Nature at the centre of regional dialogue

By officially endorsing a 'Big Win for Dinaric Arc' joint statement, nature conservation authorities from South-Eastern Europe have agreed to work together on strengthening cooperation in the region. With the support of IUCN, WWF and the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro, each institution has formed a set of national commitments setting a new agenda for protected areas and nature conservation.

"IUCN is pleased to hear about commitments such as strengthened nature conservation, new and more effectively managed protected areas, the successful implementation of relevant EU policies, as well as an increased recognition of the natural capital concept, “ said IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre, in her message. “IUCN stands ready to contribute to this agenda by providing advice and support to national authorities drawing upon its science-based approach and vast expert networks”.

The joint statement was endorsed by the Republic of Albania, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Republic of Croatia, Kosovo*, FYR Macedonia, Republic of Slovenia and Republic of Serbia during the high level ceremony today in Budva, Montenegro, in the presence of Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment.

"The region of Dinaric Arc is rich in natural capital and is identified by WWF as a biodiversity hotspot of global importance", said WWF Director General James Leape during the ceremony in Budva. "WWF congratulates all involved for opting for the long-term benefits linked to sustainable development over short term economic gains."

Responsible institutions have made today a decisive step that will strengten their cooperation efforts and help create a regional platform that will facilitate the harmonization of nature conservation policies. “Enhancing regional cooperation between the institutions is a basis for the long-term protection of nature and sustainable use of resources,” said Boris Erg, Director of IUCN Programme Office for South-Eastern Europe. "IUCN's goal is to ensure that similar nature conservation policies and standards apply across the region."

Opening the second Dinaric Arc Parks international conference 'Big Win for Dinaric Arc' builds upon the milestone agreement for biodiversity made in 2008 at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference. On that occasion six governments from South-Eastern Europe signed a joint agreement that sets out their national priorities in the implementation of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas.

The Big Win for Dinaric Arc event is an important contribution to the implementation of the project Toward Strengthened Conservation Planning in South-Eastern Europe, funded by the MAVA Foundation and implemented by IUCN's Programme Office for South-Eastern Europe together with the environmental ministries and nature conservation agencies from the region.

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