IUCN SEE strengthens the partnership with the International Sava River Basin Commission

IUCN has taken a prominent role in the recent events organized by the International Sava River Basin Commission (ISRBC), in frame of the International Sava Day (1 June).

The Sava River

Working actively on the conservation of biodiversity of the Sava River floodplains in cooperation with its partners, IUCN has commenced extensive talks with the ISRBC on the foreseen contribution to the overall protection of the Sava riverine and floodplain ecosystems by participating in the elaboration of the future Integrated Sava River Basin Management Plan. Recently, IUCN actively participated in the series of events starting with an Eco-camp in the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park in Croatia and ending up with a high level workshop presenting the Strategy on implementation of the Framework Agreement for the Sava River Basin (FASRB). Certainly a highlight of the first International Sava Day was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) and the ISRBC, setting the framework for improved cooperation and coordination between the two commissions concerned. The MoU has been signed on the 5th of June by Mr. Sasa Dragin, ICPDR President 2008 and Mr. Kemal Karkin, ISRBC Chairman.

The Sava River is the second largest tributary to the Danube River and is of biological significance due to its outstanding biological and landscape diversity. It hosts the largest complex of alluvial floodplain wetlands in the Danube basin and the largest lowland forests. The Sava is a unique example of a river where the floodplains are still intact, supporting both floods alleviation and biodiversity. Nature conservationists and scientists consider it as one of the key areas in the Pan European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS) of the Council of Europe, one of the few that remain sustaining landscape characteristics shaped by traditional land-use patterns typical to the river valleys of Central Europe in the past.

To secure the integration of the protection of ecological values along the Sava into the management of the Sava River, IUCN, Wageningen International with technical support from Orbicon have jointly initiated the Protection of Biodiversity of the Sava River Basin Floodplains project to support the Sava Basin countries in identifying, designating and managing the biological and landscape diversity along the River and in implementing EU Birds and Habitats Directives. This project demonstrates innovative protection and management schemes that seek to combine viable land use practices, biodiversity protection and management by designing a coherent ecological network along the Sava River.

The project is financially supported by the LIFE III programme and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Throughout the project, IUCN and WI are cooperating with the competent partner institutions from the Sava countries - the Center for Ecology and Natural Resources of the Faculty of Science in Sarajevo, the Agricultural Institute of Republic of Srpska, the State Institute for Nature Protection of Croatia, the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia - in order to provide an in situ expert input through their participation in the project working groups and trainings. An additional expert contribution to the project is to be provided by the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation.

For more information please contact Boris Erg, IUCN SEE, [email protected]

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