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Workshop on The Development of Protected Areas System
and Pan-European Ecological Network in the EECCA: Issues and Challenges

Background

The workshop was focused on the assessment the results achieved in the implementation of the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy in recent years and identifying steps for the nearest future preceding from the fact that sustainable existence and improvement of the quality of life in any country is directly connected with conservation and restoration of natural environment and biological diversity.

The workshop objectives were the following:

  • To determine the most efficient ways of Pan-European ecological network development in the countries of the region;
  • To determine the prospects and the main directions of effort to ensure increased representation of PA systems in each country and to improve the efficiency of PAs management;
  • To discuss approaches and identify steps for establishing universal criteria for designation and protection provision to valuable natural Pan-European areas taking into account biological and geographic diversity and differences in the level of man-induced landscapes and ecosystems transformation throughout the region;
  • To coordinate the activities in establishing mechanisms that would take into account the needs of biological diversity conservation in the process of nature use as a mandatory condition for the establishment of the Pan-European Ecological Network;
  • To assess the state of affairs and identify specific steps for the implementation of the Seville Strategy in the countries of the continent;
  • To assess the problems and identify immediate steps for cooperation development among countries in establishing transboundary PAs;
  • To take note of positive experience and focus on the need of rendering further support at all levels to the most promising initiatives in the field of PA systems development in the countries participating in the Forum;
  • To declare the position of non-governmental organizations and point out those aspects that deserve particular attention at the Kiev Ministerial Conference.

The workshop aimed to recommend to the CBD/COP what steps can be taken to build an effective Nature protected area system integrated in Eurasia Econet (EECONET). The workshop focused on the issues, dealing with the development of ecological networks, biodiversity status and representativeness of nature protected areas and systems of nature protected areas, improving of nature protected areas management effectiveness. The main question discussed how can protected areas and ecological networks provide the sustainability of regions?

Conclusions and recommendations

Within the framework of the First Regional Session of the Global Biodiversity Forum for the countries of Eastern Europe (April 23-25 2003, Kishinev, Moldova) a workshop on The Development of Protected Areas System and Pan-European Ecological Network in the EECCA: Issues and Challenges were conducted

The Workshop was attended by more than 40 representatives of public, scientific and non-governmental organizations from the EECCA countries, 25 reports were presented and more than 20 representations were made. The Workshop adopted the following statement:

Taking into account that the accession of the majority of the states of the world to the UN Convention on Biodiversity was a signal of recognition of its particular value for human survival at the highest level,

noting that in spite of this biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of bioresources has not in fact become a priority for governments and donors in the countries of the UN European Economic Commission,

observing a further reduction of biodiversity in the region, transformation and fragmentation of natural landscapes, and

referring to the Pan-European Strategy in the field of Biological and Landscapes Diversity aimed at preventing these processes, as well as to the resolution of the Strategy’s Council and the Kiev Ministerial Conference,

the participants call on the Conference on Environment for Europe to approve:

    1. The Kiev resolution on biodiversity, the draft of which was presented by the Council of the Pan-European Strategy in the field of Biological and Landscapes Diversity as well as
    2. The Statement on the Pan-European Ecological Network, the draft of which was presented by the Council of Europe, the European Center for the Protection of Nature and the United Nations Environmental Program.

Taking into account the reports and statements presented the participants call on the parties concerned implementing the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Pan-European Strategy in the field of Biological and Landscapes Diversity:

  1. To establish a special legal framework for the Pan-European and national ecological networks development (including key and buffer areas, ecological corridors and sites of ecological restoration);
  2. To harmonize legislation of the countries that have common transboundary PAs (including elimination of discrepancies in the provisions of the state border, customs and environmental legislation);
  3. To set out clear objectives and terms of tax and rent policy development in the field of biological resources conservation and use;
  4. To introduce the system of special accounting of lands of high environmental value in the cadastre, urban construction and sectoral documentation used in area planning;
  5. To expedite the implementation of adopted and approved decisions on new PAs establishment and ecological networks development;
  6. To develop a mechanism for official recognition of PAs established on non-state-owned lands;
  7. To expand the rights of local self-government bodies in placing natural areas under protection;
  8. To recognize management plans as the basis for PAs control and operation;
  9. To carry out regular assessments of PAs and their national and regional networks efficiency in terms of the concept of sustainable development and implementation of the CBD commitments, including the provision of state support to initiatives in this field;
    1. To strive at using common methodological approaches and procedures in making inventories and conducting assessments of biodiversity, inter alia on the basis of standard sets of indicators and assessment of its endemic value;
    2. To ensure regionalization of the lists of endangered species, including those attached to the Bern and Bonn Conventions, as an informational and legal framework for nature protection on a bio-geographical basis;
    3. To coordinate compilation and maintenance of Operational Lists, Red Data Books, and other official registers of protected sites of biodiversity of national and sub-national significance;
    4. To give priority in financing to the projects on the establishment of ecological networks in the regions distinguished by the highest level of natural landscapes transformation and fragmentation;
    5. To give priority in protection activities to the sites distinguished by a high endemic value of flora and fauna as the key areas of the ecological network;
    6. To give priority in PAs establishment to steppe and desert ecosystems;

    1. To establish an informational basis for the Pan-European and national ecological networks management;
    2. To contribute to PAs integration in the social and economic development of the regions of the Northern Eurasia;
    3. To expand the network of biosphere reserves as a way to increase PAs contribution to sustainable development;
    4. To increase the scientific value of research conducted within PAs, material and methodological support for inventory-making, monitoring and biodiversity conservation activities within PAs and the adjacent areas;
    5. To provide state support for the activities of PAs associations;
    6. To establish a system of training personnel for PAs;
    7. To create a system of public support for the establishment of the ecological network and involvement of population in the protection of nature;
      1. To recognize the following as the main objectives of the Pan-European Ecological Network establishment:

  • restoration of ecological ties between the Great Euro-Asian Natural Block and other major natural blocks of Europe and Asia;
  • extension of the Galitsko-Slobogjansky Pan-European Ecological Corridor to the east up to the natural blocks in Tambovskaya oblast and Mary-El republic;
  • preservation of blocks of natural ecosystems of the Southern and Middle Ural as the nuclei of the Pan-European Ecological Network;
  • practical implementation of projects of regional ecological networks of the Center of the Russian Plains, Volgo-Viatsky region, Nizhnee Povolgie and Altai-Sayan mountainous region;
  • successful implementation of the Central Asian transboundary project for biodiversity conservation in the Western Tien Chan;
  • successful implementation of the All-State program on the establishment of Ukraine’s national ecological network for 2000-2015 and compliance with the schedule of new reserves and national natural parks establishment provided in it;
  • PAs transboundary cooperation on the Usturt plateau (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan);
  • protection of the key areas of endemic value in Armenia (Gorovansky sands, Magrinsky flora region, Daralagez rivers valleys, Aragatz mountain block and Arailer mountain);
  • establishment of a transboundary Russian-Ukrainian PA on the basis of biosphere reserve “Briansky Forest” and Desniansko-Starogutsky national natural park.

    1. To support the constructive regional and national initiatives and model projects in the field of territorial protection of nature:

  • development of territorial biodiversity protection on the basis of land use ecologization in the EECCA regions heavily transformed by agriculture in establishing a land market (IUCN-CIS and GEF Biodiversity Conservation Project);
  • development of the ecological network as a basis for the long-term operation of ecosystems of the Central Asian region;
  • project on the key botanic areas of the EECCA countries (IUCN-CIS);
  • implementation of the successful concept of Ecological Network of Moldova Republic and early implementation of the required pilot projects;
  • project on the establishment of a network of training centers for PAs of the Northern Eurasia (UNEP/GEF);
  • project on the establishment of an ecological network of Mary-El republic (state natural reserve “Bolshaya Kokshaga”);
  • project on the establishment of an ecological network of Penzenskaya oblast (state natural reserve “Privolzhskaya forest-steppe”);
  • establishment of natural parks of Moldova and Ukraine in the Lower Nistru river;
  • project on the establishment of PAs network of Bashkortostan republic within the framework of Volgo-Uralskaya ecological network (Volgo-Uralskaya ecological network support center);
  • project “Development of a network of specially protected natural areas of Kostromskaya oblast ECONET (Kostromskaya oblast office of natural resources and environment protection of the RF MNR);
  • project “The key flora areas - from paper work to practical protection” (Plantlife and Riazan State Pedagogical University);
  • project “Establishment o a system of environmental management and planning in Nizhegorodskaya oblast” (the center for wild nature protection and the committee on nature protection and nature use management of Nizhegorodskaya oblast);
  • Russian-Danish model project on the establishment of an association of reserves and national parks of the north-west of Russia (Association of PAs of the North-West of Russia, St.-Petersburg Society of Natural Scientists, Northern Agency on Ecology and Development with financial support by the Danish Government);
  • Approval by the Governments of Romania and Ukraine of a tripartite agreement on the joint management of areas in the Danube delta region signed by the ministers of environment protection of the three countries (Moldova, Romania and Ukraine) on June 5, 2000 in Bucharest, Romania.

  1. The Forum expresses concern about:

  • possible damage to the Danube biosphere reserve in the territory of Ukraine in the establishment of the seventh Trans-European Transport Corridor, particularly in the construction of a navigational channel Danube-Black Sea;
  • the state of territorial protection of biological diversity in certain Russian oblasts: not adequate management and elimination of regional nature protected areas in range regions of Russia;

  • the state of the Byelorussia part of the World Heritage Site – “Belovezhskaya pusha” biosphere reserve.

The Workshop notes that specially protected areas play an important role in biodiversity conservation on our planet and emphasizes the urgency of topics and objectives of the forthcoming World Parks Congress to be held on September 8-17 in Durban (South Africa) for the region in question.

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