existing ones in South-Eastern Europe. The six governments agreed to strengthen mutual cooperation in order to achieve transboundary sustainable management in SEE.
The Dinaric Arc in South-Eastern Europe is a region that hosts large and almost unspoilt forests and healthy populations of large carnivores (bear, lynx, wolf, golden jackal), and is the most water-rich area in the Mediterranean in terms of freshwater ecosystems. The Joint statement signed by H.E. Lufter Xhuveli (Albania), H.E. Nevenko Herceg (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Mr. Zoran Sikic (Croatia), H.E. Predrag Nenezic (Montenegro), H.E. Dusan Pajkic (Serbia), and H.E. Janez Podobnik (Slovenia), moves the governments closer to an emerging vision of a vast cross border protected areas network stretching across this ecologically important region, and helping safeguard the region’s rich biological, as well as cultural diversity.
The event at CBD COP 9 that gathered the six governments in signing the historic agreement, and announcing their national priorities in the implementation of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas, was hosted by the Slovenian government, as the current European Union President, and the Dinaric Arc Initiative (DAI) partners. IUCN has been one of the founding members of the Dinaric Arc Initiative, which includes WWF, UNESCO BRESCE, UNDP, Council of Europe, FAO, UNEP, Euronatur, and SNV, the organizations that have united forces in 2005 to work on conservation and sustainable development in the Dinaric Arc region.
The 6 governments called upon DAI partners to assist them in implementing the new national and regional commitments for the conservation of the region’s natural and cultural wealth.
In the presence of delegations from all the involved countries as well as many international organisations and the state secretary from the German Ministry, the ministers presented their national aspects for the joint statement and signed the declaration during the ceremony.
Being a founding member of the initiative, IUCN was given the floor to address the forum and Mr. Tamas Marghescu, Director Regional Office for Europe underlined the importance and crucial step forward of the initiative regarding transboundary cooperation based on integrated biodiversity conservation. IUCN Vice President, Mrs. Prof. Purificacio Canals, and the Director Programme Office for South Eastern Europe, Dr. Jörg Lohmann, took the opportunity to promote the Sailing to Barcelona Initiative for the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona and managed to get a preliminary commitment regarding the flagship “Jadran” from the Ecological State of Montenegro for the Adriatic Sea Flotilla.