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18 December 2019

Into the Carpathian Convention

Joy to the world, ConnectGREEN has come. Let the Carpathian Convention receive its strategy.

By Thor Morante B.

Winter might be a freezing season, but not so enough to freeze the operations of the ConnectGREEN project, funded by Interreg DTP. Thus, between 11 and 13 December, representatives from the project attended and participated to the 10th Carpathian Convention Implementation Committee (CCIC) meeting, held in Budapest and hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture of Hungary.

Dr Gabriella Nagy (CEEweb) leads the coordination of the strategy for ecological corridors in the Carpathians.

The event allowed for CCIC representatives, focal points and observers to review the activities during the period of the Hungarian Presidency, as well as to see to the ratification of the Protocols to the Carpathian Convention on the Article 12bis on Climate Change. Among the highlights, Ms Julia Shevchuk, representing the Ukrainian Focal Point to the CC, presented the proposal for the designation of a Ukrainian-Romanian Transboundary Biosphere Reserve in the Maramorosh Ridge, in the Carpathian Mountains.

On the ConnectGREEN project’s side — represented at the event by consortium partners WWF CEE and CEEweb for Biodiversity — Ms Hildegard Meyer, from WWF CEE, portrayed to the CCIC the overall objective of the project on maintaining and improving the ecological connectivity between natural habitats — especially Natura 2000 sites and other protected area categories of transnational relevance for the Carpathian ecoregion. It was thus explained that to achieve this aim the project was focusing on:

  • identifying the gaps in connectivity and eco-corridors in the Carpathians,
  • working on the improvement of the capacities to identify and manage eco-corridors, and
  • identifying and implementing harmonised directions, instruments and practices to promote, among spatial planners and decision makers, the value of ecological connectivity — with an emphasis on large carnivore corridors.

In the oven

Hildegard Meyer (WWF CEE): “The ConnectGREEN Database will help identify the potential conflicts new projects could have in relation with the information on when and where they are planned to be done.”

Thus, Ms Meyer updated the CCIC on the advances of the project’s outputs. These included the ongoing discussions on the Strategy on identification, preservation, and management of ecological corridors in the Carpathian countries — currently being analysed by experts around Europe on its vision and on how to combine all recommendation to reach a comprehensive approach for the region — and on the ConnectGREEN methodology — also currently opened to experts’ inputs on habitat modelling — which will render a map of ecological corridors in the Carpathians and, in more detail, for the project’s pilot areas.

On the strategy itself, it is aimed to ensure integrated planning, construction, and management of green, blue and grey infrastructure in the Carpathian region. After the current ongoing analysis, final inputs will be obtained from the consultation round with the Carpathian Convention (CC) Secretariat, the CC member countries’ focal points, and ministerial representatives, during next year’s COP6 of the Carpathian Convention, as well as during the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA) Conference, to be held in Visegrad, Hungary, on April 2021.

Finally, Ms Meyer also commented on the current development of ConnectGREEN’s e-Learning Platform, a set of theoretical and multimedia contents aimed for nature protection engineers working for national park directorates, as well as for spatial planners working on country-level strategic, integrated, and green infrastructure planning.

Being developed by CEEweb for Biodiversity, this online knowledge centre will guide participants through open-access courses on 1) Carpathian large carnivores, 2) the Methodology for identification of large carnivores, and 3) spatial planning. The platform will include various interactive tools, such as video lectures, presentations, animations, reading materials, and evaluations. At the end of the learning process, participants will receive a certificate of completion. You can explore the full concept of the e-learning platform here. The platform is expected to be launched by the end of April 2020.