The first meeting of the Thematic Transnational Task Force on the Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit

23th July 2019, Bratislava, Slovakia

Ecosystem services, often referred to as “nature’s benefits,” draw attention to the ways that people depend on a healthy environment. Ecosystem Services support life (e.g., by providing air, water, food, raw materials, medicines), security (e.g., by mitigating extreme weather events, spread of vector-borne diseases), and quality of life (e.g., by supporting mental and physical health, cultural identity, recreation), among other things. Since Ecosystem Services are characterized by complex and interrelated nature, a comprehensive approach is needed in the Carpathians, to address situations where decisions potentially contributing to ESS loss would therefore have a serious negative impact on human well-being,

As part of the Thematic Work Package “Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit”, a Transnational Task Force was established for the successful elaboration of a Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit. Experts, nominated from each partner country came together for the first Task Force meeting held on 23th July in Bratislava, organised by the Work Package Leader, State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic.  


This first meeting kickstarted international cooperation and provided time for experts to share local experience, familiarise themselves with their tasks, gather preliminary results and agree upon necessary intermediary steps. During the next phase of developing the Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit, experts will have the duty to work on draft documents within their countries, engage in frequent consultations as well as the discussion and assessment of the elaborated Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit. The final Toolkit will be available online in English and at least 4 Carpathian languages (HU, PL, SK, CZ).

Attending the Interreg Central Europe Project Implementation Training

On 19th June, the Interreg Central Europe Joint Secretariat invited the Lead Partners of all newly approved projects to the Project Implementation Training in Vienna. The training offered a great opportunity to learn more about successful project management and finances, as well as to meet other projects with similar topics in the programme.

Every Lead Partner presented their project in a brief pitch, which was great to get a short introduction to the variety of projects currently implemented under the programme. Centralparks was able to meet the Lead Partner of the BEECH POWER project, with whom synergy activities will be organised in the next years!

The first meeting of the Thematic Transnational Task Force on local sustainable tourism development

26-28th June 2019, Czerwienne, Poland. The first meeting of the Thematic Transnational Task Force on local sustainable tourism development, established under Centralparks Work Package T1 is taking place, organized by the Ekopsychology Society from Poland.

The strategy for local sustainable tourism development based on natural and cultural heritage of the Carpathians will be developed jointly by national experts and protected area managers coming from the Carpathian region, to be delivered by January 2021. The strategy will be targeted at Carpathian protected area administrations, local communities and municipality authorities, with the objective to reconciliate and integrate nature protection with local socio-economic development and raise support of local communities for the conservation of biological and landscape diversity in the Carpathians.

The first meeting of the Thematic Transnational Task Force on communication between protected areas and local communities

24-26th June 2019, Czerwienne, Poland. The first meeting of the Thematic Transnational Task Force on communication between protected areas and local communities, organized by the Ekopsychology Society from Poland.

This event will offer platform for Carpathian national experts and protected area managers to start their joint work on developing guidelines on communication between protected areas and local communities in the Carpathians. These guidelines will be targeted at protected area managers for more effective communication of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development objectives, the reconciliation and integration of nature protection with local socio-economic development, as well as raising support of local communities for the conservation
of biological and landscape diversity in the Carpathians. These guidelines will be part of the strategic policy support documents and tools “package” to be produced by the Transnational Thematic Task Forces established within the project, under the Centralparks Work Package T1, that will later be tested, submitted for endorsement by the Carpathian Convention, and disseminated in the Carpathians and other regions of Central Europe.

The first Thematic Transnational Task Force Meeting on biodiversity and landscape conservation

Banská Bystrica, 17-18th June

On 17-18th June 2019, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia, will welcome a variety of national experts and protected area managers from the Carpathian region to jointly address issues concerning biodiversity and landscape conservation in the Carpathians. The two-day event will foster transnational cooperation between seven neighbouring states, Parties to the Carpathian Convention and will allow sharing expertise and best practices identified in the Carpathian region in order to improve Carpathian protected areas capacities in response to biodiversity loss. The event is organized by the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic in cooperation with the Ekopsychology Society from Poland as part of the Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE Centralparks project.

The Transnational Thematic Task Force on biodiversity and landscape conservation is one task force of five in total established within the project. Going in line with the aim of Centralparks, the task forces will be focusing on key pressures driving biodiversity loss in the Carpathians, such as infrastructure development, tourism pressure, degradation, fragmentation and destruction of habitats, poaching, illegal logging, pollution and climate change. These expert groups are tasked with the goal of the development of strategic policy documents and tools that will support the Carpathian region on the long-term. The first Thematic Transnational Task Force Meeting on biodiversity and landscape conservation will initiate the three-year-long joint work to develop the Carpathian strategy for enhancing biodiversity and landscape conservation in, and around all Carpathian Protected Areas.

Let’s get to know the partners: European Academy of Bolzano/Bozen (Eurac Research)

The lead partner, Eurac Research is a private non-profit advanced research centre established in 1992 in Bolzano, Italy. It comprises more than 450 staff members and collaborators who, united by the shared values of passion for their work and a commitment to quality, have the opportunity to work in a multicultural environment thanks to a wide diversity of nationalities represented among its team. The activities of Eurac Research include national and international research projects as well as direct cooperation with public and private clients.

Eurac Research is internally organized into 11 research institutes, performing research activities in different fields from issues related to minority rights protection, federal, regional and local governmental trends and the efficient management of public administrations to studies on renewable energies, promotion of sustainable development and the protection of natural resources. Besides 9 labs, which focus on the field of renewable energy, Eurac Research also has biobanks, ancient remains labs, a biomedicine lab, an extreme environmental simulator terraXcube, an environmental sensing lab and an alpine environment open-air lab.

Eurac Research is seen as one of the most significant scientific partners for the Carpathian Convention. The Institute for Regional Development has also been invited to contribute to the Conference of the Parties (COP), the main decision-making body of the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians.

The organisation has over 20 years’ experience in EU co-financed projects, in terms of both participation and management. Since 2010, Eurac Research has been involved in 161 projects funded by different EU schemes. Currently, Eurac Research is involved, both as Lead Partner and Project Partner, in 80 ongoing projects. Eurac Research has extensive experience in the management of projects thanks to the high level of qualifications and skills of its staff. Its experience will benefit the harmonisation of  biodiversity protection and regional development in the Carpathian protected areas.

The team

Project Kick-off

16-17th of April

The official Kick-off meeting of the Centralparks project took place on 16-17th April in Bolzano, Italy. The meeting welcomed 8 project partners as well as representatives of national Ministries and the Carpathian Convention. The expert meeting provided a platform for intense knowledge exchange through action plans, strategies and cooperation strategies that will provide guidance for the project.

The Centralparks project, co-funded by the European Commission through the INTERREG CENTRAL EUROPE Programme, has the overall budget of 1.6 Mio. EUR. The project unites 8 project partners and 8 associated partners from 9 European countries, aiming to harmonise management capacities in Carpathian Protected Areas. The project will support nature protection and local sustainable development, improve integrated environmental management capacities and policies, and will focus on mitigating current threats and pressures to biodiversity.

The kick-off meeting was opened by the welcome speech of Lead Partner responsible Isidoro de Bortoli, Prof. Roland Psenner, the president of Eurac Research, and Dr. Thomas Philipp Streifeneder, the head of the research institute of regional development. As the project focuses on the Carpathians which are a strong link between the project partners, Eleonora Musco, representing the Carpathian Convention officially welcomed the partnership.

Over the next 3 years, guidelines, strategic documents and pilot actions will be implemented. During the meeting, the three Thematic Work packages have been presented by the Work package leaders.  These work packages focus on the integration of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the Carpathian Region, building capacities of Carpathian Protected Area managers and strenghtening ecosystem services in the Carpathians.

It was a strong and productive start. We are looking forward to the fruitful cooperation!