Dinarides Protection Day (7th October) was established on 29th May 2019 on the General Assembly of Parks Dinarides – Network of protected areas of Dinarides in Nature Park Blidinje (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Through marking Dinarides Protection Day, every year on 7th October, the importance of the natural and cultural heritage of Dinaric Alps countries is brought to attention, as well as the intertwining of natural wealth and cultural and historical values of this special area in Europe.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's celebration will be organized virtually. As the pandemic affected many aspects of the work and functioning of parks in our region and beyond, by marking this day we want to draw attention to the effects of the pandemic on protected areas but also the need to strengthen and deepen cooperation as one of the answers to the new crisis. Therefore, the slogan of this year's Dinarides Protection Day is #DinaridesConnect.
The COVID-19 pandemic in the last nine months has dramatically affected people’s lives and health in the Dinaric Arc countries, bringing economic and social challenges, which can have long-term consequences on many aspects of society.
It is certain that the global excessive and uncontrolled use of nature – deforestation, land conversion, exploitation of wild species, unsustainable agricultural development in many parts of the world, has influenced the creation of conditions for the transmission of this zoonotic disease from animals to humans.
The current pandemic could significantly set back several decades of efforts to establish a sustainable and efficient nature protection and management system in many protected areas.
Protected areas comprise more than 10% of the territory of Dinaric Arc countries, and apart from being one of the centers of biodiversity at the European level with numerous endemic and relict species, in the last decade, they have become increasingly important for the economic development of their countries.
The way we deal with environmental issues and the management of protected areas during and after pandemic will have major implications for nature and our relation to it in the future. But it could also be a chance to build a more positive future.
The effects of the pandemic are visible primarily through the reduction of economic activity, which will, through reduced budgets for most protected areas, lead to negative multiplier effects on the quality of governance.
It is especially important to ensure continuity in the basic functions of protected areas in order to avoid degradation of fundamental values – forest complexes, wild species, sensitive ecosystems...
Today, on the occasion of 7th October – Dinarides Protection Day, we invite all entities involved in nature protection and management of protected areas in Dinaric Arc, governments and government agencies, members of Parks Dinarides, academia and NGO sector in order to ensure the construction of a common shield for the nature of Dinarides through synergetic plans and actions, in order to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as much as possible, thus creating new positive energy for post-pandemic times.
We especially emphasize the need to find ways to improve regional cooperation, since the values of good practices could be vital for adapting the operational management of protected areas.
Despite the difficult cooperation during the COVID-19 pandemic, every single effort to protect endangered species, educate youth, research ecosystems, build new facilities, promote cultural heritage, maintain or establish new regional cooperation activities does well for all of us, as well as to the natural and cultural legacy of Dinarides.