Nature conservationists for the Balkan

A network for the young activists

© Thies Geertz
Learning by doing: up-and-coming nature conservationists from Kosovo and Macedonia interviewing a shepherd about the Balkan lynx, in the Jablanica Mountains in Macedonia. © Thies Geertz

The Balkan Green Belt is home to many precious habitats. The mountainous border region between Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia is a veritable treasury of ecological gems. Brown bears, wolves and the Balkan lynx, in acute danger of extinction, can still be found here. The high mountains shelter a unique diversity of plants of which many can be found nowhere else in the world. In order to preserve these natural treasures in the long term it is a task of great urgency to protect them from destruction demanding cooperation across political borders.


Capacity building

To achieve the designation of conservation areas is only one of many steps on the long road to saving the Balkan Lynx & Co. The success of our efforts is based essentially on being able to work with a network of competent and reliable partners. EuroNatur therefore invests heavily in the systematic development and consolidation of nature conservation organizations in the Balkan.


Backing and supporting existing initiatives

Particularly in countries such as Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia people are greatly preoccupied with trying to build up the economies of their countries. As a result not much attention is paid to nature conservation. Since there is no reliable source of funding available it is hard for the non-governmental nature organizations in the western Balkans to plan and implement long-term projects. In view of this it is particularly important to support and expand existing initiatives for nature conservation. This, precisely, is where EuroNatur starts in.


 

 

What actions are EuroNatur and its partners taking?

  • Passing on knowledge and forming networks: working with partners in Albania and Macedonia EuroNatur has already developed a number of teams of well-trained up-and-coming nature conservationists. In both countries there are ongoing successful projects for the designation of cross-boundary conservation areas. EuroNatur is supporting a series of workshops in Kosovo and Montenegro so that Albanian and Macedonian stakehlders can pass on their valuable knowledge and experience to nature conservationists-in-the-making there.
  • Strengthening cross-boundary cooperation: the southernmost part of the European Green Belt biotope network is in fact one of the outstanding hotspots of biological diversity. Our role here is to create the necessary ecological awareness and provide the resources to establish cross-boundary nature conservation in the Balkans.
  • Making peace via nature conservation : here, along the Balkan Green Belt, cooperation in cross-boundary nature conservation projects creates mutual trust and contributes in this way to the political stabilization of this region, which has so often been shaken by crises.


Partners: Albania: PPNEA (Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania), Macedonia: MES (Macedonian Ecological Society), Montenegro: CZIP (Center for Protection and Research of Birds in Montenegro), Kosovo: Environmentally Responsible Action Group (ERA), and NGO for protection of birds and nature, FINCH.

Sponsoring: Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) with funding from BMU the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

 

Establishment of nature conservation CSOs in Montenegro and Kosovo as a contribution to the preservation of the Balkan Green Belt, 2014

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