Meeting between Centralparks and BEECH POWER to discuss possible synergies

On Monday 6th of September 2021, an exciting online meeting between the Interreg projects Centralparks and BEECH POWER took place online, with the objective to discuss possible synergies between the two projects.

After a brief presentation of the background, goals, deliverables and outputs of each project, it became clear that both Interreg projects have many similarities and can support each other during and beyond the duration of the projects.

Centralparks aims to improve the management capacities of protected areas in the Carpathians through transnational cooperation to support nature protection and local sustainable development. Similarly, BEECH POWER project works to improve integrated environmental management capacities for the protection and sustainable use of UNESCO Natural World Heritage beech forests, also aiming to support sustainable regional development. In addition, transnational cooperation is a key aspect in both projects, where multiple component parts, local authorities, and stakeholders from different countries are involved.

During the meeting, representatives of both projects agreed on developing mutual collaborations to help each other reach planned targets through promotion activities. Further, both projects will share relevant documents and outputs, like the BEECH POWER Code of Quality Management for UNESCO WH Beech Forests, as well as the Centralparks strategies and the Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit via the Knowledge exchange platform developed by BEECH POWER. Such documents and strategies may be relevant and applicable in the Carpathians, UNESCO WH Beech forest site and beyond.

Finally, Centralparks invited BEECH POWER to a brief meeting between representatives of the two projects during the next Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA) meeting, scheduled on the 29th of September 2021. Furthermore, in the final conferences of both projects, there will be some space dedicated to promote synergies in the future work, exceeding the project lifetimes!

Centralparks meeting in Czechia

Meeting of Stakeholders of the Carpathian Convention

On the 16th of September, the Czech partners of the Centralparks project are organising an important event – the Meeting of Stakeholders of the Carpathian Convention 2021. The gathering will take place from 16th to 17th September in Nová Lhota in the White Carpathians, Czechia. The event is held regularly every year under the auspices of the Ministry of the Environment, it is co-organised by the Education and Information Centre Bílé Karpaty and co-financed by the Interreg Centralparks project. Many stakeholders from ministries, regional and local authorities, academia, NGOs as well as active citizens from the region will participate in the meeting.

The programme includes lectures, discussions and sharing of experience and best practices. The participants are updated about recent developments of the Carpathian Convention and ongoing projects and activities at both international and national level. The main topics of this year will be biodiversity, ecosystem services, tourism, and nature and landscape protection. An excursion to an organic farm in Blatnička will be organised on the second day.

During the meeting, two important deliverables, elaborated within the Centraparks project, will be presented. First, Jan Kadlečík (State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic) will present the usage of the Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit, developed within the project. Second, Barbora Duží (White Carpathians Education and Information Centre) will present the Strategy for local sustainable tourism development.

Meeting agenda (in CZ):

Discover the Danube today

Today we commemorate the International Danube Day, one of Europe’s largest river systems. This year the motto is “Discover the Danube”. Read more about the activities that take place on this occasion in your country and in the world.

The Danube-Carpathian region

The Danube is the world’s most international river, as it flows from Germany, through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine before it reaches the Black sea. It is home to priceless natural treasures. Over 2,000 plant species and 5,000 animal species live in or by the waters of the Danube, a habitat which hosts about 2,000 vascular plants and approx. 100 fish species.

The Carpathian Mountains and its foothills are a source of thermal and mineral waters. The Danube River separates the Carpathian Mountain ranges from the Alps. Several plains surround the Carpathians including the Galician Plain in the northeast; the Pannonian Plain in the southwest and the Lower Danubian Plain in the south.

The Danube-Carpathian region harbours many species and habitats that are either threatened or close to extinction in the rest of Europe, such as large natural and virgin forests, most of Europe’s remaining intact rivers and wetlands, two-thirds of the European populations of large carnivores, including bears, lynx and wolves, as well as the Beluga sturgeon, now on the edge of extinction.

Day to commemorate the Danube

Since 2004, we have been commemorating International Danube Day every year on June 29. This day celebrates 14 countries of the Danube basin – one of Europe’s largest river systems. Due to various restrictions on public gatherings in the Danube basin, the Danube Day celebrations in 2020 took place in the virtual realm of #DiscoverDanube! This year is no different. The motto “Discover the Danube” continues to fit into the situation, with several online events.

Danube adventure from your chair

Why not be “active across the Danube” at home and try an adventure game on the Danube now? This year, go on a Danube Adventure! Try the online adventure game about the Danube, prepared by the Secretariat of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube (ICPDR).

Celebrate the World Environment Day today

Every year on 5th of June, we celebrate World Environment Day to highlight the major issues the environment is facing and to encourage action for the protection of the environment worldwide. Over the years, World Environment Day day has raised awareness on urgent issues – from marine pollution and habitat loss, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. For this year celebrated tomorrow, the theme of World Environment Day 2021 is “Ecosystem Restoration”, a global call to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean.

UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

Habitat destruction is currently ranked as the primary cause of species extinction worldwide, and it affects all types of ecosystems. For example, we lose over 4.7 million hectares of forest every year, and half of the world’s wetlands have already disappeared during the last century. In order to revert this alarming destruction rate, World Environment Day 2021 will focus on Ecosystem Restoration.

Ecosystem restoration means helping degraded or destroyed ecosystems to recover, as well as conserving the ecosystems that are still intact. Thus, we can restore ecosystems in many ways, like actively planting trees, or removing pressures to allow the natural regeneration of overexploited ecosystems. Actions for restoration can also mean using ecosystems on land and in the oceans in ways that strengthen their natural resources and processes. Healthier ecosystems are essential for biodiversity, but also carry substantial benefits for people prosperity and well-being.

This year World Environment Day will also mark the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030, which is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals. Led by the United Nations with the support of countries, partners, and people, this global mission focuses on preventing and reverting the loss of degradad natural ecosystems. The aim in the next 10 years is to revive billions of hectares, from forests to farmlands, from the top of the mountains to the depth of the sea.

On this World Environment Day take action and join #GenerationRestoration global movement, in which everyone can contribute to the mission. You can learn more about events and ways of participating by visiting the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration website.

The Carpathian Convention celebrated its 18th anniversary

18 years ago, seven countries decided to join forces under an umbrella of an international treaty to work closely together on a sustainable future for the Carpathian region – one of Europe´s last greatest wilderness areas with an exceptional richness of biodiversity. 

Signed on 22 May 2003, the Carpathian Convention´s vision is to address environmental challenges, improve the quality of life and strengthen the local economies and communities for the well-being of current and future generations. The Carpathian Convention aims at conserving fragile and precious ecosystems and promoting sustainable development in the Carpathian region by providing a legal framework to pursue comprehensive policy and cooperation at various levels, including international, governmental, regional and local.

A convention for Carpathian biodiversity

The Carpathians are home to stunning ecosystems with unique natural and cultural heritage, including many traditions, cultural practices and historical monuments that have survived to this day, constituting great assets for sustainable tourism development and determining the unique tourist attractiveness of the whole region. The region hosts one of the most precious old-growth forests in Europe and provides habitat to the largest numbers of big carnivores including bears, lynx and wolves in Europe. 

It is not a coincidence that the Carpathian Convention was adopted on 22 May, International Biodiversity Day. The Convention addresses various thematic sectors relevant for sustainable development of the region, however, biodiversity should be considered the key underpinning element upon which all other sectors depend. Therefore, the Convention can be considered as a great model for mainstreaming biodiversity into other sectors and shall be considered as a useful regional instrument for supporting the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the upcoming Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Since 2003, mountains of work have been done to progress on ensuring environmental sustainability of the Carpathian region, including maintaining ecological connectivity, conserving large carnivores, protecting wetlands, developing an inventory of old growth forests, and enhancing the management efficiency of protected areas by strengthening the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas. Yet, the work ahead of us for living in harmony with nature in the Carpathian region is still long and challenging.

Cooperation is central

We want to take this opportunity to thank the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention, all the Parties to the Carpathian Convention (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Ukraine) and organisations, Environmental ministries and other stakeholders for their great commitment and contribution towards a more sustainable future in the Carpathians.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Henry Ford

We are looking forward to further working within Centralparks together with other Carpathian experts to ensure the protection of Carpathian natural and cultural heritage, while supporting local socio-economic development.

Celebrate the World Wildlife Day with us!

Centralparks is inviting you to celebrate World Wildlife Day! On 3rd of March 1973 the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed. To commemorate the beginning of this important convention, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the 3rd of March as the World Wildlife Day. Now we celebrate it to raise awareness of the amazing wild animals and plants that are so precious. This year’s theme for the celebration is “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”.

Forests and local communities

This year´s World Wildlife Day celebrates the forest-based livelihoods. This theme promotes forest and forest wildlife management models and practices that accommodate both human well-being and the long-term conservation of forests, forest-dwelling species of wild fauna and flora and the ecosystems they sustain. And Centralpark project does exactly that!

Human activity has greatly reduced the area of old-growth forest in Europe, with some of the largest remaining fragments located in the Carpathian Mountains. Centralparks project partners understand that key to successful forest conservation anywhere in the world is the involvement of local communities. Therefore, we are continuously working on improving managing capacities of local authorities and their communication with communities in order to reconcile nature conservation and local socio-economic development in the Carpathians. With the tools provided by the project, locals will be able to care for their nature better. 

Join today

There will be plenty of online events today. Tune in and participate in the World Wildlife Day to learn more about forests and their importance to people’s lives all over the world.

Mountain Biodiversity Day – join the online event on 13th January

One voice to protect Mountains, Wildlife and People in times of global change

Mountains play a key role for biodiversity protection and are essential for the well-being of people. However, these ecosystems have also raised a different kind of attention in the past decades, as they are considered a sentinel of climate change, as well as land use changes, pollution, among others. However, if the right decisions are made right now to strengthen the resilience of mountain ecosystems, these biodiversity strongholds can adapt to climate change and mitigate the worst of its effects.

The Mountain Biodiversity Day, organised on 13th January is hosted by the outgoing French Presidency of the Alpine Convention in cooperation with the French Presidency of the EU-Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP). The event is jointly coordinated by the Alpine Network of Protected Areas (ALPARC), the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention and the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention as well as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The one-day event will bring together experts and various representatives from mountain regions not just within Europe but all over the world, whose work is directed towards mountain biodiversity.

The open event will allow these experts to identify common challenges, share knowledge and experiences, and capitalise best-practice solutions from various regions. Centralparks will be presented in this event, as the project´s effort to enhance the management of protected areas in the Carpathians, is key to maintaining biodiversity here. We will present our multi-level cooperation approach to bring together stakeholders from local, regional, national and international levels within the Centralparks project. As an outcome of the event, a Joint message on the importance of protecting global mountain biodiversity will be developed and taken forward to global events such as the IUCN World Conservation Congress.

See the full agenda below, and join us in this lively discussion tomorrow, to help shape global priorities for mountain biodiversity protection!

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Mid-term evaluation and last partner meeting of the year

Last week, the Centralparks consortium held its last partnership meeting of the year 2020. The online event was organised as a mid-term evaluation of the project progress, and was attended by representatives of the Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE Joint Secretariat, representatives of the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention as well as various Associated Partners of the project.

The aim of the meeting was to look back on the achievements and overall performance of the past 1,5 years of Centralparks, as well as to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of the project. This was a chance for the partnership to receive feedback from the Joint Secretariat about how to improve the planning, appraisal and implementation of project activities.

The mid-term review meeting was very valuable to draw initial lessons about project implementation and management, and to harmonise the project objectives. Every work package leader has presented their progress, reflected on challenges, and discussed planned activities together with the rest of the participants. This way, the meeting helped the partners in identifying and understanding in-depth the successes to date and problems that may arise in the next year, with special attention to the still very present Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, the event created the opportunity to provide the Centralparks Associated Partners with an external, objective view on the project status, its relevance, the effectiveness of its management, technical implementation and communication, and indication of whether the project is likely to achieve its objectives.

The meeting was also a good platform for the attendees outside the project consortium to provide to the Centralparks partners some recommendations for capturing additional opportunities, as well as for measures to overall improve the project performance for the remainder of the project duration.

The participants also touched on the subject of how to replicate the lessons learnt from project implementation to the the broader policy environment. Moreover, the deviations that have occurred in Centralparks’ work plan due to the Covid-19 outbreak have been discussed and various mitigation measures have been taken into consideration. Overall, the meeting was very fruitful, and the Centralparks team achieved great success in keeping the collaboration effective and strong over distance.

Carpathian Network of Protected Areas Steering Committee roundtable meeting: intensifying Carpathian cooperation

How can sustainable development and nature conservation be strengthened in the Carpathian region in the long-term? The roundtable meeting of the Steering Committee of the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA) aimed to answer this question. The online meeting took place on the 2nd of December within the Interreg CE Centralparks project, made possible with the support of the Interreg DTP ConnectGREEN project as well as the Carpathian Convention. 

The overall objective of the virtual gathering was to harmonize activities related to the CNPA, with special attention to the two ongoing projects sponsored by the European Commission, as well as the recent outcomes of the COP6

The meeting was moderated by the interim chair of the Steering Committee of the CNPA, Mircea Verghelet, Director of the Piatra Craiului National Park in Romania. Opening remarks were made by Bożena Haczek, Polish Ministry of Climate and Environmenton behalf of Poland, holding the new Presidency of the Carpathian Convention. She expressed her gratitude to the Carpathian Convention Secretariat as well as the Centralparks and ConnectGREEN projects for supporting this meeting. It is the first Carpathian meeting within the Polish presidency after the successful COP6.

Furthermore, Mr. Harald Egerer on behalf of UNEP Vienna-Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention highlighted the important role of CNPA within the Carpathian region and the opportunity raised by the Centralparks and ConnectGREEN projects. He welcomed the nominated Steering Committee members and thanked them for their participation. The meeting provided the opportunity for a round of introductions by the new and already confirmed steering committee members, representing all Carpathian countries. Moreover, the projects Centralparks and ConnectGREEN were presented to identify the opportunities of support. 

Jointly for the future of the Carpathians

Looking into the outcomes of the COP6, the CNPA has important tasks ahead in the field of biodiversity protection in the Carpathians but also on a global scale, contributing to the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. Therefore, it is a priority to activate and fully realise the CNPA, to connect the institutional with the ecological networks and to work towards achieving that the CNPA becomes a new and leading example of a fruitful network of protected areas not just in Europe but all around the world. 

Next year will be an important one for the CNPA. Upcoming activities include a second roundtable meeting of the CNPA Steering Committee within the 6th Forum Carpaticum, planned to be held in Brno, Czech Republic on 21-25 of June 2021 and the CNPA Conference organised within the ConnectGREEN final conference, to be held in Visegrád, Hungary, on 28-30 of September 2021. The Steering Committee also formulated its intention to intensify the cooperation between the Alpine, Danube and Carpathian regions, based on the Memorandum of Cooperation between the three networks ALPARC, DANUBEPARKS and the CNPA.

It was a very informative meeting providing a lot of inspiration to the Centralparks partners, encouraging us to continue with our efforts to contribute to a more sustainable Carpathian future.

For more details on this event, click here.

6th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Carpathian Convention

The Carpathian Convention is a subregional treaty to foster the sustainable development and the protection of the Carpathian region. It has been signed in May 2003 by seven Carpathian States (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Ukraine). Carpathian Convention Conferences of the Parties are organized to strengthen bonds between the partners and to serve as a reminder about the goals of this Convention. This year brought a surprise, as the physical conference of the Carpathian Convention COP6 (initially scheduled on 14-16 September 2020 in Rzeszow, Poland) had to be cancelled and moved to the virtual format. Therefore, on the 25th of November 2020, the 6th Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP6) will take place in the virtual realm.

This year at COP6, the 3-year Presidency of the Carpathian Convention will be handed over from Hungary to Poland. COP6 will create a platform to review the status of the implementation of the Carpathian Convention and will focus on harmonizing and strengthening sustainable development in the Carpathian region. 

More information on the website of the Carpathian Convention:

COP6 general information and previous Conferences of the Parties

11th meeting of the Carpathian Convention Implementation Committee

To prepare for this conference, the Carpathian Convention Secretariat organized the 11th meeting of the Carpathian Convention Implementation Committee (CCIC). It was held on 8th of October in online format. During this meeting, fruitful discussions and idea exchanges were summarized in the draft COP6 Decisions document. This document contains information on what the Carpathian Convention is seeking to achieve in the next years, what measures should they implement and what examples to use. 

We are very delighted that Centralparks has been endorsed in the Decisions Draft, and called to make significant contributions to the protection of natural and cultural heritage of the Carpathians in two different categories: Conservation and sustainable use of biological and landscape diversity and Sustainable tourism. Regarding the conservation and sustainable use of biological and landscape diversity, Centralparks gives considerable support to the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA) activities, encourages CNPA and WG Biodiversity. Regarding sustainable tourism, the Carpathian Convention Implementation Committee takes note of the activities of the Centralparks project, especially the Strategy for Local Sustainable Tourism Development based on natural and cultural heritage of the Carpathians. The Secretariat encouraged the parties to contribute to and use the results of the Centralparks project accordingly. This is a great honour to the partners of Centralparks, highlighting the importance of our work.