Hope for Mura, Drava and Danube

White poplars in and by the water

White poplars in Kopacki Rit Nature Park.

© Martin Schneider-Jacoby

Landmark decision by UNESCO

On July 11th, 2012, it was announced that UNESCO officially approved the Croato-Hungarian part of the planned five-country biosphere reserve along the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers. These precious parts of the unique river and floodplain landscapes between Hungary and Croatia form the lion’s share of the projected transboundary biosphere reserve. Protecting them was an urgently needed and pathbreaking decision, especially in the face of plans to regulate the Danube in Croatia, illegal sand and gravel dredging, and plans for new power plants.

Already in 2009 the prime ministers of Hungary and Croatia signed a joint declaration to establish a transboundary biosphere reserve. The approval by UNESCO is a big success pursued for years by EuroNatur together with WWF and many national and local partner organisations. About 630,000 hectares of floodplain are now protected – that’s nearly 80 percent of the future five-country biosphere reserve “Mura-Drava-Danube”. Serbia is set to add its part this year; Slovenia and Austria are to follow next year. More than a quarter of a million waterbirds find important resting places in this section of the European Green Belt.

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