Ecosystem Services are complex and interrelated ecological systems that support life and local development recalling attention on how people depend on a healthy environment for different purposes. They are the “benefits of nature directly or indirectly used by humans”.
The Carpathian Ecosystem Services Toolkit, developed by Centralparks in five languages (EN, PL, SK, CZ and HU) aim to help managers to better understand and assess Carpathian Ecosystem Services as well as avoid or reduce conflicts in the Carpathian region and beyond.
From 28-30 September 2021, the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention, the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA) Steering Committee, the ConnectGREEN project consortium, supported by the Centralparks consortium organised the International Conference on “Protected Areas – Cornerstones of Ecological Connectivity in the Carpathians and Beyond“ in Visegrád, Hungary, and virtually. The three-day event also hosted the 3rd Conference of the Carpathian Network of the Protected Areas organised by the Centralparks project and the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention.
ConnectGREEN final conference
The conference shed light on the recent environmental developments in the Carpathians and highlighted the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration for the identification, conservation and restoration of ecological connectivity in one of Europe’s largest mountain ranges and beyond. Key stakeholders working in and around protected areas, came together to share knowledge, exchange experience and discuss new tools to improve and safeguard ecological connectivity.
The Conference in Visegrad also witnessed the closing the project ConnectGREEN – Restoring and managing ecological corridors in mountains as the green infrastructure in the Danube basin (Interreg Danube Transnational Programme). Various successful project results and outputs were presented, as well as other projects and international cooperations that contribute to the restoration of natural habitat connectivity and biodiversity conservation, such as the Centralparks project.
The closing act of the Conference was the adoption of a joint Conference Declaration: the participants agreed to call on the European Commission, the European Parliament and the national governments of the Danube-Carpathian region to drive the efficient management of ecological corridors to avoid further deterioration, restore their functionality and reverse habitat fragmentation.
A new age for the CNPA network
The event hosted 3rd Conference of the Carpathian Network of the Protected Areas, which offered a platform to present best practices of protected areas management and facilitate a dialogue on further strengthening cooperation between and within the protected areas in the Carpathians and other regions. Conference attendees heard about the valuable outputs of Centralparks, received inputs from the Steering Committee Members of the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA) and learnt about best practices in protected areas management from protected areas representatives. This was followed by an interactive exercise, facilitated by the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention, to identify relevant future focuses for the Carpathian Protected Areas Network.
More information about the speakers and agenda, as well as a detailed report from the 3rd CNPA Conference can be found here:
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.
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:
! 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.
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 Environment, on 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.
On the 2nd of December 2020, the roundtable meeting of the Steering Committee of the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA SC) is due to take place, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention, the Interreg CE Centralparks and Interreg DTP ConnectGREEN projects. The meeting aims at facilitating the exchange and plan the upcoming collaborative work focused on protecting the natural and cultural heritage of the Carpathians.
Carpathian roundtable meeting: progress and future plans
Centralparks is supporting the Carpathian Network of Protected Area’s endeavours in creating a more sustainable Carpathian region. The Steering Committee aims at supervising the work of the CNPA, assessing the progress and addressing the challenges the network might face. Supported by the ongoing Carpathian Interreg projects Centralparks and ConnectGREEN, the Steering Committee of the CNPA is conducting its next roundtable meeting, in online format, to discuss:
Relevant outcomes of the recent COP6 of the Carpathian Convention related to CNPA work and activities
The strengthening of the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas and its Steering Committee’s work in achieving biodiversity objectives
The uptake of the results from the Centralparks and ConnectGREEN projects
The organisation of upcoming CNPA events
The post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
The Carpathian Convention‘s and CNPA’s role in and contribution to the post-2020 process
The CNPA aims to promote sustainable development and conservation in the Carpathian area. By creating linkages between protected areas in the Carpathian Mountains, the CNPA consequently supports the implementation of the Carpathian Convention. The CNPA also plays a role in representing the protected areas’ needs regarding national, regional and international organisations and authorities. As a result, this approach ensures the protection of the Carpathians’ unique nature and culture at all governance levels.
In the face of rising threats to the Carpathian Mountains, above all caused by human interventions leading to habitat fragmentation, the CNPA aims to enhance the protection of the entire biogeographical region by facilitating cross-border cooperation. The CNPA can subsequently boost conservation activities in the region and ensure greater ecological connectivity in the Carpathians. Correspondingly, the CNPA’s existing thematic and ecological networks, as well as its awareness raising activities, can contribute greatly to achieve these goals.
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