Centralparks at the Carpathian Convention Working Group on Biodiversity and the Steering Committee of the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas

6 March 2020 – Important announcement

Adjournment of the joint meeting of the Carpathian Convention Working Group on Biodiversity, Working Group on Sustainable Transport and the Steering Committee of the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas

Due to temporary restrictions on international travels for public health reasons related to COVID-19, the physical meeting of the Joint meeting of the Carpathian Convention Working Group on Biodiversity, Working Group on Sustainable Transport and the Steering Committee of the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas that was scheduled on 10 – 11 March 2020 has been adjourned sine die. Currently the organization of an online meeting, within which the most important topics will be discussed, is under way.

Please stay tuned for further news during the coming weeks!

Next week, the Centralparks project will be introduced to the Carpathian Convention‘s biodiversity experts and stakeholders at the Carpathian Convention Working Group (WG) on Biodiversity and the Steering Committee (SC) of the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA), that will take place between 10– 11th March 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. The WG Biodiversity & the CNPA SC meeting will be organized in parallel with the WG Sustainable Transport meeting of the Convention. The meeting will be financially supported by the EU DTP ConnectGREEN project.

The meeting will offer the possibility to re-gather official members of the Steering Committee of CNPA after a long break.  CNPA was created in December 2006 as a regional thematic network for the cooperation of mountain protected areas in the Carpathians and a means of implementing the Carpathian Convention. The CNPA’s general objective is to contribute to the protection and sustainable development of the Carpathian protected areas and related natural assets.

The main goals of the CNPA are:

  • Promotion of cooperation on protection, restoration of nature and sustainable use of natural and cultural resources of the Carpathians;
  • Implementation of decisions and recommendations undertaken by the bodies established under the Carpathian Convention as well as of other applicable relevant international legal instruments;
  • Promotion of sustainable livelihoods and sustainable development of the Carpathians;
  • Implementation of the relevant provisions of the Protocol on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological and Landscape Diversity (Biodiversity Protocol) and of the Sustainable Tourism Protocol and its Strategy.

The CNPA SC is composed by National Focal Points, nominated by the Parties of the Carpathian Convention. The meetings of the CNPA SC, open to attend for interested observers, are focusing on coordinating activities of the CNPA, developing strategies and working plans for the CNPA, and organising the CNPA Conferences. 

The Carpathian Convention Implementation Committee welcomes Centralparks

The Centralparks project was introduced to the Carpathian Convention Parties and stakeholders at the 10th meeting of the Carpathian Convention Implementation Committee (CCIC), that took place on 12-13 December in Budapest, hosted by the Hungarian Presidency of the Convention.

The 10th meeting of the Carpathian Convention Implementation Committee offered the possibility for Member States to look back at the latest activities implemented in the region and to look forward to the next steps towards the 6th Conference of the Parties, to be held in Poland in Autumn 2020, and beyond.

In the frame of the meeting, Centralparks was presented by Mr. Mircea Verghelet. The project is considered a Carpathian Convention flagship project, which support the implementation of the Carpathian Convention under different strategic aspects and foster the cooperation within the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA). Parties welcomed the future organization of the CNPA Steering Group meeting, back to back the Centralparks partners meeting, at the end of 2020 in Czech Republic.  ​Furthermore, CCIC encouraged the Carpathian Convention Working Group on Biodiversity and the Secretariat to support the organization of a Conference for the Carpathian Protected Areas within the Centralparks and EU DTP ConnectGreen projects at the beginning of 2021.​

You can find more information about the CCIC meeting here.

The Carpathian Convention

The Carpathian Convention is a consortium of seven Carpathian countries (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Serbia) to foster the sustainable development and protection of the Carpathian region. The Convention is one of only two sub-regional treaties for the protection and sustainable development of a mountain region worldwide. The Convention provides a framework for cooperation and multi-sectoral policy coordination, a platform for joint strategies for sustainable development, and a forum for dialogue between all stakeholders involved – from the local community and various NGO’s up to the regional and national governments, institutions of the European Union and the United Nations. Further information: http://www.carpathianconvention.org/

Centralparks attending the Youth Green Conference

Developing new ideas and approaches to support young people’s (positive) attitude towards taking active action has been a big topic in the European Union. Young generation is becoming more and more aware about what is happening to our environment, about decision-making processes at national, regional and local levels. It is a general tendency that young people lose trust and confidence in political institutions and try new ways to find their voice and express themselves politically.

Therefore the Austrian-Ukrainian Youth Green Conference became a powerful tool to bring together young, bright people to talk about some pressing topics of today. Developed and organised jointly by the European Wilderness Society, partner in the Centralparks project and FORZA, Agency for Sustainable Development of the Carpathian Region, the 3-day Conference hosted approx. 60 young students from Ukrainian and Austrian schools. The event used many innovative ways to address the topics of sustainable transport, environment, the importance of wildlife and protected areas.

Centralparks was presented to these kids as an example of how the EU supports such transnational projects. They had the chance to openly discuss the importance of the Carpathians, the many ways local communities can benefit from such natural values and how can local decision-making bodies and communities be encouraged to be open for new tools for nature conservation. The presentation and related discussions were powerful to bring appreciation for natural treasures on a local level. Regardless of the level of development, cultural and societal differences, the nature in each country has its uniqueness and intrinsic value. Kids learned about the history and wildlife in the Carpathians, the purpose of protected areas and how human actions can influence the future of the Carpathian mountains. At the end of the day, kids were proud to know that they can contribute to the protection of the rich biodiversity of the Carpathians, in particular in the Ukraine.

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.