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Meeting of Stakeholders of the Carpathian Convention

On the 16th of September, the Czech partners of the Centralparks project are organising an important event – the Meeting of Stakeholders of the Carpathian Convention 2021. The gathering will take place from 16th to 17th September in Nová Lhota in the White Carpathians, Czechia. The event is held regularly every year under the auspices of the Ministry of the Environment, it is co-organised by the Education and Information Centre Bílé Karpaty and co-financed by the Interreg Centralparks project. Many stakeholders from ministries, regional and local authorities, academia, NGOs as well as active citizens from the region will participate in the meeting.

The programme includes lectures, discussions and sharing of experience and best practices. The participants are updated about recent developments of the Carpathian Convention and ongoing projects and activities at both international and national level. The main topics of this year will be biodiversity, ecosystem services, tourism, and nature and landscape protection. An excursion to an organic farm in Blatnička will be organised on the second day.

During the meeting, two important deliverables, elaborated within the Centraparks project, will be presented. First, Jan Kadlečík (State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic) will present the usage of the Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit, developed within the project. Second, Barbora Duží (White Carpathians Education and Information Centre) will present the Strategy for local sustainable tourism development.

Meeting agenda (in CZ):

2nd CNPA Steering Committee Round Table

On the 19th of July 2021, the 2nd CNPA (Carpathian Network of Protected Areas) Steering Committee Round Table took place. Here are the key updates concerning the Interreg Central Europe Centralparks project and its thematic work package updates that have been shared with the CNPA Steering Committee.

1st Thematic Work Package: Integration of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the Carpathian region

  • On 10th June this year, the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention has officially submitted the strategy for local sustainable tourism development based on the natural and cultural heritage of the Carpathians to the Parties of the Carpathian Convention.
  • On 7th July 2021, the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention has submitted the draft Carpathian strategy for enhancing biodiversity and landscape conservation outside and inside protected areas to the Parties of the Carpathian Convention.
  • Under the frameworks of two strategies, Centralparks also ran two pilot actions in Poland, in Pieniny National Park and Magurski National Park. Concerning the local sustainable tourism strategy meeting in Magurski National Park, several important stakeholders expressed their willingness to cooperate with the National Park Director on the implementation of the local strategy for the Magura region.

2nd Thematic Work Package: Building capacities of Carpathian protected areas managers

  • The preparation of the 3rd part of the background documentation is currently taking place. It will include the results on habitat mapping, forest and grassland state evaluation, LiDAR, Forest fauna evaluation. The partners and transnational thematic task forces (TTTF) members will then prepare the final output.

In the meantime, however, Danube-Ipoly National Park Directorate (DINPD), in the area of the Börzsöny Mountains, has supervised several forest management plans. DINPD determined 3,000 survey points.

3rd Thematic Work Package: Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit

The final proposal of the Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit (CEST) has been now finalised. Furthermore, Centralparks partners have also finalised and distributed the shortened version for translation to other Carpathian languages.

Out of the key ongoing tasks, there is currently the development of the annex to CEST on the ecosystem services’ capacity in the Carpathian region. It will produce the step-by-step guide for using the CEST. Additionally, it will be delivered alongside the training programme for local and regional authorities.

Upcoming international conference with important CNPA contribution

CNPA is currently actively contributing to the international conference ‘Protected Areas – cornerstones of ecological connectivity in the Carpathians and beyond’. Main topic of this event is ‘Ecological connectivity inside and outside Protected Areas‘.

The conference will take place between 28-30 September 2021 in Visegrad, Hungary. Given the current pandemic situation, it will also be possible to join the meeting online.  If interested to take part, please submit your registration for the conference until 15th of September 2021.

This conference will offer the participants to:

  • Learn about recent developments in the Carpathians;
  • Raise awareness on the need for cross sectoral approaches for the identification, conservation and restoration of ecological connectivity in Carpathians and beyond;
  • Serve the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas members to get together, exchange knowledge and experience, hear about new methods and approaches to improve and safeguard ecological connectivity;
  • Offer space for cross-sectoral discussion, as improvement of ecological connectivity needs more spatial planning, agriculture,forestry, transport etc.
  • Foster collaboration between projects dealing with ecological connectivity.
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Closing Carpathian Quiz – announcing the winners!

From 1st of June to 19th of July, Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE project Centralparks ran an educational Quiz on the Carpathian region. In the last two weeks, the results were finalised and winners – announced. What an excellent digital event this has been! 

What was the quiz about?

The Centralparks Quiz included 17 questions. The basis of these questions consisted of geographical and biological aspects concerning the region.

Besides that, however, another key aspect of the Quiz featured the Centralparks project itself. This, in turn, was done to facilitate knowledge on both tasks and expected outcomes, performed in this project. Consequently, general public was able to obtain an important information on the general essence of Centralparks and the ideas behind it.

Some interesting insights

  • The Quiz question that received largest number of correct answers was:

4. What is the highest peak in the Carpathians?

A. Moldoveanu peak in Romania

B. Rysy, on the border of Poland and Slovakia

C. Gerlachovský peak in Slovakia

D. Vysoká peak in Slovakia


Correct Answer: C. Gerlachovský peak in Slovakia

  • The Quiz question that received smallest number of correct questions was:

13. To safeguard all the above species within their respective protected areas, The Interreg Centralparks project has been created. Its key aim is to facilitate knowledge exchange between the Carpathian protected area managers. Why do you think this has to be done?

A. To share the best protection-related practices

B. To raise awareness about the protected areas

C. To improve management capacities of Carpathian protected areas

D. All of the above

Correct Answer: C. To improve management capacities of Carpathian protected areas

! Notably, all other questions related to Centralparks project were answered correctly in over 70% of cases. Consequently, this means that the participants have improved the knowledge of the Centralparks objectives as they proceeded with the Quiz.

Overall, out of 50 Quiz submissions, the average rate of correct questions was­­­­­­­ over 80%. This is a great number, as it shows the already existing knowledge, that the general public holds of the Carpathians and its treasures. By improving and spreading this knowledge further, it will be possible to truly preserve the greatest magic of this region!

Announcing the winners

By using random generator, Centralparks partners have selected 10 winners. All winners have been already issued their prizes, prepared earlier by the Centralparks partners.

Big congratulations go to the following winners:

Czech Republic:

Petra Horáčková

Ondrej Vitek

Slovakia:

Paulina Feriancova

Erik Harman

Peter Hrubovský

Tomáš Rovný

Hungary:

Zalaba Ádám

András Zágon

Albert Csilla

Poland:

Mieczysław Bętkowski

! And, of course – big congratulations likewise go to all other people, who have taken part in the Quiz and whose names, alongside their greatest Carpathian poems, we are promoting below.

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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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The Carpathian Convention celebrated its 18th anniversary

18 years ago, seven countries decided to join forces under an umbrella of an international treaty to work closely together on a sustainable future for the Carpathian region – one of Europe´s last greatest wilderness areas with an exceptional richness of biodiversity. 

Signed on 22 May 2003, the Carpathian Convention´s vision is to address environmental challenges, improve the quality of life and strengthen the local economies and communities for the well-being of current and future generations. The Carpathian Convention aims at conserving fragile and precious ecosystems and promoting sustainable development in the Carpathian region by providing a legal framework to pursue comprehensive policy and cooperation at various levels, including international, governmental, regional and local.

A convention for Carpathian biodiversity

The Carpathians are home to stunning ecosystems with unique natural and cultural heritage, including many traditions, cultural practices and historical monuments that have survived to this day, constituting great assets for sustainable tourism development and determining the unique tourist attractiveness of the whole region. The region hosts one of the most precious old-growth forests in Europe and provides habitat to the largest numbers of big carnivores including bears, lynx and wolves in Europe. 

It is not a coincidence that the Carpathian Convention was adopted on 22 May, International Biodiversity Day. The Convention addresses various thematic sectors relevant for sustainable development of the region, however, biodiversity should be considered the key underpinning element upon which all other sectors depend. Therefore, the Convention can be considered as a great model for mainstreaming biodiversity into other sectors and shall be considered as a useful regional instrument for supporting the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the upcoming Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Since 2003, mountains of work have been done to progress on ensuring environmental sustainability of the Carpathian region, including maintaining ecological connectivity, conserving large carnivores, protecting wetlands, developing an inventory of old growth forests, and enhancing the management efficiency of protected areas by strengthening the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas. Yet, the work ahead of us for living in harmony with nature in the Carpathian region is still long and challenging.

Cooperation is central

We want to take this opportunity to thank the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention, all the Parties to the Carpathian Convention (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Ukraine) and organisations, Environmental ministries and other stakeholders for their great commitment and contribution towards a more sustainable future in the Carpathians.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Henry Ford

We are looking forward to further working within Centralparks together with other Carpathian experts to ensure the protection of Carpathian natural and cultural heritage, while supporting local socio-economic development.

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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.

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10th Meeting of the Carpathian Convention Working Group on Sustainable Tourism

On 15th of April 2021, the 10th Meeting of the Carpathian Convention Working Group on Sustainable Tourism (WG Tourism) took place. The meeting had two key objectives: a) to get updates on the implementation of the Protocol on Sustainable Tourism to the Carpathian Convention (hereinafter the Protocol) in the Carpathian countries and b) to facilitate discussion on further activities of the WG Tourism with the support of the Carpathian Sustainable Tourism Platform (CSTP) and its official Centres. The degree to which both of these aims have been taken into account by the parties to the Convention can be evaluated in the update section of the table below.

Country Updates
Czech Republic– National document to implement the Protocol has been enforced.
– National roundtables on the process of the Carpathian Convention take place on a regular basis.
– Besides the implementation of the specific projects related to the Carpathian Convention, the country is also proactive in other sustainability-related developments e.g., European Cultural Route of Saints Cyril and Methodius.
Hungary– Active in implementing the Carpathian Convention in general.
– Legislation regarding the sustainable tourism has been specifically influential at the national level: it has become a horizontal goal in various national plans and strategies, produced by the Hungarian government.
Poland– To date, several ministries have supported the development of the sustainable tourism practices in the Carpathians. Financing is currently dedicated towards the projects which will do both – create better tourist routes as well as promote safety within those routes.
– 1 memorandum of cooperation has been signed within the frame of the CSTP, namely – MoC – between the CSTP Centre – Poland and the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention.
– Poland is also actively developing sustainable highking tourism e.g., Trekking without backpack project.
Romania– Active in implementing the Strategy for Sustainable Development in the Carpathians. For detailed information on the country’s updates in relation to this theme, please click here.
Slovakia– This year, the country focuses on the promotion of the sustainable practices in the protected areas.
– Ministry of Environment of Slovak Republic is actively working with several local and regional organisations, especially focusing on cleaning mountain trails together with hiking and cycling spots.
– Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic is also an important actor within the sustainable tourism realm. To check some of the projects supported by this authority please click here.
Ukraine– Sustainable development in the Carpathians is promoted alongside general government as well as several other related private (especially regional) organisations.
– Network of national parks and relevant infrastructure for sustainable tourism is also in progress.
– The country is preparing to host an online meeting with relevant sustainable tourism experts from around the world.
Table 1: Countries’ updates from the 10th Meeting of the Carpathian Convention Working Group on Sustainable Tourism

Centralparks and sustainable tourism 

During the final session of this meeting, various organisations presented the ongoing projects and good practices on sustainable tourism in the Carpathian region. Among these, the Centalparks project, together with its key focus on the integration of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, were observed. 

A milestone of the project in the realm of sustainable tourism is the Draft Strategy on Local sustainable Tourism Development in the Carpathians. The main focus of this Draft is to enhance the contribution of tourism to the sustainable development of the local economy in the Carpathians. This, in turn, should allow a more equal sharing of benefits and revenues from the tourism sector throughout the Carpathian municipalities. Furthermore, the Draft Strategy also aims to mitigate the impacts of tourism on fragile mountain ecosystems of the Carpathians by dispersing, redirecting and channeling part of the regular tourism traffic out of the post sensitive sites of the protected areas to less ecologically sensitive areas.

The implementation of the Draft is planned under the three separate pilot actions to be launched in spring 2021 in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovak Republic. The pilot implementation will involve Carpathian protected areas and local communities.

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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Centralparks contributes to climate change adaptation in the Carpathian Mountains

In amongst other challenges, the Carpathian Mountains face a threat from the global phenomenon of climate change. A publication coordinated by the UN Environment Programme highlights the threats climate change pose to the Carpathian region and the mitigation measures to deal with such threats. Above all, the need to enhance cross-border cooperation such as the Centralparks project in adapting to climate change was a key outcome of this paper.

The realities of climate change

Current projections show that the Carpathian region will begin to experience increasingly irregular rainfall and a generally warmer climate. Scientists from Eurac Research expect a rise in temperature of around 3.0-4.5 ̊C by the end of the current century. Consequently, these changes will have a profound impact on both the human and natural elements of the Carpathian region.

Primeval forests and grasslands which make the Carpathians so unique will be negatively impacted by climate change. In turn, this will affect biodiverse rich areas which support large carnivores like bears, lynx and wolves. Climate change will also impact ecosystem services in the region. For instance, the freshwater that flows into the Danube, Dniester and Vistula from the Carpathians, will change due to climate change, potentially impacting an area much larger than the immediate Carpathian region. Unless the region adopts mitigation and adaptation measures, climate change will have a major impact on the environment, economy and human well-being in the Carpathian Mountains.

Impact on livelihoods

In the Carpathian region, there are two sectors whose fates are very much connected with climate change. The tourism and agricultural sectors are at risk from the adverse effects of climate change and these two industries support many livelihoods in the region. A warming climate, especially in winter, has already impacted the tourism industry. Periods of snowfall have shortened and the snow line is now at a higher elevation. This has not only reduced revenue for organisations that are reliant on winter tourism, but also changed the seasonal scenery expected by tourists during the winter months.  

On the other hand, the warming climate provides the agricultural sector a longer growing season. While the season will be able to start earlier, this is not necessarily good news. An earlier snowmelt results in reduced discharge and drinking water supplies in the summer, leading to increased risk of drought. Subsequently, wildfires will become more common and agricultural pests will pose a higher risk. Extreme patterns of rainfall will also result in more flooding, erosion and landslides, affecting settlements, farmland and other productive land.

Most importantly, if those in the area take no adaptation measures to combat these effects, then the region could suffer greatly. Economic and livelihood losses will be compounded by a loss of species and reduced ecosystem functioning. This ends up creating a vicious circle of socio-ecological degradation.

Impact on ecosystems services

Climate change impacts the whole ecosystem and can result in a series of cascading effects if adaptation is not pursued. Key parts of the ecosystem that may be affected include the region’s hydrology, forestry and biodiversity.

When looking at the hydrological system, the aforementioned landslides impact the land’s ability to retain water. Subsequently, this has a significant impact on other parts of the ecosystem as well. A reduced ability to retain water negatively impacts the provision of water for agriculture and other purposes.

Climate change may lead to a greater threat of pests and diseases affecting trees, which could devastate the forestry industry. Forests are also at greater risk to fires under a warming climate. The relevant authorities and foresters need to appropriately manage this threat, so as to not cause extensive disruption to the ecosystem and sector. Moreover, climate change will force management priorities to change in this area towards a greater focus on bioenergy.

Related to forestry is the issue of biodiversity. Climate change will lead to an increased fragmentation of habitats and open the door to invasive species. This will reduce the ability of ecosystems to respond to the changing climate, ultimately resulting in a loss of species. As a result, reduced biodiversity will lead to negative impacts on ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, pest control and pollination.

Evidently, nature is an interconnected system and knock-on effects have the ability to impact the whole system for the worse. In order to avoid such impacts, stakeholders should adopt a management approach with an outlook oriented towards the future challenges posed by climate change. The Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit, developed within Centralparks will be able to provide comprehensive information to policymakers and management practitioners regarding the costs and benefits in environmental management decisions.

Science-based adaptation measures

One underlying conclusion of this report was the need for a science-based informed decision making regarding the future management of the Carpathian region. Improved data collection and information availability about local mountain specific impacts will play key roles in targeting climate change adaptation measures in sensitive areas like the Carpathians. An effective implementation of adaptation measures requires a concerted effort from all parties with a direct interest in the Carpathians.

Currently, the Carpathian Convention is the primary force behind coordinating supranational efforts in the region. Creating a region resilient in the face of the threats posed by climate change requires increased regional cooperation. As it already forms a key mechanism for cross-border cooperation, the strengthening of the Carpathian Convention’s mandate, such as through harmonising the efforts of the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas, will build on the foundation already there. Climate change adaptation can be more successfully implemented when such action is taken, increasing regional cooperation and coordination. This also has a positive impact on maintaining biodiversity and ecosystems services as a strengthened mandate for the Carpathian Convention will also lead to cooperation through other institutions too, such as the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, which will help improve the overall health of the region’s hydrology in the face of the challenges posed by climate change.

Harmonisation of policies

There is generally less funding in Ukraine and Serbia, the two non-EU signatories to the Carpathian Convention, resulting in a lack of uniformity in management approaches across the region. Owing to better structured policy frameworks, the EU member state signatories to the Carpathian Convention have made similar strides in adaptation, thanks to the harmonisation of laws and guidelines through the EU. However, this also needs to include Ukraine and Serbia to in order to maximise the effectiveness of adaptation measures. 

Future policies in the region must be harmonised in order to prepare for adaptation to future changes. On the topic of biodiversity, stakeholders from the different countries should aim for further cooperation. This will help create ecological networks and corridors to allow for the migration of species under climate change. As such, Centralparks works closely together with Carpathian experts to harmonise biodiversity protection and sustainable development, through the development of several expert policy support documents.

Monitoring activities also require standardisation in order to maximise the potential of science based decision making. By standardising indicators and monitoring systems, it allows for easy comparability of data from across the whole region. In turn, this helps facilitate more efficient adaptation planning. A particular prevalent example that the report proposes is that of the harmonising forest monitoring systems. Centralparks brings forward a new approach for habitat management planning. During the project, a forest state assessment methodology will be introduced as an innovative technique to serve multi-aspect and small-scale multiple evaluation of forests.

Involving all

Integrating rigorous science into decision-making is only one part of the puzzle. If there is no support from stakeholders then it could make these efforts to pursue adaptation measures futile. Therefore, increasing awareness regarding climate change adaption amongst stakeholders is crucial. This will allow them to acquaint themselves with the challenges ahead and the potential methods to tackle them. Subsequently, this will help ensure the active participation of all stakeholders in decision making, allowing for adaptation at multiple levels.

The Carpathian Mountains faces a grave threat from climate change, to both its cultural, natural and economic value. However, if decision-makers made right moves to strengthen the area’s resilience now, the region can adapt to climate change and mitigate the worst of its effects.

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Carpathian Network of Protected Areas Steering Committee roundtable meeting: intensifying Carpathian cooperation

How can sustainable development and nature conservation be strengthened in the Carpathian region in the long-term? The roundtable meeting of the Steering Committee of the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA) aimed to answer this question. The online meeting took place on the 2nd of December within the Interreg CE Centralparks project, made possible with the support of the Interreg DTP ConnectGREEN project as well as the Carpathian Convention. 

The overall objective of the virtual gathering was to harmonize activities related to the CNPA, with special attention to the two ongoing projects sponsored by the European Commission, as well as the recent outcomes of the COP6

The meeting was moderated by the interim chair of the Steering Committee of the CNPA, Mircea Verghelet, Director of the Piatra Craiului National Park in Romania. Opening remarks were made by Bożena Haczek, Polish Ministry of Climate and Environmenton behalf of Poland, holding the new Presidency of the Carpathian Convention. She expressed her gratitude to the Carpathian Convention Secretariat as well as the Centralparks and ConnectGREEN projects for supporting this meeting. It is the first Carpathian meeting within the Polish presidency after the successful COP6.

Furthermore, Mr. Harald Egerer on behalf of UNEP Vienna-Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention highlighted the important role of CNPA within the Carpathian region and the opportunity raised by the Centralparks and ConnectGREEN projects. He welcomed the nominated Steering Committee members and thanked them for their participation. The meeting provided the opportunity for a round of introductions by the new and already confirmed steering committee members, representing all Carpathian countries. Moreover, the projects Centralparks and ConnectGREEN were presented to identify the opportunities of support. 

Jointly for the future of the Carpathians

Looking into the outcomes of the COP6, the CNPA has important tasks ahead in the field of biodiversity protection in the Carpathians but also on a global scale, contributing to the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. Therefore, it is a priority to activate and fully realise the CNPA, to connect the institutional with the ecological networks and to work towards achieving that the CNPA becomes a new and leading example of a fruitful network of protected areas not just in Europe but all around the world. 

Next year will be an important one for the CNPA. Upcoming activities include a second roundtable meeting of the CNPA Steering Committee within the 6th Forum Carpaticum, planned to be held in Brno, Czech Republic on 21-25 of June 2021 and the CNPA Conference organised within the ConnectGREEN final conference, to be held in Visegrád, Hungary, on 28-30 of September 2021. The Steering Committee also formulated its intention to intensify the cooperation between the Alpine, Danube and Carpathian regions, based on the Memorandum of Cooperation between the three networks ALPARC, DANUBEPARKS and the CNPA.

It was a very informative meeting providing a lot of inspiration to the Centralparks partners, encouraging us to continue with our efforts to contribute to a more sustainable Carpathian future.

For more details on this event, click here.