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.