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.
A workshop “Strategy for the protection of biological and landscape diversity outside and inside Pieniny National Park”, co-organized by the Ekopsychology Society (leader of the Centralparks thematic work package No 1 “Integration of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the Carpathian Region”) and the administration of Pieniny National Park was held in Krościenko nad Dunajcem (Poland) on 28-30 June 2021.
What is behind this workshop?
This event marked the next phase of implementation of the Centralparks pilot action in Pieniny National Park, aimed at testing the efficiency of the draft Carpathian strategy for enhancing biodiversity and landscape conservation outside and inside protected areas, elaborated in 2019-2020 under the Centralparks project in support for the implementation of the Protocol on conservation and sustainable use of biological and landscape diversity (Bucharest, 2008) to the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians (Kyiv, 2003) at the local and regional level, accordingly to one of the priorities of the current Polish Presidency of the Convention.
The above draft strategy, targeted at local municipalities, protected area administrations, local and regional level nature conservation and landscape protection agencies, bodies and authorities shall soon be submitted for the endorsement by the Carpathian Convention.
Pieniny National Park
Pieniny National Park, designated in 1932, forms the Polish part of the first European and World’s second transboundary protected area (established only a month later than the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park between Canada and the USA). The intention to designate such a crossborder nature park was inscribed into the Polish-Czechoslovak bilateral agreement, the 1924 ‘Krakow Protocol’, which stipulated “concluding, as soon as possible, a tourist convention” to facilitate the development of tourism in border areas of both above countries, and “a convention on a nature park” establishing areas restricted for the protection of cultural heritage, nature and landscape. Both above ideas materialized over 80 years later, with the adoption of the ‘Carpathian Convention’ in 2003, and its thematic Protocol on Sustainable Tourism (Bratislava, 2011).
Centralparks pilot action and further thoughts on workshop
The objective of this Centralparks pilot action is also to facilitate and support the dialogue between the Pieniny National Park administration and the authorities of the 4 local communities located in its buffer zone, towards ensuring the integrity of natural habitats and maintaining the fragile ecological connectivity between this relatively small protected area (2,371.75 ha) and neighbouring larger natural complexes in the Carpathians, increasingly threatened by the rapid residential and recreational housing development in the national park buffer zone (2,653.8 ha), which requires the joint solution of potential land-use conflicts in several ‘problem areas’, successfully identified during the June workshop.
Hence, the purpose of the Centralparks workshop in June 2021, attended by 20 participants (including the experts from Pieniny National Park, the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Kraków, and the Board of the Landscape Parks Complex of the Małopolska Region) was to prepare a series of meetings with the local stakeholders in each of the 4 ‘gateway’ municipalities, planned for September and October 2021.
We would like to thank Mr. Michał Sokołowski, the Director of the Pieniny National Park, other national park employees and workshop participants for their commitment during the meeting (and also for guiding us during the field visit in the picturesque national park buffer zone).
A workshop “Strategy for the sustainable development of tourism based on the natural and cultural wealth of Magura National Park and its surroundings”, co-organized by the Ekopsychology Society (leader of the Centralparks thematic work package No 1 “Integration of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the Carpathian Region”) and the administration of Magura National Park was held in Krempna (Poland) on 21-23 June 2021.
What is behind this event?
This event, attended by 30 participants, marked the next phase of implementation of the Centralparks pilot action in Magura National Park, aimed at testing the usefulness of solutions proposed in the draft Strategy for local sustainable tourism development based on natural and cultural heritage of the Carpathians, elaborated in 2019-2020 under the Centralparks project in support for the implementation of the Protocol on Sustainable Tourism (Bratislava, 2011) to the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians (Kyiv, 2003) at the local and regional level, accordingly to one of the priorities of the current Polish Presidency of the Convention.
Strategy for local sustainable tourism development based on natural and cultural heritage of the Carpathians
The above strategy, addressed solely to the local level public authorities and stakeholders (e.g. municipalities, protected area administrations, and local Destination Management Organizations) aims at enhancing the contribution of tourism to the sustainable development of the local economy in the Carpathian region, and lowering the impact of tourism on the fragile mountain ecosystems in the most ecologically sensitive areas (part of which is protected in national parks) by redirecting and channeling part of the tourist traffic to municipalities located in protected area buffer zones. The draft Centralparks strategy concerning local sustainable tourism development was submitted in June 2021 for the endorsement by the Carpathian Convention.
The purpose of the Centralparks workshop in June 2021 was to bring together the most relevant and active local stakeholders, form an efficient local partnership, and prepare a series of 4 thematic workshops (planned for October 2021) for the elaboration of a local strategy for sustainable tourism development based on the natural and cultural wealth of Magura National Park and its surroundings.
Magura National Park
Magura National Park constitutes the main tourist attraction of the region targeted by this Centralparks pilot action, harbouring both natural areas and numerous cultural heritage monuments, providing for its high potential for tourism development, although not yet fully discovered and seriously damaged by mass tourism. The national park invests considerable funds (from both in-country and external sources, e.g. Interreg Poland-Slovakia) in the development and maintenance of hiking trails, nature paths, cycling and horse-riding routes, along with accompanying infrastructure (e.g. bridges, signposts, rain shelters in rest areas, car parks and bicycle stands, information boards) as well as preserving the historical and cultural heritage of the region (e.g. renovation of chapels, roadside crosses and cemeteries, placing interpretation panels in sites of the former, no longer existing villages).
More on the workshop
During the workshop in Krempna the representatives of Magura NP administration and local communities jointly assessed the current state of tourism development in 7 ‘gateway’ municipalities surrounding the national park, carried out a SWOT analysis, identified and inventoried their local assets (incl. local products and tourist attractions) perceived as specific local competitive advantages for the sustainable tourism development. NP employees presented and analyzed data deriving from the tourist traffic monitoring carried out since 2005, and informed on the new investments in tourism infrastructure planned by the national park administration in the coming years (e.g. lookout towers and historical heritage interpretation points).
In the course of the workshop Mr. Norbert Kieć, Director of Magura NP expressed the readiness of the national park administration to coordinate the implementation of the future joint local strategy, while several community mayors expressed the willingness to conclude a partnership agreement with the NP concerning the above local initiative.
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.
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/
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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