Podgorica – In order to mark the founding of the first nine national parks founded in Sweden in 1909, May 24th marks European Parks Day. This day aims to bring people closer to nature and raise public awareness of the importance of natural beauty in protected areas across Europe, thus highlighting the importance of preserving and sustainable development of these places. Protected areas are ideal places for the restoration of nature and our connection with it. In an increasingly urbanized Europe, it is in these places that we can truly ground ourselves and feel that we are part of nature too! As such, we must protect it – now and in the future.
This year’s European Parks Day is held under the slogan “We are nature” with an invitation to rethink, renew and reconnect with nature.
“We are in the years when essential actions must be agreed and taken for the effective conservation of biodiversity, whose dramatic loss is among the greatest challenges of our global community. We need to ensure that actions taken at the national level are in line with the scope of global goals and that greater efforts are needed to put biodiversity at the heart of decision-making in all aspects of life, politicians (government) and the economy. We need to work with nature to respond to the multiple challenges we face – achieving sustainable development, slowing down climate change and reducing biodiversity loss. Preserving biodiversity is the key to building a sustainable future for all, says Kasandra-Zorica Dropuljić, project manager of the WWF Adria Protected Areas for Nature and People.
Protected areas are the foundation for the protection of natural diversity and provide us with wonderful places to reconnect with nature every day. They are for the benefit of the whole society.
Zoran Mrdak, president of the regional organization Parks Dinarides, which connects almost all our protected areas, says: “Biodiversity is under great pressure and needs effective conservation with the participation of all relevant actors. The EU Strategy for Biodiversity 2030, with the Green Agreement, and the Global Biodiversity Strategy set the framework for the future of nature conservation, which the Western Balkan countries have committed themselves to through the Sofia Declaration and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans. For all these strategies and plans to work, we need continuous dialogue and strengthening of regional cooperation in order to protect nature and a high degree of cooperation between all actors.”
The Green Agenda for the Western Balkans will be in focus on the joint Sixth International Conference of Parks Dinarides and Civil Society Organizations, organized by WWF and Parks Dinarides from next Tuesday, May 31., in Sarajevo. The three-day conference called “Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Protected Areas” will, in addition to protected area managers and representatives of relevant institutions in our region, for the first time bring together representatives of numerous non-governmental organizations dealing with nature protection. The main goal of the joint conference is to explore how to strengthen regional cooperation, improve coordination for biodiversity conservation in the Western Balkans and the sustainability of protected areas. One part of the conference will be focused on the topic of women in nature protection.