Partners prepare for the next steps in the Polish Carpathians

29-30th October, Sanok, Poland. The two-day Project Partner and Steering Committee meeting of the Centralparks project united partners to evaluate the very first months of the project and jointly plan the next steps.

The partner meeting was organised by Ekopsychology Society, leader of the 1st Thematic Work Package, in the beautiful Polish town Sanok, which lies directly below the Carpathian Mountains. The meeting was opened with a welcome speech by Zbigniew Niewiadomski from Ekopsychology Society, introducing the natural and cultural heritage of the region. After that, Isidoro de Bortoli, Project Manager from the Lead Partner Eurac Research guided the participants through the agenda of the meeting and presented the current state and achievements of Work Package Management. Special focus was put on reviewing the first six months of the project implementation.

What are the keys of effective communication and how can all partners be ambassadors of the project? The answer was explained in the presentation on Work Package Communication by Hanna Öllös from the European Wilderness Society, leader of the respective Work Package.

The 1st Thematic Work Package was presented by Zbigniew Niewiadomski, who focused on giving an update about the achievements of the Thematic Transnational Task Forces and next steps of the work plan. Borbála Major from the leader of the 2nd Thematic Work Package, Duna-Ipoly National Park) shared the current status of the work and explained to the partners the following tasks in developing innovative conservation planning methods. The 3rd Thematic Work Package, focusing on the development of the Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit was presented jointly by Jan Kadlecik (from the State Nature Conservancy SK) and Zuzana Okániková from Pronatur NGO, presenting the first results of the Gap analyis, prepared to identify the current status in ecosystem services implementation and address gaps in the implementation of ecosystem services policies in the target countries.

During the next session, Eleonora Musco from Eurac Research detailed the role and planned activities of the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention in project implementation, highlighting various events where Centralparks will be present, and provided an update on the ConnectGREEN project, focusing on strenghtening green infrastructure in the Carpathians.

Inbetween presentations, partners had the chance to stretch their legs and take their fruitful discussions outside: a guided tour through the Museum of Folk architecture in Sanok showcased the rich cultural heritage the Carpathian region holds in itself, which gave new inspirations for each participant.

The second day was reserved for the Steering Committee meeting, during which important tasks and responsibilities were layed down. Recently, the project Advisory Support Group was set up, bringing together Mr. Harald Egerer, Head of the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention, Mr. Boris Erg, IUCN Director of the Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Andreas Beckmann, Regional Director at WWF Central and Eastern Europe. The consortium will follow the project progress closely and will provide expertquality check of Centralparks results.

Finally, the partnership agreed on the next meetings and big events, such as the organisation of the Carpathian Network of the Protected Areas roundtable, one key result in the project. Filled with inspiring talks, important to-dos and Carpathian team spirit, partners returned home, to continue working for the Carpathians, one of the wildest sides of Europe.

Centralparks at the EU Week of Regions and Cities

From the 7th to the 10th October our IVY volunteer Jonas attended the “European Week of Regions and Cities” at the EU headquarters in Brussels. Jonas is part of the „Interreg Volunteer Youth“ (IVY) and supports the European Wilderness Society with the communication of Centralparks. IVY invited 10 volunteers to this annual four-day event, that brings together over 6000 people involved in regional policy. One of the invited volunteers was our Centralparks volunteer Jonas.

During the week, Jonas could experience the EU firsthand. After an opening at the European Parliament, there was a fair of Interreg projects and a variety of workshop, sessions and presentations. There, government officials, journalists, researchers and representatives of many different organisations and regions came together to discuss how regional policy can strengthen Europe.

„It was amazing to see how passionate many people are about the EU.“

Jonas Sommer, IVY volunteer

The highlight of the week for Jonas was the session of IVY. There he presented his work in the Centralparks project and his Citizens Engagement Activity “WILDArt Majella“. This week, just like our project, shows how important cross-border and trans-regional cooperation is. Sharing knowledge and experiences is crucial to conserve nature and improve the situations for rural communities in Europe.

Workshop on innovative conservation planning methods

17-19th September 2019, Szokolya, Hungary

On the third week of September, Centralparks partners and nature conservation experts gather in Szokolya, Hungary, to attend the workshop on innovative methods in conservation planning. The workshop focuses on the state-of-the-art light detection and ranging tool for monitoring the topography, the species and habitat diversity called LiDAR, together with forest and grassland state evaluation. The workshop is organized by the Danube-Ipoly National Park Directorate in the heart of the Börzsöny project project pilot site.

Integrated into the 3-day workshop, the Thematic Transnational Task Force on nature conservation management has been established, which brings together expert cooperation on the the development of a Nature Conservation Management Plan for Börzsöny Mountains.

Effective, integrated, science-based nature conservation management planning in Carpathian Protected Areas needs innovative tools, methods and capacity building. Centralparks therefore aims to introduce a new approach for conservation planning that will also be put into practice in Danube-Ipoly National Park in Hungary.

Joining the Communication Seminar in Budapest

9-10th September, 2019

The Centralparks team attanded the Interreg Central Europe seminar on Communication in Budapest, Hungary. The Communication seminar was opened by Frank Schneider, who welcomed over 90 participants. The participants represent the Interreg Central Europe projects that recently started, and even those who are almost done!

On the first of the two-day seminar, the group focused a lot on ‘ingredients for good communication’. It appeared that even the 90 communication managers and project representatives could not find a single word that they all thought of when thinking about ‘communication’.

Online communication

The second part of the first day focused on branding and website communication. Together, we discussed the elements that we would like to present to our website visitors, as well as content that we would like to have in the future.

The second day focused on effective storytelling techniques and how to have a strong presense of social media. Participants were given a team excersise, where they could practice how to hit the perfect note in storytelling.

Did you know that the Interreg Central Europe website hosts a separate website for each project?

Visit the Centralparks website on the Interreg Central Europe platform!

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