Innovative ideas for cross-border protected area

Participants of the study tour to Goričko Nature Park

Participants of the study tour to Goričko Nature Park

© Thies Geertz / EuroNatur

The Šar Mountains’ unique landscape in the border region of Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo is among the most precious natural treasures of the Balkan Green Belt and one of the last habitats of the critically endangered Balkan Lynx. EuroNatur and its partners are aiming at transnational protection and common sustainable development of the Šar region. The five-day study tour is part of a project started by EuroNatur in cooperation with conservation NGOs PPNEA, MES and FINCH in November 2012. This project is in turn part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) according to a parliamentary mandate.

In order to secure the population’s acceptance for a future protected area, local stakeholders were integrated into the planning process from the very beginning. During several workshops, mayors of project area communities, representatives of national park and forestry authorities, as well as members of local NGOS, together with EuroNatur and its partners developed guiding principles for a cross-border protected area in the Šar and neighbouring Korab Mountains. The recent study tour to Goričko Nature Park in Slovenia and the adjacent protected areas in Hungary and Austria demonstrated numerous examples to the participants of how natural resources can be protected effectively across the borders, and how the local population can directly benefit from nature conservation.

More on EuroNatur’s work to protect the Šar Mountains
 

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