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How to educate the next generation to face the environmental challenges ahead?

More than 550 environmental education experts from around 50 countries, including representatives of Centralparks are coming together in Prague and online this week to participate in the 11th World Environmental Education Congress.

The Czech Republic is the first Central European country to host the congress in its nearly 20-year history. Its size makes it one of the largest educational conferences in the history of the Czech Republic.
The congress programme was jointly prepared by experts from Czech and foreign universities, eco-centres and other organisations involved in environmental education.

According to the main organizer of the event, Jan Činčera from the Department of Environmental Studies at Masaryk University, the programme was created as a joint project of a wide professional community and its preparation took almost three years.
The Congress is attended by government officials, as well as representatives of business and the non-profit sector. The hybrid form of the congress, which allows active participation of those participants who could not come to Prague, ensures the connection in the ongoing pandemic situation.

“Environmental problems, such as climate change, are not going to disappear from the world. We must find a way to educate children to be active citizens who are sensitive to nature and at the same time believe in the power of democracy to solve such problems.”

Jan Činčera, organiser of the World Environmental Education Congress


The programme of the congress consists of lectures by leading world experts, panel discussions and seminars aimed at sharing experiences and finding new ways for the theory and practice of environmental education. “Meetings like the World Congress on Environmental Education allow us to stop and reflect. Together we can figure out how this area of education should change to better respond to today’s complex and opaque world,” adds Chinchera.

Centralparks presenting at the 11th World Environmental Education Congress

The Centralparks team is present on the Congress in two fronts. Tomorrow at 13:00 we will present the Centralparks experience with the integration of biodiversity protection with environmental and sustainability education in and around Carpathian protected areas.

Moreover, the Cartoon illustrated youth poster developed by the project is accepted in the international poster session of the Congress.

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Updates from the 12th WG Biodiversity meeting

Carpathians and the Carpathian Convention

Carpathian ecosystems hold the very last European wilderness areas. These areas are famous for their largest remaining primeval forests and grasslands. Moreover, within such ecosystems, there are over 400 endemic plant and other animal species, that are either extinct or cannot effectively exist in other European regions.

To better manage these biodiversity hotspots, the Carpathian Convention was established 18 years ago. It is a multilateral environmental agreement between seven Carpathian countries which include Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. To this date, such partnership has helped to ensure a great framework for cooperation and multisectoral policy integration. Specifically, it has also opened up the forum for participation by stakeholders and the public. Moreover, it has also been a notably successful platform for developing and implementing transnational strategies, programmes and projects for environmental protection and sustainable development. 

Carpathian Convention & WG Biodiversity under the global post-2020 biodiversity framework

Especially supporting the latter point, the Carpathian Convention has provided a Protocol on Biodiversity and Sustainable Forest Management. This Protocol safeguards both biological and landscape diversity in the region. Under this spectrum, the Carpathian Convention is therefore also considered as a regional instrument that promotes the implemention of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in the Carpathians. Additionally, it also endorses the Global 2050 Goals and 2030 Action Targets within the regional level.

All this noted, the Working Group on Biodiversity (WG Biodiversity), as an entity under the Carpathian Convention, was also established to support the implementation of the relevant global and EU policies and processes. Particularly, it focuses on the the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. For this reason, the Parties and the Secretariat and organised the next Working Group on Biodiversity meeting, held on 19 – 20 May 2021.

Centralparks project & global and European biodiversity goals 

As a regional project that is supported by the Carpathian Convention and its members, Centralparks ensures both the improved legal protection as well as a more efficient management of the protected natural areas in the Carpathians. Among three work packages under the Centralparks project, The 1st Thematic Work Package (WPT1) specifically addresses the above mentioned objectives of the Carpathian Convention in relation to both global and European biodiversity goals. Here are two specific examples as to how it does this.

First, the WPT1 aims to ensure integration of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the Carpathian region. To do this, it reconciles and links the conservation of biological/landscape diversity to sustainable local socio-economic development. Specifically, it supports the local communities in their protected areas related operations. In general, this contributes to the development of local sustainable tourism practices and improves the overall communications background between the local stakeholders.

Second, the the WPT1 also serves as a great platform for transnational cooperation and networking in the protection of biodiversity. Under the WPT1, there are 3 multinational expert groups (Thematic Transnational Task Forces, TTTFs). All TTFs are highly involved in the Centralparks activities.

Draft Carpathian strategy for enhancing biodiversity and landscape conservation

To this date, the TTTF on biodiversity and landscape conservation has prepared 3 subsequent working versions of the Draft Carpathian strategy for enhancing biodiversity and landscape conservation (hereinafter ‘the Draft’) outside and inside protected areas. It indicates some specific measures and activities, which need to be applied in the protected Carpathian areas.

The implementation of the Draft will take place under 2 separate pilot actions in Hungary and Poland in 2021, each action involving the Carpathian protected areas (Duna-Ipoly National Park, Pieniny National Park) and surrounding local communities. Reports on lessons learned from its test implementation will be submitted in early 2022 to the Carpathian Convention. 

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Carpathian Convention WG Biodiversity meetings on 19th and 20th May 2021

Today and tomorrow, on the 19th and 20th of May, the Twelfth Meeting of the Working Group on Biodiversity (WG Biodiversity) of the Carpathian Convention will take place. Similar to previous year, both meeting days will be held in an online format.

During the first day, participants will go through the draft of the WG Biodiversity Work Plan 2021 – 2023 to analyse the relevant documents for the WG Biodiversity activities. The Report on population status of large carnivores and monitoring methods in the Carpathians will be then discussed alongside International Action Plan on the Conservation of Large Carnivores and Ensuring Ecological Connectivity. 

Other projects, relevant for the implementation of the Action Plan, will also be presented. Among those, we will specifically touch upon the Centralparks, as well as the ConnectGREEN and SaveGREEN projects, which focus on ecological connectivity in the Carpathians. Moreover, the WG Biodiversity will also put their heads together about the Successful Wildlife Crime Prosecution in Europe (SWiPE) project, which is another recently started EU LIFE project in the region.

During the second day, participants will largely examine the Post – 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Here, we will go through the updates on the Post-2020 GBF process, discuss the role and contribution of the Carpathian Convention, as well as elaborate on the Trilateral Memorandum of Cooperation between the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Alpine Convention and the Carpathian Convention. Furthermore, we will also open the floor for fruitful discussions on both the Carpathian Wetland Initiative and Forum Carpaticum 2021.

Most importantly from the Centralparks project side is that on day two, representatives of the project will present the activities of Centralparks and the efforts related to the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA). Here, we will have the opportunity to present the updates on the CNPA activities, including the 3rd CNPA Conference. Finally, meeting attendees will go through the Citizen Science in the Carpathians, which is another essential, this time – Visegrad project, that concerns the biodiversity issues in the Carpathians.

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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