6th Pan-European Green Belt Conference

Balkan lynx in a forest

The last intact habitats of the Balkan lynx can be found along the route of the Balkan Green Belt.

© Jörg Pukownik

European-wide habitat across 12.500 kilometres

Press release from 26 June 2012


Radolfzell/Nuremberg/Mavrovo.   The „European Green Belt“, which is currently the most fascinating and ambitious nature conservation initiative in Europe, is a key contribution to preserve and develop the ecological infrastructure in Europe. More than 100 representatives of ministries and non-government organisations from the 24 countries at the European Green Belt meet in Mavrovo (FYR Macedonia) from June 28th to 30th to give a strong signal for cross border nature conservation in Europe. 

The “6th European Green Belt Conference” is organised by the European Nature Heritage Fund EuroNatur and BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany), financially supported by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation with means from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. 

„The sustainable protection of natural resources by designating national parks and nature parks is a vital task for nature conservation in Europe. We appeal to all governments of the countries at the European Green Belt to secure these important regions of the European natural heritage. Enormous, nature destroying infrastructure projects, which segment and endanger the European network of habitats, must not be authorized,” demands Christel Schroeder, President of EuroNatur, at the start of the conference.

The Federal Chairman of BUND, Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger, states: “The European Green Belt is of vital importance for the biological diversity, the establishing of a ‘green infrastructure’ through the continent, the securing of a common European historical heritage and as an element that unites nations for a peaceful Europe. It is worth examining whether to designate it as UNESCO World Heritage.”

Dr Uwe Riecken, the department manager in charge at the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, says, “Activities associated with the European Green Belt in Germany and Europe receive a strong political support. It is enforced by the coalition agreement of the current federal government who aims to back up the initiative European Green Belt.”

Considerable parts of the Green Belt are already formally protected but by far not all. There are still significant natural resources along the former border between east and west, which must urgently be protected as an important retreat for endangered animals and plant species. 

The Balkan Peninsula has specifically been a problem area so far: even in existing national parks and strict nature reserves, the goals to protect nature have inadequately been pursued and the development of areas of unspoiled nature likewise, for there is no sufficient administration that can look after these important tasks. 

At the same time, the pressure on the natural resources is increasing by the demand to use them for large infrastructure projects like dams, ski areas, wind parks and highways, as well as by the mining of raw materials and wood harvest.

Background informationn:

  • The European Green Belt initiative has the vision to create and maintain the former Iron Curtain, which had separated Europe for decades, as a European-wide network of protected areas spanning over 12.500 kilometres. More information on www.europeangreenbelt.org

For queries:

  • EuroNatur, Konstanzer Str. 22, 78315 Radolfzell, Tel.: 07732 - 92 72 10, Fax: 07732 - 92 72 22, E-Mail: info(at)euronatur.org, Internet: www.euronatur.org, Contact: Gabriel Schwaderer, PR contact: Katharina Grund
  • BUND-project office Green Belt, Hessestr. 4, 90443 Nürnberg, Tel.: 0911 – 575294-10,  E-Mail: gruenesband(at)bund-naturschutz.de ,Internet: www.gruenesband.info, Contact: Dr. Liana Geidezis.
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