Protected areas must not only remain as cold facts on paper

Sarajevo – While Green Week is taking place in Europe, with the Green Agenda as the main topic, participants in the International Conference of Parks Dinarides, which ended today in Sarajevo, agree that the Green Agenda offers great opportunities, but they emphasize that sustainable financing of protected areas in our region remains a challenge.

The conference, organized by the Parks Dinarides and WWF, also resulted in a joint declaration by civil society organizations to better implement the Green Agenda in the Western Balkans region. The declaration was sent to the European Commission today, and called on the EU and governments to ensure inclusive, transparent and meaningful participation of the civil sector in Green Agenda plans and projects.

“We appeal to the European Commission to not leave out key participants in the process who can ensure that protected areas do not remain just a cold fact on paper,” said WWF Adria Executive Director Natasa Kalauz.

As the Regional Conference of Civil Society Organizations was held at the same time, all participants stressed the need for cooperation between them and protected area managers.

“This conference confirmed that the regional network of Parks Dinarides is a good platform for connecting all parks in the region that share good examples and plan joint projects. The managers pointed out that they want to be more actively involved in the processes of green transition in the Western Balkans, which will result in sustainable and more functional protected areas in our region, “said Zoran Mrdak, President of the Parks Dinarides.

The conference ended with a panel dedicated to the role of women in nature conservation, where representatives of the civil sector, managers and politicians spoke about the challenges and experiences in their work. The panel can be viewed on WWF Adria Facebook page, and was attended by Sanela Klarić, Member of the BiH Parliament, Ivana Vasić from Public company for forest management Vojvodina šume, Iris Beneš from the Brod Ecological Society and Ana Čolović Lesoska from the Macedonian Ekosvest, WWF Adria Representative in Northern Macedonia.

The conference brought together 150 participants, including representatives from 70 protected areas and about 50 civil society organizations from Albania, Slovenia, Northern Macedonia, Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, as well as representatives of line ministries and institutions.

The conference was held within the project Protected Areas for Nature and People, which WWF Adria has been implementing in the Western Balkans since 2015 with the support of the Swedish Development Agency (Sida).

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