Balkan Green Belt

Where EuroNatur has particular experience

<p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p>                border sign in the Rhodope Mountains at the Bulgarian-Turkish border</p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>

The Bulgarian-Turkish border: for many years this was a no-go area.

© Gunther Willinger

Long before the idea for the European Green Belt was born, EuroNatur had been campaigning, as one of the first nature conservation organisations to do so, for the preservation of the natural paradises in South East Europe. A cross-border network of nature conservation partners was established over years. It is a network which still holds today as a valuable resource for the creation of effective protection measures. This is why since 2004 – within the wider framework of the European Green Belt - EuroNatur has been the official coordinator for nature conservation activities along the Balkan Green Belt, the southernmost section of the European Green Belt.

In its northern and central sections the European Green Belt follows the line of the former East-West divide but here on the Balkan peninsula it also follows borders between Albania and one-time Yugoslavia.

Photo gallery

Please click on one of the pictures to open the gallery

Dams in the National Park

Although significant parts of the Green Belt in the Balkans have already been granted legal protection this is not by any means the case for all. There are still important natural treasures along the former border between East and West which are urgently in need of official conservation status. One great problem is that so far even in already designated National Parks and strict Nature Reserves the aims of nature conservation have not been carried out to a sufficient degree. The reason for this is that they simply don't have the staff required to tackle these important tasks. At the same time other players are competing to use the land, putting the precious natural forms found in the Balkan Green Belt at risk. Major industrial projects such as dams, skiing areas, wind parks and motorways are exerting ever greater pressure. 

Creating a network of conservation areas

EuroNatur is campaigning for the protection along the one-time Iron Curtain of species-rich landscapes such as lakes, wetlands, mountain ranges and traditionally cultivated land. It is our vision to see one well cared-for conservation area linked to the next along the Balkan Green Belt creating a biotope network to spread across the whole Balkan peninsula.

What actions are EuroNatur and its partner organisations taking in the Balkan Green Belt?

  • Preparing and developing trans-boundary nature reserves: the Balkan Green Belt - as part of the wider European Green Belt Initiative- presents an opportunity to establish nature conservation across the national borders of once hostile countries. Our work crosses the borders to link up previously separate, unique natural regions and so contribute to the development of major nature reserves in alignment with international criteria in the hitherto inaccessible border areas.
  • Linking up nature reserves: It is not enough to protect ecological “islands” along the Balkan Green Belt in isolation from one another. We see to it that the reserves are linked by wildlife corridors.
  • Passing on valuable knowledge:  We train nature conservation partners in the countries along the Balkan Green Belt in the skills needed to prepare nature conservation designations and to carry out measures for the protection and management of large mammals such as Wolf, Bear and Lynx.
  • Strengthening local nature conservation organisations: The concept of the European Green Belt is fascinating. People are attracted to the idea. When local nature conservation organisations present their suggestions for nature conservation as being part of the Green Belt then decision makers respond more promptly and positively.
  • Bringing local people into the picture: to gain local people's understanding and backing in the project areas along the Balkan Green Belt and to achieve long-lasting success of nature conservation measures EuroNatur and partners work closely with the local population on concepts for the sustainable development of the region.
  • Reconciliation through working for nature: The Balkan Green Belt is a shining example. It proves that setting up successful nature conservation across national borders is conceivable and realizable. With our trans-boundary nature conservation projects we are contributing to bringing people together from countries once hostile to one another.
  • Coordinating efforts and creating a common understanding: we bring nature conservationists and decision makers together at international level to develop successful strategies for the protection of natural resources along the Balkan Green Belt


<p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>

Partners: BfN (Federal Agency for Nature Conservation), BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany), IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and numerous local partner organisations

Sponsoring: MAVA Foundation, DBU (German Federal Environmental Conservation)

By clicking on the preview image, a video from an external source is integrated. This will transfer your IP address to the external server. Further details can be found in our privacy policy.

Projects for the protection of the Balkan Green Belt

More ...

Balkan lynx – the last few of its kind

More ...

How you can help

Donation

Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please use your possibilities to help. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to a more livable environment.

Newsletter

Twice a month, EuroNatur provides you with the latest campaign and project information about Europe's natural heritage free of charge and at first hand.

News

Pesticide-free zone for sustainable agriculture

++ EuroNatur 2020 award goes to Mals in South Tyrol ++ Opponents of pesticides repeatedly face legal action ++ Award ceremony with a difference this...

BREAKING NEWS: Albanian PM Rama reacts – Kalivaç will not be built

In a reaction to the statement of Albanian President Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced to the media today that he also is in favor of...

Alliance against Kalivaç dam on the Vjosa is growing

++ Vjosa Research Centre in Tepelena inaugurated ++ Scientists refute Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on Kalivaç hydropower plant ++ Albanian...

Deadline expired: Protect rivers consistently now

Conservation organizations are demanding a moratorium on the construction of small hydro power plants from the government of the Federation of Bosnia...

Poor breeding season for storks

++ Only a few storks have fledged in Europe’s stork villages ++ Extremes of weather cause problems for the storks ++ Conservation of green wetlands...

At long last: The EU bans lead shot in wetland areas

Good news for Europe’s water birds: hunting in wetlands with toxic lead shot is to be banned. So, every year in the EU about 1.5 million water birds...

Results for winning photos of EuroNatur’s photo competition

Around 3400 pictures of European nature were submitted to the judges this year – and the twelve winning photos are really something to look at.

Activists in Serbia get hands-on in fight against hydropower

In the Stara Planina region, residents from the village of Rakita have joined forces with conservationists to damage the pipes of a hydropower plant...

A first for Croatia: a person appears in court accused of poisoning wild animals

At the beginning of the year there were several cases of wild and domestic animals being poisoned in Croatia. Now a 52-year old has appeared in court,...

Commune of Mals fights for agriculture without pesticides

++ South Tyrolean commune has been campaigning for a pesticide ban for six years ++ Insecticides, herbicides, etc. are putting the living conditions...

Fishes in Mediterranean region endangered due to hydropower boom

++ New study confirms: hydropower plants have a devastating impact on fish populations in rivers around the Mediterranean ++ Numerous species are...

Failure of lead ammunition ban caused by Julia Klöckner's ministry

The Europe-wide ban on hunting with lead ammunition failed to gain approval last week – due to opposition from the Federal Ministry of Food and...

Tackle illegal logging or face court, Commission warns Romanian Government

The European Commission has demanded today that Romanian authorities take immediate action to stop illegal logging of old-growth and primary forests...

More than 122,000 people are demanding the protection of the Romanian virgin forests

++ A petition with more than 122,000 signatures has been handed to two State Secretaries of Romania’s environment minister ++ Demand for comprehensive...

Success for nature conservation: construction freeze for hydropower projects

++ Parliament imposes historic decision for rivers in Bosnia & Herzegovina ++

By using our services, you agree that we use cookies. Data protection