Centralparks workshop in Pieniny National Park, Poland

A workshop “Strategy for the protection of biological and landscape diversity outside and inside Pieniny National Park”, co-organized by the Ekopsychology Society (leader of the Centralparks thematic work package No 1 “Integration of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the Carpathian Region”) and the administration of Pieniny National Park was held in Krościenko nad Dunajcem (Poland) on 28-30 June 2021.    

What is behind this workshop?

This event marked the next phase of implementation of the Centralparks pilot action in Pieniny National Park, aimed at testing the efficiency of the draft Carpathian strategy for enhancing biodiversity and landscape conservation outside and inside protected areas, elaborated in 2019-2020 under the Centralparks project in support for the implementation of the Protocol on conservation and sustainable use of biological and landscape diversity (Bucharest, 2008) to the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians (Kyiv, 2003) at the local and regional level, accordingly to one of the priorities of the current Polish Presidency of the Convention.

The above draft strategy, targeted at local municipalities, protected area administrations, local and regional level nature conservation and landscape protection agencies, bodies and authorities shall soon be submitted for the endorsement by the Carpathian Convention.

Pieniny National Park

Pieniny National Park, designated in 1932, forms the Polish part of the first European and World’s second transboundary protected area (established only a month later than the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park between Canada and the USA). The intention to designate such a crossborder nature park was inscribed into the Polish-Czechoslovak bilateral agreement, the 1924 ‘Krakow Protocol’, which stipulated “concluding, as soon as possible, a tourist convention” to facilitate the development of tourism in border areas of both above countries, and “a convention on a nature park” establishing areas restricted for the protection of cultural heritage, nature and landscape. Both above ideas materialized over 80 years later, with the adoption of the ‘Carpathian Convention’ in 2003, and its thematic Protocol on Sustainable Tourism (Bratislava, 2011).

Centralparks pilot action and further thoughts on workshop

The objective of this Centralparks pilot action is also to facilitate and support the dialogue between the Pieniny National Park administration and the authorities of the 4 local communities located in its buffer zone, towards ensuring the integrity of natural habitats and maintaining the fragile ecological connectivity between this relatively small protected area (2,371.75 ha) and neighbouring larger natural complexes in the Carpathians, increasingly threatened by the rapid residential and recreational housing development in the national park buffer zone (2,653.8 ha), which requires the joint solution of potential land-use conflicts in several ‘problem areas’, successfully identified during the June workshop.

Hence, the purpose of the Centralparks workshop in June 2021, attended by 20 participants (including the experts from Pieniny National Park, the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Kraków, and the Board of the Landscape Parks Complex of the Małopolska Region) was to prepare a series of meetings with the local stakeholders in each of the 4 ‘gateway’ municipalities, planned for September and October 2021.

Expressing gratitude

We would like to thank Mr. Michał Sokołowski, the Director of the Pieniny National Park, other national park employees and workshop participants for their commitment during the meeting (and also for guiding us during the field visit in the picturesque national park buffer zone).

Workshop participants during a site visit to NP buffer zone area, guided by NP staff, location: Sromowce Nizne (at PL bank of Dunajec river), background: Mt. Trzy Korony / Three Crowns (982 m asl).

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