The Dinaric Arc in South Eastern Europe is an area with a rich natural and cultural heritage. The region still hosts 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. However these qualities are under threat due to current uncontrolled development and previous socio-political circumstances. The effects of rural abandonment and degradation of the natural environment are having severe impacts on the livelihoods of many rural communities in the region.
Yet recent events have created an opportunity to safeguard the Dinaric Arc’s biological and cultural diversity. At the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 9) the “Big Win” statement was released, moving the governments of South Eastern Europe closer to an emerging vision of a vast cross border network of protected areas stretching across this ecologically important region. This joint commitment will help protect the region’s rich biological and cultural diversity, favour the growth of national economies and provide a concrete basis for lasting regional cooperation. Following up on the commitments made in the “Big Win”, as well as on the premises of the Dinaric Arc Initiative, a number of organisations have joined forces to set up this project that supports cross-border cooperation for the conservation of key natural and cultural sites.
Covering six pilot sites, (NP Plitvička jezera-NP Una, NP Durmitor-NP Sutjeska, NP Tara-Drina, Neretva delta, Mountain Dinara, and Prokletije / Bjeshkët e Namuna) the project will promote the natural and cultural values of the area, while enhancing local livelihoods through improved regional cooperation and strengthened environmental governance.
A broad range of activities will be undertaken at different levels including:
- Establishing bottom up local private / public partnerships to conserve natural heritage and use;
- Identifying actions in the fields of tourism, forestry, agriculture, and protection of valuable areas;
- Increasing capacities to recognize and value local biodiversity and cultural values;
- Aligning priorities to undertake joint action across borders;
- Assessing the potential for establishing transboundary protected areas;
- Integrating activities into broader European frameworks for nature conservation; and,
- Creating platforms for key decision makers from different countries to interact and coordinate actions.
Project title: Sustaining Rural Communities and their Traditional Landscapes through Strengthened Environmental Governance in Transboundary Protected Areas of the Dinaric Arc
Donor: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Partners: WWF Mediterranean Programme and SNV (Netherlands Development Organization)
Time frame: 1 April 2009- 31 March 2012
Contact: IUCN Programme Office for South-Eastern Europe