5-country biosphere reserve

Trans-boundary protection of Danube, Drava and Mura

When the Iron Curtain disappeared EuroNatur was quick to take the initiative and started ambitious projects to save the unique Drava river landscape. In May of 1993 EuroNatur organised  the first international nature conservation conference on the future of the Drava. It took place in Kaposovar and politicians and nature conservation experts from Croatia, Austria, Serbia, Slovenia and Hungary took part. The goal was to preserve river reaches of the Drava with its tributary Mura which were still largely in their natural state. It was at this conference that the idea of a biosphere reserve across national borders was born.



To use and to protect
Biosphere reserves are designated by UNESCO and combine strictly protected elements of  natural landscape with natural-and-cultural landscapes which have been moulded through centuries of human habitation and use. With its precious natural resources and in view of the extent to which this large area has kept its traditional, natural and cultural landscape the region along the Drava and Mura rivers down to the confluence with the Danube fully qualifies for the designation biosphere reserve.

In collaboration with many other national and local nature conservation organisations EuroNatur  has been working for many years now for the establishment of a Danube-Drava-Mura trans-boundary biosphere reserve. With huge buffer zones included, the total area is to cover 630 000 hectares or 2432 square miles.

What actions are EuroNatur and its partners undertaking?

  • Since 1990 EuroNatur and its partner organisations, based along the river-ecosystem of the Drava and Mura, have been fighting to gain protected status for the ecologically most valuable areas.
  • In 1999 EuroNatur submitted the application for the Danube-Drava-Mura Biosphere Reserve to UNESCO and published the first map of the future protected area.                                           
  • Together with the WWF, EuroNatur published the Study ”Lifeline Drava-Mura 2009-2020”. It describes  strategies and measures for the renaturation of the river landscape (with the goal of restoring it to its original state.)  
  • Again in cooperation with WWF, EuroNatur has produced an overview map to be the basis for further negotiations on designations of protected areas and on the establishment of the trans-boundary biosphere reserve.
  • EuroNatur and its partners pursue intensive lobbying and public relations work for the project. There is much explaining and persuading to be done. The idea of establishing a biosphere reserve needs to be whole-heartedly adopted by political decision makers and also by the local population.  

 


What we have been able to achieve so far – a selection of important successes

  • In the spring of 2006 Croatia designated gravel, sand and mud banks of rivers as biotopes to be protected – following EU law. And in addition the removal of gravel and sand from natural rivers, wetlands and islands was banned.
  • In Austria, Slovenia and Hungary the areas of the potential Danube-Drava-Mura biosphere reserve have in the meantime been designated a Natura 2000 area.  In Serbia protected areas cover the important reaches of the Danube.
  • At the beginning of 2008, the Croatian Ministry of Culture placed the Croatian sections of the river landscape of Danube, Drava and Mura under provisional protection as a regional park covering roughly 145 00 hectares or 56 square miles. Taking this step is a key element  in the process of establishing the trans-boundary biosphere reserve.
  • In September 2009 the Prime Ministers of Hungary and Croatia signed a joint declaration of intent to create a trans-boundary Danube-Drava-Mura biosphere reserve. The new wetland area protected in Hungary and Croatia is huge, covering 400 000 hectares or 1544 square miles: compared with the other areas to be protected this represents much the largest single piece of the total area planned for the 5-Country-Biosphere-Reserve planned. (See Map, pdf-file 378 Kb)  
  • On 25th March 2011 The Environment Ministers of Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding : this commits the partners to the goal of creating  the world's first UNESCO biosphere reserve, an ecosystem that extends across the borders of five different countries.  (Link to the press release of 28.03.2011)
  • Finally, on 11th July 2012, UNESCO officially recognized the Croatian-Hungarian part of the 5-country-biosphere reserve on Mura, Drava and Danube. With these valuable reaches of the unique river and wetland landscape between Hungary and Croatia now under protection, the recognition of largest part of the projected 5-country-Biosphere-Reserve is achieved.



Partners: WWF Austria, Drava Liga, Croatian Association for Bird and Nature Protection, DOPPS (BirdLife Slovenia)

Sponsors: individual sponsors, MAVA Foundation



Back to top of page
 

Study ”Lifeline Drava-Mura 2009-2020”

Download (6 MB)

Map "Transboundary river system of the Mura, Drava and Danube"

Download (378 KB)

Press release 28. March 2011 "Hope for Europe's Amazonas?"

More ...

Do you want to 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.

News

Construction works on the Jiu hydroelectric power plant still going on

It is scandalous: The romanian appeals court declared the building permission of the Jiu hydroelectric plant several times, lately in December....

Hydroelectric power station on the River Jiu halted for the time being

Encouraging news for the Romanian River Jiu: the building permit has been declared null and void by the courts. As a result the Jiu may continue to...

Study proves: Small power plants, big damage

European-financed small hydropower plants damaging pristine Balkan landscapes

Second part of the documentary series "Out of Control" reveals further intrigues

Destruction of old-growth forests in Romania: logging devastates parts of Semenic National Park, too ++ EuroNatur and Agent Green: unacceptable...

Mavrovo-Nationalpark: Demand for a halt to construction of hydroelectric power plants

Bern Convention: Macedonian government requested to halt construction of hydropower plants in national park

The Variety of Nature in Focus

Photo Competition “Europe’s Natural Treasures” starts

Investigation Video: Primeval Forest Destruction in Romania’s National Parks

EuroNatur and Agent Green: This is currently Europe’s biggest environmental drama!

Ray of hope for Balkan Lynx

The Balkan Lynx has to be strictly protected as a distinct subspecies of the Eurasian Lynx. This decision has been adopted unanimously at the meeting...

Albanian industrial confederation demands halt of dam plans at Vjosa River

In Albanian society, the opposition against the projected building development of the Vjosa River is receiving further support. In an open letter to...

Hydropower Tsunami on Balkans

New hydropower report: Dam tsunami on Balkans is speeding up ++ 2.800 hydropower projects planned, 187 under construction ++ more than 1.000 of them...

#GivingTuesday: Join in and save the ancient forests!

The countdown has started: On the 28th of November is #GivingTuesday. On this day the initiative of this name will call on people all over the world...

White Storks go online

The network of European Stork villages now has its own website. Visitors to the site www.storkvillages.net can find out about this charismatic bird,...

Network for the conservation of the threatened Karst Poljes

There was lively participation in the concluding international workshop for the preservation of the Karst Poljes in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Fifty two...

New blood for lynxes on the Balkans

Three lynxes caught by camera trap in Albania and Macedonia

German Environmental Prize awarded to Hubert Weiger

He is one of the trailblazers of the European Green Belt. Yesterday, Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger received the German Environmental Prize in Braunschweig....

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