IUCN South-Eastern European e-bulletin

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1 IUCN South-Eastern European e-bulletin Issue 16 March 2008 Editorial Dear Readers, Another issue of the IUCN South-Eastern European ebulletin is ready for distribution, and we are happy to see that many of you have contributed with articles and news. We are happy to show that although nature conservation is not an easy task, there are always stories that share an idea of finding alternatives and of successful efforts to link nature conservation and sustainable regional development, very often in a transboundary or even transregional context. Spring is the time for regeneration and renewal: IUCN worldwide presents itself with a new logo and a newly structured website. IUCN SEE welcomes one new member of IUCN. Green Network of Vojvodina (Zelena mreza Vojvodine) is the 3 rd IUCN member in Serbia and the 15 th in the SEE region. We look forward to continuous good cooperation. The news and events posted for this issue are as diverse as ever, many thanks to all of you who have contributed with articles and pictures. Wishing you a pleasant reading, Aleksandra Nesic & Katharina Diehl IUCN Programme Office for South-Eastern Europe PS: The next bulletin will be issued in June 2008 by Aleksandra Nesic the guidelines for submitting articles for the IUCN SEE ebulletin can be found on the last page of this issue. For your rewarding cooperation and team work in making this ebulletin an interesting and informative newsletter in the region I thank you all. In the past two years, the regular issues have significantly contributed to our joint work and I am sure that with your help the communication and exchange will further improve. From 1 st April onwards, I will be changing my location to work for the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research in Germany. With the best of wishes I remain, yours Katharina

2 Content NEWS 1 AlbaForest Research on Natural Resources in Albania 2 Life along the Sava 3 Promulgation of the Central Balkan Protected Zone under Natura2000 Focus on Public Awareness 4 Priority forest, alpine & sub-alpine habitats in Romania 5 Lake Okanj vs. Chemical Industry of Pancevo 6 A wider View on Cultural Landscape Challenges 7 Green Valley in a green Europe 8 Proposed alpine ski resort threatens Serbia s largest nature reserve 9 Neretva Delta Forum for the sustainable use of shared natural resources 10 Strengthening capacities in the Western Balkan 11 Drava to become a canal? 12 New European Network for Landscape 13 Introducing the NGO Eko-Zadar 14 Exploratorii: Eco-Trainings in Romania and Serbia 15 Green Network of Vojvodina New IUCN member in Serbia 16 Two new Ramsar Sites in Serbia 17 Local community joins global initiative 18 Vojvodina joins the Countdown 2010 initiative EVENTS 1 Opening of solar system in high school 2 Serbia takes over Presidency of the the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube 3 Education on multifunctional development of agriculture and rural regions 4 Montenegro and IUCN unite efforts to protect nature 5 BPPP workshop in Shkodra 6 STOP: no sale of endangered plant species 7 Decision makers take action in Obedska bara COMMUNICATION & PUBLICATIONS 1 A world withouth biodiversity? 2 Connect 2 Earth - new green on-line community 3 Business and Biodiversity 4 Logo 5 New IUCN Website launched 6 IUCN library TRAININGS & SEMINARS 1 Management Effectiveness and Quality Criteria in European Protected Areas Sharing experiences and promoting good management 2 Regional Workshop for Europe on Capacity Building for National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans and Mainstreaming og Biodiversity 3 Workshop on the World Heritage Convention MAB in the SEE region

3 News 1 AlbaForest Research on Natural Resources in Albania Albania: AlbaForest, supported by the UK Oxfam Foundation, is carrying out a research on natural resources potentials and interlinks with rural economy in the three selected regions of Shkodra, Dibra and Vlora in Albania. The main aim is to identify, assess and evaluate the existing natural resources potential of these regions and to provide strategic orientations together with a rural development perspective strategy. This will include a survey on the socio-economic development of the selected regions. In order to fullfil the planning and economic developments programmes implementation, a joint natural resources management shall involve all relevant stakeholders and partners. The project activities will be undertaken in three phases. The research carried out from January to April 2008, includes: 1. Review of existing documentations on administration and management of natural resources published by governmental institutions and other public research institutes as well as NGOs. 2. Collection and processing of all existing data from field surveys, GIS information and performed research concerning the key issues that have an impact on the regional rural development. Preparation of a progress report under consideration of all relevant data on natural resources, biodiversity, tourism, socio-economic development, carbon sequestration and other field survey results. 3. Analysis and evaluation of the data, determination of primary sustainable development directions for rural development based on the existing natural resources potential of the three selected regions, summarized and delivered in a final report. The project results will be used to strengthen the sustainable rural development and poverty alleviation in Albania by identifying the natural resources potential (forests, pastures, botanicals, fresh-waters, rivers, eco-tourist values). It will provide a legal and regulatory framework of recommendations to a wise management practice, leading to an improvement of livelihoods in the respective communities. For more information, please contact: Mehmet Meta, Executive Director, AlbaForest, at 2 Life along the Sava IUCN SEE: An English version of the LIFE along the Sava e-bulletin no. 1 is about to be published as the first of a regular sixmonthly series. Within this bulletin the IUCN SEE Programme Office in cooperation with its international and local partners, brings together a variety of articles related to the Sava River floodplains conservation, sustainable land use, natural resource management as well as rural and tourism development. It will serve as an information platform for a number of stakeholders working in and being closely related to the Sava floodplain. The core topic in this first issue are Ecological networks, the focus lies on the conservation and sustainable development of the Sava River Floodplains. Partners are kindly invited to contribute to the coming issue(s) by providing interesting articles in relation to the conservation/sustainable development/traditional land use/rural tourism etc, as well as the news on specific projects activities, funding opportunities, events etc. that correspond to the Sava River Floodplains. Its forerunner is already available at Zivot%20duz%20Save%2001.pdf?PHPSESSID=dbcb1c94e6fccca16b92ff236796a2bd. For more information and the possibilities of contribution to this bulletin, please contact Boris Erg, Project Manager, at

4 3 Promulgation of the Central Balkan Protected Zone under Natura2000 Focus on Public Awareness Bulgaria: The Directorate of the Central Balkan National Park organized and held nine public hearings on the draft promulgation order to declare a Central Balkan protected zone for the conservation of wild birds in the ecological network NATURA Interest in the events was demonstrated by participants from 32 residential places in nine municipalities of five districts, whose land falls into the protected zone. During the discussions, park experts introduced the draft-order and explained why restrictive and interdict measurements were necessarily to be applied to the zone proposed for protection. Measurements include the refrain from ploughing and cultivating meadows and pastures. The Central Balkan protected zone (ID BG ) coincides with the area of the Central Balkan National Park. The zone is declared protected in order to preserve and maintain (or rehabilitate if necessary) the habitats of specific species of birds to reach their favourable conservation status. A subject of protection in the protected zone are 38 birds species, among them imperial eagle, golden eagle, black stork, honey buzzard, short-toed eagle, long-legged buzzard, lesser spotted eagle, booted eagle, saker falcon, peregrine falcon as well as three night rapacious birds species including the pygmy owl (enlisted as an extinct in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria), five species of woodpecker, sparrow-hawk, common buzzard, kestrel, green sandpiper, and bee-eater. Diana Terzieva, Central Balkan National Park Directorate, Golden eagle The meeting in Karlovo Georgi Stoyanov Ivan Georgiev 4 Priority forest, alpine & sub-alpine habitats in Romania Romania: Forests, sub-alpine and alpine areas cover an important part of Romania, hosting the most valuable and important species and habitats. Recent changes in land ownership with little acceptance of the new owners to conserve biodiversity values and the growing economic pressure on both private and public lands pose a high threat on such valuable habitats. Land abandonment, but also overgrazing, can lead to significant losses of biodiversity on sub-alpine and alpine pastures. Universities and research institutes, owners and administrators of the natural resources and NGOs can make a significant contribution to the implementation of the Natura 2000 network for Romania. The Transylvania University Brasov-Silviculture and Forestry Exploitations Faculty, together with the World Wide Fund for Nature- Danube Carpathian Programme (WWF-DCP), the National Forest Administration-ROMSILVA (RNP - ROMSILVA) and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, had obtained UE financing for a LIFE-Nature project Priority forest, sub-alpine and alpine habitats in Romania (LIFE05NAT/RO/000176) that is implemented from 2005 until This project aims to contribute to the implementation of Natura 2000 network in Romania, by providing support for the designation of at least 50 Natura 2000 sites including priority forest, sub-alpine and alpine habitats, based on close cooperation with Romanian authorities and local stakeholders. The project should also contribute to the establishment of a framework for sustainable management and adequate conservation of these habitats in Romania. More about the actions and results of the project can be found on For more details, please contact Alina Alexa, Project Communication Officer,

5 5 Lake Okanj vs. Chemical Industry of Pancevo Zrenjanin, Elemir, Lake Okanj, Serbia: In the second half of 2006, the Chemical Industry of Pancevo Petrohemija (CIH) the largest producer of petrochemicals in the Republic of Serbia requested a permit from the Provincial Secretariat for Environment Protection and Sustainable Development of the Autonomous province of Vojvodina to allow the burning of Liquid Hydrocarbon Remains (LHR waste) within the premises of the Factory for Sintetic Caoutchoue (FSC) in Elemir village. It is a waste material, that is graded as harmful and cancerogenous by the Institute for Protection of Health in Belgrade. An environmental impact assessment was prepared both by CIP and FSC, but it appeared that the technology the company planned to use was quite unacceptable for the envirionment and human health. A public hearing was organized in January 2007 with a team of experts from the Association for Environmental Protection Okanj (AEP) from Elemir, students from the Biology Student Science and Research Society Josif Pancic (BSSRS) from Novi Sad and the leader of the Ecological Movement of the town Novi Sad (EMTNS). All pointed out a number of shortfalls regarding the impact assessment and submitted a summary of comments (74 points) on 9 A4 pappers. One year later, on 15 th January 2008, the good news was received, that the Provincial Secretariat for Environment Protection and Sustainable Development of the Autonomous province of Vojvodina had dismissed the request to burn LHR waste within the plant premises in the vicinity of Lake Okanj. With this statement, the environmental NGOs that were involved in the awareness raising activities in this matter look forward with much motivation to tackle similar issues in future. In 2008, lake Okanj is to be elected for a Special Nature Reserve the process for entering the site for protection has ended in More info on this subject on and Marko Sciban, BSSRS Josif Pancic, 6 A wider View on Cultural Landscape Challenges Radio Kootwijk, The Netherlands: In the summer of 2008 the organizers of the international event A Wider View will put the European cultural landscape on the agenda. Within the framework of the Apeldoorn International Triennale, which takes place for the first time in the Netherlands, a Wider View will situate nationally and internationally recognized cultural landscapes of undisputed historical significance in a dynamic perspective and place them within the context of spatial planning and design. The venue for A Wider View is the astonishing Radio Kootwijk complex, a monumental group of buildings in the middle of the Hoge Veluwe natural reserve. Curator is Prof. Eric Luiten (Triennale Apeldoorn 2008). By organizing a conference, a summer university and an exhibition, A Wider View addresses, in the spirit of the Landscape Convention of 2000, the key question how centuries-old as well as recently evolved European cultural landscapes can remain living landscapes. It will give a critical overview of the diversity and the development of the cultural landscape, discuss the responsibility towards these landscapes and set the agenda on this issue for the next years. A Wider View is the 2008 platform for the general public, professionals, policymakers, researchers and politicians. The exhibition, European Cultural Landscapes will take place from 11 June to 28 September and it will present a carefully chosen selection of around 30 European cultural landscapes. Within this exhibition A Wider View wishes to present the European Green Belt as an illustrated example both for its historical aspects as well as for its new identity since the former border that once divided Europe into two different worlds in the near future will be the heart of the continent. A Wider View wishes to display the Green Belt as a symbol for the development of the former Iron Curtain form death zone to a living landscape. All sites along the Green Belt, from the North of Finland to the borders of Greece that are good examples of transboundary cooperation are welcome. In particular we are looking for a presentation of several sites lying along the line that explain its history, its qualities and its developments. All kinds of media (interactive, documentaries, interviews aerial photographs, maps etc) that support the message of the specific landscape are welcome. The material will also be used to compile a book (due fall 2008) on cultural landscape changes in Europe. If you think you would like to contribute, please contact Mrs. Cyane Conijn: before 1 st April The time schedule is tight, but it will be a good platform to present a region on on international venue. All contributions are very much welcome, as are suggestions and links to other institutions or organisations that may be interested to participate.

6 7 Green Valley in a green Europe Romania: Environmental NGOs of Romania are relatively young after having been founded in the democratic times after In comparison, the west-european NGOs are much more established. They have relevant organisational structures, larger memberships, a stronger voice in the society and a larger financial capacity. The civil society can be the optimum partner of the EU bodies, a promoter of the EU policies in the field. To have the capacity of influencing local, regional and national policies, emerging environmental NGOs need to strengthen their capacity in the field of communication with the general public, media presence, organisational skills, establishing and developing relationships with local stakeholders (authorities, business sector etc.). Biodiversity conservation is an important part of environmental conservation. Countdown 2010, an initiative with a noble scope, is in a deep need of implementation, by relevant actions all along the continent. Compared to western European countries, the trends of species population and natural ecosystems are in a much better condition in Eastern and Central Europe. Virgin forests, large wetlands, vast areas with near natural ecosystems, extensive forests, populations of the big carnivores bear, wolf and lynx still exist. One way to contribute to biodiversity conservation on the Euroean continent is to combine the organisational capacity of the west European NGOs with the local capacity of eastern European NGOs. In Romania, Green Valley Association began the implementation of an EC funded project on 1 st January 2008 under the name of Green Valley in a Green Europe. The project has two phases. Phase I - Know-How transfer: 1. Training on Developing basic skills in projects development (logical frameworks, budgeting, time management as well as implementation, communication and relation with media, lobbying at the national and European level. 2. Training on EU structures and policies in nature conservation (EU funding and fundraising, e.g. LIFE). 3. Study tour in EU25 (examples of nature conservation in sustainable rural development, Natura 2000, management of protected ares, etc.) and a visit in Brussels to meet representatives of EU25 NGOs. The visit may be linked with trainings on EU structures and funding. Meetings with successful EU 10 NGOs (e.g. IUCN, Birdlife, etc.) can be included. Phase II - Learning by doing : 1. Workshop with local NGOs, representatives of the business sector (SMEs), local public administration, mass media: Sustainable partnership between NGOs and local for profit societies regarding Environmental preservation. 2. Creation of strategy board with representatives of NGOs, SMEs, the local public administration and the media. Four meetings to prepare and elaborate a sustainable partnership strategy for a Green Nature in a Green Europe. 3. Publication of Best European Environmental Practices for Halting Loss of Biodiversity BEEP , a guide for environmental NGOs and SMEs in local communities. 4. Nature and Maramures in Europe (NaME): a photo exhibition and media event in Sighet which will underline the importance of biodiversity preservation and the sustainance of a healthy nature and healthy human communities. Together with IUCN experts Ms. L. Vavrova and Mr. J. Lohmann, the first training was organised in Sighetu Marmatiei-Maramures county from February. Participants included local key stakeholders and decision makers (local administration, business sector e.g. timber processing, tourism) and also members and staff of the Green Valley Association, as well as volunteers. The second training will take place in April The project will significantly contribute to a knowledge transfer and enable the local stakeholders and decision makers to maintain the equilibrium between the use of the natural resources, environmental health, human health and sustainable development, in correlation with the existing social, economic and environmental parameters. The capacity building undertaken within this project will help to deal with complex environmental problems, with nature conservation in a region with a high biodiversity value, with a developing industry in a market economy and with the changes in socio-economic structures due to the EU integration. For more information, please contact Ion Maris, project cooordinator, at or Peter Lengyel, Green Valley Association/Asociatia Valea Verde, Sighetu Marmatiei (Romania),

7 8 Proposed alpine ski resort threatens Serbia s largest nature reserve Stara Planina, Serbia: Stara Planina Nature Park is not only the highest Serbian mountain, but also the last remaining high mountain free of development. Despite the threat of climate change, its location deep in the south of Europe and the fact that only one peak is higher than 2000 metres, the Serbian Government has decided to build a mega ski resort with beds to accommodate 28,000 guests, 80 km of ski lifts, 200 km of ski slopes and skiing infrastructure for 40,000 skiers at one time. Large complexes of beech and conifer forests would have to be cleared for ski lifts and slopes alone, not to mention four planned dams for artificial snow production, new roads, car parks and several tourist villages planned in endangered habitat types such as mountain peat meadows. A total of 5000 species recorded at Stara Planina includes 41 indigenous orchids and the largest carnivore of Europe, the Brown Bear. A plethora of species is protected by both the Bern Convention and the Serbian Decree on the Protection of Natural Rarities, eg. globally threatened Saker Falcon and Corncrake, Lynx and Otter, as well as rare butterflies such as Clouded Apollo and Mountain Apollo. The first ski lift was opened in December 2006 at the Babin Zub peak erosion processes might lead to an increased danger of land slides. The conservation sector sees a contradiction with several Serbian laws. Thus, 60 environmental NGOs have joined forces to form the Association for Preservation and Sustainable Development of Stara Planina (APSD) (www. savestaraplanina.info). End of 2007, APSD held two well attended public debates in the southern towns of Pirot and Nis, another hearing shall take place in Belgrade. Strong public support will be of utmost importance and thus an online petition can be accessed on APSD has filed a court appeal to the Constitutional Court questioning Constitution violations at Stara Planina. In January 2008, letters were sent to the respective members of the government, requesting that laws must be respected and further works stopped until the proper Environmental Impact Assessment is made. Only after the EIA is produced, various development options may be considered, having the wellbeing of both local people and environment in mind. In addition, APSD has submitted more than 50 objections to the proposed Spatial Plan and Environmental Impact Assessment. The proposed Spatial Plan would allow fragmentation and clear felling of 1700 ha of forests as well as tourist village at endangered habitat types (peat meadow Jabucko Ravniste); all of it against the existing Decree on the Protection of Nature Park Stara Planina which forbids tree felling near upper forest limit, as well as harming the basic natural values of the Park. Out of 120 pages of the proposed Environmental Impact Assessment, only half a page is devoted to biodiversity richness of 5000 recorded species. A public hearing on both documents is expected in spring Source: Association for Preservation and Sustainable Development of Stara Planina. For more information, please contact Dragan Simic, League for Ornithological Action of Serbia, 9 Neretva Delta Forum for the sustainable use of shared natural resources NDF, Croatia & Bosnia and Hercegovina: Within the Project Neretva Delta Forum (NDF) for the sustainable use of shared natural resources implemented by the REC Croatia/REC Bosnia and Herzegovina and financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) since 2007, two identical NDF Associations with defined operational structures have been established, in Croatia and BiH respectively. At the occasion of the World Wetland Day on 2 nd February 2008 in Nature Park Hutovo Blato, the non-governmental organization Neretva Delta Forum Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Neretva Delta Forum Metkovic, Croatia, agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding on their mutual programs and goals and committed themselves to cooperate in achieving these goals. The associations aim is to develop cross-border cooperation between relevant stakeholders in Croatia and BiH, in order to contribute to sustainable development of the Neretva Delta, the preservation of its biological diversity, an efficient water management, nature conservation, environmental protection and preservation of cultural heritage, as well as traditional and historic values by fully respecting the fact that Neretva Delta is a single geographic region shared between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the past weeks, NDF Associations developed several project proposals related to the regional sustainable development and integrated approach to the management of shared natural and cultural resources, and submitted those to potential donors. Within the project, various promotion and information material is published, such as a Neretva Delta Eco calendar 2008, Eco Herzegovina, an ecological newsletter, and an educational picture book of Hutovo Blato wetland, Swamp is a Miracle. For more information, please contact Maja Zaric, National Programme Officer for Migration and Health at or visit the website

8 10 Strengthening capacities in the Western Balkan UNDP, Western Balkan: UNDP Montenegro, with support from five other UNDP offices in the region, prepared the Regional Environmental Hot Spots Programme Strengthening capacities in the Western Balkans countries to address environmental problems through remediation of high priority hot spots. The Programme is funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Belgrade. Covering nine environmental hot spots, this is the biggest regional programme UNDP has ever implemented in South Eastern Europe. The aim of the three-year, $15 million Regional Environmental Hot Spots Programme is threefold: 1. To enhance regional cooperation in the Western Balkans (by showing that a strong cooperation achieves better solutions in tackling joint environmental problems across national boundaries), 2. To improve living conditions in communities in the surrounding of targeted environmental hot spots through remediation activities (and to communicate the progress to those affected), 3. To ensure control of existing pollution and to build up knowledge and capacities in the local communities as well as at the national level in order to prevent similar environmental mistakes in future. This Regional Programme is unique in having a rare blend of concrete clean-up operations (i.e. physical works) combined with a so-called soft component focused on educating people, building an understanding of how people can influence the decision-making processes that affect their health, well being and economic opportunities. Locations included in the Programme: Railway station in Bajza, Albania cleaning up a chemical stockpile; Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina changing the local energy supply system for two health clinics at the municipal level; Ugljevik, Bosnia and Herzegovina modernizing an industrial water treatment plant to reduce the load of salt and other chemicals entering natural waterways through the plant s waste waters; Bucim, FYR Macedonia collection and treatment of waters from mining zone, constructing controls for heavy metal laden mine drainage and dust; Lojane, FYR Madeconia capping and containing toxic mining residues; Mojkovac, Montenegro remediation and rehabilitation of the lead and zinc tailings mine impoundment; Vrbas & Kula (Danube-Tisza-Danube Canal), Serbia construction of main collector, rehabilitation of the sewage system; Trepca, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244 relocation of some mining waste, construction of a number of protection measures and introduction of management practices to reduce mining waste impacts through heavy metals being dispersed through water and air pollution. The criteria for selection of locations were potential or existing cross-border pollution/environmental impact of the hot spots, commitment and priority that national governments attached to particular hot spots and their readiness to co-finance clean-up operations, availability of technical documentation, ability to establish partnerships including public and private partnerships, as well as readiness of local authorities and other interested stakeholders to take over the leading role in post-clean-up sustainable management. For more detailed information about the programme please visit or contact Ms. Sanja Bojanic, Regional Environmental Programme Manager, at

9 11 Drava to become a canal? Croatia: In January 2008 the Croatian Ministry responsible for Water Management (MRDFWM) has issued an extensive plan for the further regulation of 56 km of the lower course of the ecologically highly valuable Drava River. According to the plan, the natural river course shall be fixed (by embankments, groins and by cutting off natural river banks) in order to stop the natural river dynamics of the lower Drava. This new attempt would contradict the ministries commitment to comply with EU environmental law and also the recent agreement of the new Croatian government to protect the Drava as a Regional Park. Thus, twelve concerned NGOs have called upon the European Commission to finally stop further Drava destruction. To download the request and a map: For further information, please contact Arno Mohl, WWF Austria, Croatian government agrees on Drava protection! The programme of the new Croatian government plans to protect the Drava as a Regional Park. On page 32 of the Programme of the Government of Croatia it says: - zaštititi rijeke Unu, Muru, Dravu, Mrežnicu, u kategoriji regionalnih parkova Rok: preventivna zaštita do kraja 2008 godine, konacna zaštita prema zakonskoj obvezi. The decree for preliminary protection of the Drava as a Regional Park, which was elaborated by the Ministry of Culture and the State Institute for Nature Protection (SINP), has recently been signed by Minister Mr Božo Biškupic. This is a very important step to protect more than ha of one of Croatia s and Europe s most valuable river ecosystem as part of the proposed Trans-Boundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Danube-Drava-Mura. The State Institute for Nature Protection (SINP) has already developed a proposal for a Biosphere Reserve Danube - Drava - Mura on Croatian territory, comprising more than ha of natural and cultural landscapes along the rivers including core,- buffer,- and transition zones. Further information: Contact: Arno Mohl, WWF Austria, 12 New European Network for Landscape LANDSAT Italy, Germany, Ireland, Spain, UK, Netherlands: 40 representatives of 26 NGOs from Italy, Germany, Ireland, Spain, United Kingdom and The Netherlands met to launch the CIVILSCAPE network on 23 rd February This network has been founded to facilitate and encourage people to connect to their landscape and feel a responsibility for it, whilst its objective is to support the Florence Convention (the Council of Europe s Landscape Convention). The activities to be organised by CIVILSCAPE will include awareness raising for the qualities of landscape, international exchanges of experience and knowledge about landscape management and planning, the development of a common strategy to influence landscape policies, and the identification of joint international projects. For further information, please see 13 Introducing the NGO Eko-Zadar Croatia: Eko-Zadar, the Association for Organic farming and Environment protection, was founded in 1999 by a committee of 250 representatives including citizens, NGO directors and volunteers, Local Council members and government officials. Its mission is to influence positive changes and decision making processes regarding sustainable development through advocacy initiatives and promotion of ecological awareness and responsibility. Most important projects of Eko-Zadar are: The Green telephone (offering a free-phone line which stores data based on which we act contacting the relevant departments and authorities that might help solving the problem in question), Bio- Organic Food Production and Days of the Sun Fair (facilitating the dialogue between farmers and the local community by developing a niche-market for bio-organic products grown locally, promoting the sustainable development. Other activities are: Recycling toogether and the support of safe bike transport (supporting this eco way of transport, we assist and lobby for the cycling paths to be spread and maintained). For further information please contact or visit the website:

10 14 Exploratorii: Eco-Trainings in Romania and Serbia Pancevo, Serbia and Caras-Severin, Romania: Between November 2007 and February 2008, the Speleological Association Exploratorii (ASE) from Resita in Romania completed 8 trainings on ecological education in the city of Pancevo (Serbia) and in Caras-Severin County (Romania). These trainings are part of the project Centre for Ecological Education and Tourism Promotion, under implementation by ASE since August The project (total amount: 98,667 Euro) is financed by the European Union and the Romanian Government, under the Neighbourhood Programme Romania-Serbia 2005, and co-financed by ASE. The first 3 trainings took place in November last year, and were organized with the help of Jezgro, our Serbian partner, and the Town Hall of Pancevo. 44 young people from Serbia and Romania attended these trainings. From December 2007 on, another 5 ecological trainings were held in Caras-Severin County (Romania), together with our partner, the School Inspectorate of Caras-Severin County. 147 participants from 5 Romanian localities benefited from these trainings. All the participants were able to gain experiential knowledge of ecological education practices. Our goal was to develop an ecological spirit among young people from Serbia and Caras-Severin, aged between 16 and 25. As a result of the trainings, 15 young people from Serbia and 15 young people from Caras-Severin were selected to participate in the Romanian-Serbian volunteer exchange, organized in the summer of 2008 in Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park, with the help of our third partner, Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park. For more information, please contact Daciana Vladu, Project Manager at 15 Green Network of Vojvodina New IUCN member in Serbia Serbia: IUCN-SEE is happy to welcome Green Network of Vojvodina (Zelena mreza Vojvodine) as the 3 rd IUCN member in Serbia and the 15 th in the SEE region! GNV was officially registered in September 2001 and recently has 30 members, while a group of 55 farmers is also supporting its work. The GNV s mission is to establish the sustainable development principle in Vojvodina province: boost involvement of the public in issues related to environmental protection and decision-making; create and support sustainable communities; and contribute to sustainable agriculture and rural development. GNV has established an intensive cooperation with IUCN related to the implementation of the integrated conservation management, development of greenways (biking routes) in SEE, and the Green Belt and Countdown 2010 Initiatives. Together with Quebec Labradour Foundation from the U.S.A. organized a landscape stewardship exchange in Vojvodina to promote landscape stewardship principles in the region. Since 2005 GNV has been organizing an open market of local farmers from Vojvodina called Moj salas My farm to promote organic agriculture. With support from GNV the first authorized store with organic products Moj salas was opened in Novi Sad in August We wish GNV many successful projects and fruitful cooperation with local communities as well as IUCN and its members worldwide. Information on GNV can be obtained from their website: Olivera Radovanovic, head of GNV (L. Vavrova/IUCN) Moj salas My farm open market in Novi Sad (D. Medic/GNV)

11 16 Two new Ramsar Sites in Serbia Gornje Podunavlje and Vlasina, Serbia: Gornje Podunavlje and Vlasina are two new Ramsar sites designated in Serbia and included to the List of Wetlands of International Importance by The Ramsar Convention Secretariat on 2 nd February Gornje Podunavlje, covering 22,480 hectares, is a marsh complex along the Danube River that is part of a natural unity with the Gemenc (Hungary) and Kopacki Rit (Croatia) Ramsar sites. Vlasina spreads on 209 hectares and comprises, along with the surrounding countryside, the reservoir Vlasinsko, which at the time of its creation in 1949 inundated what was thought to be the largest peat bog in the Balkans and one of the largest in Europe. Serbia now has 8 Ramsar sites covering a total of 53,714 hectares. During the World Wetlands Day celebration Dr Lidija Amidzic, director of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia stressed that the Institute will be continuously preparing documentation and submitting proposals for new Ramsar sites in Serbia. At the moment, the preliminary list includes 68 sites, while the Special reserve Zasavica is planned to be the next wetland nominated. For further information, please contact Maja Radosavljevic, Public Relation, Institute for Nature Protection of Serbia at 17 Local community joins global initiative Botos, Serbia: On February 8 th, the community of Botos decided to sign the Countdown 2010 declaration and thus set a national example. High level representatives of the Serbian Ministry of the Environment, the province of Vojvodina and journalists from TV, radio and print witnessed the Signing Ceremony which followed a seminar on biodiversity and nature conservation in South-Eastern Europe. With its signature, the village aims to increase the attractiveness of its surrounding nature, and of the community life. Local businesses and civil society organizations spoke to support the decision. For more information on the initiative CD2010 in South Eastern Europe, please contact Tomasz Pezold, IUCN SEE Programme Office, 18 Vojvodina joins the Countdown 2010 initiative Novi Sad, Serbia: On it s session on 19 th of February, the Assembly of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, the highest representative organ of the Province, adopted the Countdown 2010 declaration. Adoption of the declaration has been recommended to the Assembly after a presentation of the Countdown 2010 initiative given by representatives of IUCN and Green Network of Vojvodina the newest IUCN member in the region. The presentation was held on 13 th of March during the joint session of the Committee on Economy and Tourism, Committee on City planning and Environmental protection and the Committee on Agriculture. The Assembly commits itself to increase afforestation of the region while taking into consideration biodiversity requirements; to improve protection of biodiversity in protected areas; to promote good agricultural practices and organic production; to protect valuable areas from negative impacts of industrial activities; to support education and awareness raising in regard to biodiversity of local communities, civil society and protected areas managers. After the first local community of Botos, the Assembly of AP of Vojvodina is the first regional authority of this size to join Countdown 2010 in Serbia. The Province sets a good example for other regional and local authorities in the country and in the region. For further information, please contact

12 Events 1 Opening of solar system in high school Hrvatska Kostajnica, Croatia, 20 December 2007: A solar system was installed as part of a practical Do it yourself workshop organized by Green Action in November where participants (Croatian and B&H NGOs, pupils and local inhabitants supported by experts from project team) actually built and installed a small system for utilization of solar energy. A fully functional system was installed on the school building, donated for future use as a demonstration system. This was the first of 4 planned educational workshops and trainings for NGOs from boarder areas of Croatia and B&H on renewable energy use and river ecosystem conservation as core activities on sustainable development. The workshops are part of the EU CARDS 2004 project Promoting conservation of border river ecosystems and sustainable use of resources in border area of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. With the promotion of renewable energy resources like solar collectors we hope to give alternatives to the threat that HPPs pose to remaining natural river ecosystems. The overall project objective is to increase awareness, knowledge and cross border cooperation in environmental protection as a core of sustainable development, through conservation of river ecosystems biodiversity and natural resources sustainable use, in the border region of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project started in July 2007 and lasts till June More information: Petra Duric, Water Protection Programme Assistant, Green Action/FoE Croatia, 2 Serbia takes over Presidency of the the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube Vienna, UN Information Service, 21 January 2008: Serbia today took over the Presidency of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) for the year The handover was made during an official ceremony hosted by the outgoing Presidency, Romania, at the premises of the Permanent Mission of Romania in Vienna, Austria. The Minister for Environmental Protection of Serbia, Sasa Dragin, will serve as ICPDR President and guide its activities in The ICPDR was created in 1998 to coordinate the protection and improvement of the Danube and its tributaries. As the person responsible for environmental protection in Serbia, I know the difficulties in combining the needs of nature with the sustainable use of natural resources, said Mr. Dragin. Mr. Dragin will emphasize the rapid and efficient sharing of information between the Danube countries. This is of great importance as a major tool to prevent damages in downstream countries from upstream accidents and increasing flood events. It is key that downstream countries have enough time to shut down and protect water supply systems that are linked to the Danube, especially in the case of industrial accidents involving hazardous substances. Serbia is particularly interested in ensuring that non-european Union countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova and Ukraine become fully integrated into the work of the ICPDR. The assimilation of Montenegro, which will ratify the Danube River Protection Convention this year, is also of great importance. Other key initiatives in 2008 focus on the dissemination of the results of the Joint Danube Survey 2, a six-week scientific survey of the Danube and its main tributaries carried out by the ICPDR in mid I will try to ensure that the information on the current status of the Danube is spread widely, says Mr. Dragin. This will ensure public support for more national funds spending on wastewater systems and treatment plants. The ICPDR Presidency rotates annually among the Contracting Parties of the Danube River Protection Convention. Serbia will be succeeded by Slovakia in The ICPDR (International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River) is an international organization consisting of 13 cooperating states and the European Union. Since its establishment in 1998, it has grown into one of the largest and most active international bodies engaged in river basin management in Europe. Its activities relate not only to the Danube River, but also the tributaries and ground water resources of the entire Danube River Basin. The ultimate goal of the ICPDR is to implement the Danube River Protection Convention by promoting and coordinating sustainable and equitable water management, including conservation, and improvement and rational use of waters for the benefit of the Danube River Basin countries and their people. For more information, please visit the website or contact Jasmine Bachmann at ICPDR,

13 3 Education on multifunctional development of agriculture and rural regions Fruska gora National Park, Serbia, January 2008: Supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Green Network of Vojvodina organized an educational training on the multifunctional development of agriculture and rural regions in Vojvodina in the NORCEV hotel in Fruska gora National Park. The training was organized for 40 participants registered farmers who were interested in organic agriculture production or good agriculture practice. On Friday 25 th, the Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Dr Suzana Djordjevic-Milosevic, greeted the group and gave a speech on rural development strategies in Serbia. Besides the basics of multifunctional development of agriculture and rural region, the agenda of the training, included basics of organic farm production, fruit-growing and gardening. In addition, a special training on the importance of applying fito-eco protection for plants was organized. More information was also given on Serbian animal genetic resources, ecological horticultural managing of homestead, use of renewable energies, harvesting and ensilage and experiences of farmers from multifunctional organic tilling. Prof. Dr. Branka Lazic and her team of experts led through the two days training. A second part of the programme will follow in spring The same participants will be able to take part in a workshop on Development of rural tourism - services, hygiene praxis, authenticall handicrafts and development of greenways. This session will be held in hotel Aleksandar on March 29 th in Novi Sad. At the end of the whole education seminar (May 2008), a visit to one of the organic farms will be organised and there the participants will receive a diploma for attending the seminar. 4 Montenegro and IUCN unite efforts to protect nature For information, please contact Dusko Medic, Kotor, Montenegro, February 2008: Under the leadership of Montenegro s Ministry of Tourism and Environment, the 2 nd Round Table on Protection and Sustainable Development of the Montenegrin Coast in Kotor has convened relevant national and mediterranean organizations with IUCN to identify nature conservation priorities of the country. By bringing together and allying with regional organizations, experts and policy makers, Montenegro is identifying ways of action to promote sustainable development in coastal areas, while respecting the natural environment and complying with international conventions and standards. Amongst the priorities identified for 2008 is the moving forward of Montenegro with the alignment of environmental laws with international Kotor Bay Boris Erg/IUCN standards, including EU directives, The Convention of Biological Diversity and IUCN recommendations. The creation of three marine protected areas to safeguard biodiversity Katič Isle, the Old Ulcinj and Platamuni has been identified as a first step towards compliance with international standards in marine conservation. However, it is needed to incorporate all the relevant biodiversity concerns in the new Montenegrin Law on Nature Protection, and to thus lay down a sound institutional set up for further nature conservation efforts. For more information, please contact Ameer Abdulla, and Boris Erg, 5 BPPP workshop in Shkodra Shkodra, Albania, March 2008: More than sixty stakeholders from central government, regional government, municipalities, NGOs and other organisations from Albania and the neighbouring countries attended a two-day workshop in Shkodra, to plan the next steps towards the creation of a transboundary Balkans Peace Park. The meeting, which was hosted by the President of the Shkodra Regional Council (Qark), Professor G. Kolombi, opened with positive statements of support and optimism for the future from the ministerial representatives from each of the regions involved. A draft vision, mission and objectives, tabled by the facilitators after prior consultation with various stakeholders, enabled productive discussions to take place in four working groups: economy and tourism; ecology; social and cultural issues; capacity-building. Each group addressed the draft objectives step by step, identifying gaps and areas of agreement, in order to achieve consensus on practical steps towards the creation of a programme of action. The meeting was supported by SNV, ENVSEC, UNEP, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Austrian Development Corporation and BPPP-UK. For more info, please contact Antonia Young,

14 6 STOP: no sale of endangered plant species Novi Sad, Serbia, 1-8 March 2008: The biology student science and research society Josif Pancic and National park Fruska gora in Serbia organized actions to stop the sales of protected and endangered plant species in the vicinity of Novi Sad. This initiative was also supported by the Institute for Nature Protection of the Republic of Serbia, the Institute for biology and ecology from the University of Novi Sad and the ecological movement of the town Novi Sad. The focus of attention was on the Great Anemone (Pulsatila vulgaris var. grandis) which protected under the nature conservation laws of the Republic of Serbia, as well as by Bern Convention, Appendix I. Similar threaths and problems were pointed out regarding other endangered plant species (Ruscus hypoglossum, Anemone silvestris, Leucojum aestivum, Ruscus aculeatus). In the past few years increased picking and trading of these and several other species was noticed, but from the authorities side, an action was not yet taken. Therefore, the goal of the awareness raising activities was to educate flower street-sellers and the local community not to pick, sell and buy this particular plant species. Flyers were distributed to the people present in the selling places of the Great Anemones. The official nature protection inspectors of Serbia were also informed and a prijava was sent regarding this problem. A presentation on the local TV stations followed the actions. It was concluded in the aftermath of this initiative, that the actions had a short term effect in terms of sinking numbers of Great Anemones for sale. Further activities in education and research as well as awareness raising are planned, in order to preserve the species from mass exploitations. More information can be obtained on or from the coordinators, Marko Sciban, BSSRS Josif Pancic, Novi Sad, at and Marko Jankovic, BSSRS Josif Pancic, Novi Sad, at 7 Decision makers take action in Obedska bara Obedska bara, Serbia, 11 March 2008: More than 70 people gathered on March 11 th in the Obedska bara Special Nature Reserve to support conservation efforts and to help in a wet meadow restoration project under the slogan Working day for Nature. This voluntary action was organized under the auspice of the Provincial Secretariat for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development of Vojvodina and logistically supported by Vojvodinasume Public Enterprise the Obedska bara protected area authority. It gathered representatives of all relevant conservation institutions in Serbia namely the Ministry of Environment, Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, Provincial Secretariat for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development, but also local communities and pupils from the primary school in Kupinovo as well as NGOs such as the Young Researchers of Serbia and international organizations represented by IUCN. They all gathered in Obedska bara, one of the first protected areas along the Sava river, in order to support the ongoing wet meadow restoration project. This project foresees the cleaning up of forests and thereby subsequently enabling wet meadow vegetation to grow up and restore natural wetland habitats. The participants helped to clean more than 10 ha within the targeted area. As was underlined during the action, it is foreseen to organize similar activities in other protected areas as well. The volunteer s message was clear enough only by doing one would be able to convince others to take direct conservation actions. For more information: Mr Slobodan Puzovic

15 Communication & Publications 1 A world withouth biodiversity? IUCN: There is growing recognition that diversity biological as well as linguistic and cultural diversity is the lifeblood of sustainable development and human welfare. Diversity is key to resilience the ability of natural and social systems to adapt to change. But we are rapidly losing diversity, despite all the warnings. We know that ancient civilizations collapsed because of environmental damage. We understand how monocultures contributed to agricultural disasters like the Irish Potato Famine. Excessive development and consumerism are destroying our natural systems, standardizing landscapes and eroding cultures. We know current growth rates are not sustainable and are not leading to the life we want. The world knows it has to change and has the means to do so. But this issue isn t dedicated to how we save diversity, it s about why we need it in the first place. Conservationists feel they are banging their heads against a wall because the rest of the world doesn t seem to be listening. Or, more likely, we re not doing very well at getting the message across. That s why, in the runup to the IUCN Barcelona Congress with its theme, A Diverse and Sustainable World, we re going back to basics, asking the question: How can we expect to tackle poverty and climate change if we don t look after the natural wealth of animals, plants, microorganisms and ecosystems that make our planet inhabitable? If we don t hurry up and convince governments, politicians, business leaders and the public why we need diversity and how urgent it is that they mobilize to save it, the world will move on and our fate will be sealed. We need to do better at showing how much progress has been made and how much more can be done. It s time to get our collective act together. In Barcelona the world will be watching us. For download please see IUCN is an organization that cares deeply about the diversity of life and whose fundamental expertise is on species and ecosystems. We know that sustainably managed natural resources support peace. We know that we must tackle climate change if we re to safeguard biodiversity and the lives of the people who depend on it. We have shown that we can help reduce poverty by ensuring that nature continues to provide much needed resources while sustainably managed resources can be key to economic growth. Union Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre on safeguarding biodiversity. 2 Connect 2 Earth - new green on-line community IUCN and WWF: A new online community where young people can have their say on the environment by uploading videos, pictures and comments was launched by two of the worlds largest environmental organisation, WWF and IUCN, supported by Nokia. The site will allow people to tell the world what they think about the environment, to rank other entries, discuss the issues that matter most to them, and share smart ideas and solutions from their own communities. Each month users will vote on a winner who will be rewarded with a Nokia mobile phone. The overall winner, selected by a panel of prominent conservationists, will get the chance to participate in the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona this October and present his or her ideas directly to political, environmental and business leaders from around the world. As mobile phones become an increasingly popular way to access the internet and online communities, the connect2earth site is optimized for using mobile phones to create short films, capture photos and submit comments. The website is aimed at people aged between 13 and 35. Visit with your PC or mobile phone and start changing the world now! For more information, please contact Sarah Halls, IUCN Media Relations Officer, or Moira O Brien-Malone, Head of Media Relations, WWF International, mobrienwwfint.org.

16 3 Business and Biodiversity IUCN: This newsletter issue focuses on Business and Biodiversity, with contributions from the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, WWF, the European Commission and the Portuguese Presidency of the EU. Contents: Editorial (Tamás Marghescu, IUCN Regional Director for Europe) WBCSD: Turning Challenge into Opportunity (Björn Stigson, President of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development) WWF: Engagement is fruitful for both sides (Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, Director of Business and Industry Relations, WWF) The High Level Conference on Business and Biodiversity (Humberto D. Rosa, Secretary of State for Environment, Portugal and Mogens Peter Carl, Director General, DG Environment, European Commission) Countdown 2010: A new way of doing business (Sebastian Winkler, Head of Countdown 2010) Biodiversity Offsets (Kerry ten Kate, Director, Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program, Forest Trends) Protecting the riverbank forests of Moldova (Andrei Dumbraveanu, Aurel Lozan and Teodor Glavan) IUCN Member: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew News from IUCN Europe Calendar of Events For download, please see 4 Logo IUCN: IUCN is simplifying its name and from now on it s known simply as IUCN. It stands for the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This year we turn 60. We re still full of energy, intellect and passion about the environment, but what better way to look forward to the next 60 years than with a new face thus, we also have a new simpler logo. However simple our name is though, we ll continue working on the world s most complex environment and development issues. Our scientists and experts will continue to define conservation standards for the world. And we ll continue working from the village to the presidential palace to the UN General Assembly to build bridges and find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing sustainable development challenges. 5 New IUCN Website launched IUCN: On 10 th March, the new IUCN website went live. It will look slightly different, but it is hoped, that it will be much easier for members and external audiences to navigate. The website is based on a new web content management system that, for the IUCN staff, will make posting and managing web content significantly easier for all offices worldwide. Currently the communications colleagues are busy migrating content from the existing sites to the new system. The website address has not changed please visit the site whenever you need information and news regarding the work and engagement of IUCN: 6 IUCN library IUCN: The IUCN library is a unique repository of publications, periodicals, scientific and technical reports prepared by IUCN, its Regional and Country Offices, Commissions and partners. It compiles the titles published by IUCN from 1948 to the present. It also contains publications from the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, TRAFFIC wildlife trade monitoring network, UNEP WCMC the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and a selection of titles from IUCN members or other publishers. Search the collection of IUCN publications in the IUCN online catalogue: Since June 2007 the most downloaded IUCN publications are World conservation strategy, Identification and gap analysis of key biodiversity areas and Evaluating effectiveness, as statistics showed.

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