When conservation and borders coincide
19 November 2012 | News story
A new publication by IUCN shows how transboundary conservation action in South-East Europe’s Dinaric Arc helps protect the region’s rich biodiversity and introduces an innovative tool which helps develop cross-border partnerships.
The new book, Initiating effective transboundary conservation: A practitioner’s guideline based on the experience from the Dinaric Arc, highlights examples of cooperation across borders in the Dinaric Arc area – a region in South-Eastern Europe stretching from Trieste, Italy to Tirana, Albania and covering large areas of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. It shows how this approach to conserving nature has advanced the region’s unity in terms of conservation and sustainable development, while strengthening regional partnerships.
“Transboundary conservation is a long-run race which requires a lot of dedication, goodwill and mutual understanding. In return, it can bring clear and concrete results which go far beyond nature conservation,” says Boris Erg, Director of IUCN South-Eastern Europe and a co-editor of the book.
The new diagnostic tool presented in the book is an innovative way of assessing feasibility of transboundary conservation and can be applied to various ecosystems and geographical regions worldwide. Its key advantage is that it can be completed by anyone interested in initiating transboundary cooperation, not only conservation experts.
“The diagnostic tool assists planners of transboundary conservation processes in carefully diagnosing the situation by assessing the need and readiness to initiate a transboundary process, while not neglecting opportunities and risks,” says Maja Vasilijević, Chair of IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group and a co-editor of the publication.
Transboundary conservation helps people work across state boundaries to conserve nature. It brings large-scale ecological benefits by protecting extensive natural areas, supporting species migrations and reducing the risk of biodiversity loss. It is an effective way of promoting cooperation and forging partnerships across borders: it encourages former enemies to start talking, generates joint income opportunities, and helps resolve political conflicts.
“By initiating transboundary collaboration, we give ourselves an opportunity to base sustainable development on the fantastic natural and cultural values, while at the same time greatly improve the image of the entire region,” says Deni Porej, Director of Programs at WWF Mediterranean.
Piloted in several key nature sites in the Dinaric Arc area, transboundary conservation has proved to be an effective way for establishing dialogue and a shared vision. On the basis of shared natural resources six Memoranda of Understanding have been signed across the region, leading to the definition of conservation priorities and joint action plans. Transboundary hiking trails, signposting, educational and communication material are some of results stemming from improved dialogue across borders.
Initiating effective transboundary conservation: A practitioner’s guideline based on the experience from the Dinaric Arc was edited by Boris Erg, Director of IUCN South-Eastern Europe, Maja Vasilijević of IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group and Matthew McKinney of the Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy, University of Montana. It was published by IUCN and developed jointly by IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group, WWF Mediterranean Programme, and SNV Netherlands Development Organization, with the support of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
Read the full publication here.