Hope for Europe's Amazonas?

Plans for first trans-boundary protected area across five country borders


Press Release 28. March 2011

Radolfzell. On March 25, the responsible ministers for the environment of Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia did their job properly by signing a joint declaration of intent in Budapest, following the invitation of the Hungarian President of the Council of the European Union. The declaration incorporates the aim of establishing a Trans-Boundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the first of its kind in the world extending over five country borders. The new reserve stretches along the Green Belt Europe and shall guarantee the protection of the biodiversity in the pristine riverine landscape and floodplains along the rivers Danube, Drava and Mura over the long term. "You can still find floodplain forests along Drava and Mura like they used to exist along the rivers Rhine and Danube in Germany about a hundred years ago. These floodplains could be called the 'Amazonas' of Europe", says Gabriel Schwaderer, director of EuroNatur.

The idea of creating a five-countries-biosphere-reserve between Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Austria and Hungary was initiated by EuroNatur in cooperation with the WWF, the Drava League and numerous partners more than 15 years ago and cultivated until today. Unfortunately, the different countries did not go along with it, so that the implementation of this promising initiative was put on hold. An important impetus however was given by Hungary and Croatia in 2009, when the prime ministers of these two states signed a statement for the joint creation of a trans-boundary biosphere reserve between both countries.

Since the nineties, EuroNatur has been promoting a cross-border-cooperation to protect the pristine floodplains along Danube, Drava and Mura. We are very happy that by signing this declaration of intent, the five neighbouring countries have now paved the way for a five-countries-biosphere-reserve. The protection of this riverine landscape is the right step towards a trans-boundary regional development. The countries will benefit from nature conservation", says EuroNatur project leader Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby.

This biosphere reserve would comprise a riverine landscape of totally 800.000 ha in five countries, the biggest reserve in Europe. The international conservation status will contribute to the development of eco-tourism and the cooperation between the cultural cities.

Background Information:

  • Here you can find a map of the expected 5-countries-biosphere-reserve. (pdf file 386 Kb)
  • Joint vision of EuroNatur and WWF Austria regarding the conservation of the unique river landscape of Drava and Mura. Download
  • Link to 'Amazonas of Croatia' on YouTube

    Interview partners and photo material:

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    Phone: 07732 - 92 72 10
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    E-Mail: info@euronatur.org
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    Contact person: Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby
    Press contact: Katharina Grund
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