When conservation and borders coincide | WWF

When conservation and borders coincide

Posted on
19 November 2012

A new publication by IUCN shows how transboundary conservation action in South-East Europe’s Dinaric Arc helps protect the region’s rich biodiversity and introduces an innovative tool which helps develop cross-border partnerships.

The new book, Initiating effective transboundary conservation: A practitioner’s guideline based on the experience from the Dinaric Arc, highlights examples of cooperation across borders in the Dinaric Arc area – a region in South-Eastern Europe stretching from Trieste, Italy to Tirana, Albania and covering large areas of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. It shows how this approach to conserving nature has advanced the region’s unity in terms of conservation and sustainable development, while strengthening regional partnerships.

“Transboundary conservation is a long-run race which requires a lot of dedication, goodwill and mutual understanding. In return, it can bring clear and concrete results which go far beyond nature conservation,” says Boris Erg, Director of IUCN South-Eastern Europe and a co-editor of the book.

The new diagnostic tool presented in the book is an innovative way of assessing feasibility of transboundary conservation and can be applied to various ecosystems and geographical regions worldwide. Its key advantage is that it can be completed by anyone interested in initiating transboundary cooperation, not only conservation experts.

“The diagnostic tool assists planners of transboundary conservation processes in carefully diagnosing the situation by assessing the need and readiness to initiate a transboundary process, while not neglecting opportunities and risks,” said Maja Vasilijević, Chair of IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group and a co-editor of the publication.

Transboundary conservation helps people work across state boundaries to conserve nature. It brings large-scale ecological benefits by protecting extensive natural areas, supporting species migrations and reducing the risk of biodiversity loss. It is an effective way of promoting cooperation and forging partnerships across borders: it encourages former enemies to start talking, generates joint income opportunities, and helps resolve political conflicts.

“By initiating transboundary collaboration, we give ourselves an opportunity to base sustainable development on the fantastic natural and cultural values, while at the same time greatly improve the image of the entire region,” said Deni Porej, Director of Programs at WWF Mediterranean.

Piloted in several key nature sites in the Dinaric Arc area, transboundary conservation has proved to be an effective way for establishing dialogue and a shared vision. On the basis of shared natural resources six Memoranda of Understanding have been signed across the region, leading to the definition of conservation priorities and joint action plans. Transboundary hiking trails, signposting, educational and communication material are some of results stemming from improved dialogue across borders.

Initiating effective transboundary conservation: A practitioner’s guideline based on the experience from the Dinaric Arc was edited by Boris Erg, Director of IUCN South-Eastern Europe, Maja Vasilijević of IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group and Matthew McKinney of the Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy, University of Montana. It was published by IUCN and developed jointly by IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas’ Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group, WWF Mediterranean Programme, and SNV Netherlands Development Organization.

Notes to the editors

For further information or interviews:
Anne Rémy, Director of Communications, aremy@wwfmedpo.org, +39 06 844 97 424
Liza Drius, Communications Officer, liza.drius@iucn.org, +32 2 739 0318

The publication is available here.

About IUCN
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environmental and development challenges. IUCN works on biodiversity, climate change, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,200 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. www.iucn.org

About IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA)
The World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) is the world’s leading network of protected area managers and specialists, with over 1,300 members in 140 countries. WCPA’s mission is to promote the establishment and effective management of a worldwide representative network of terrestrial and marine protected areas, as an integral contribution to the IUCN mission.
The IUCN WCPA Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group is the premier global network of transboundary conservation specialists. Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group’s mission is to promote and encourage transboundary conservation for the conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values while promoting peace and co-operation among nations through enhancing knowledge and capacity for effective planning and management of transboundary conservation areas, in fulfilment of the Durban Action Plan and CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas. www.iucn.org/wcpa, www.tbpa.net

About SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
SNV is an international development organisation with almost half a century of world-wide experience. Working in over 30 countries across four continents, SNV combines the inspiration of the development worker with professional management and advisory services, strengthening the capacity of local organisations in order to create a real and lasting impact in economic development. SNV's vision is a society where all people enjoy the freedom to pursue their own sustainable development. SNV offers high quality professional services and knowledge to groups and individuals in order to build strong, stable and successful organisations that create the conditions in which people and communities are able to flourish. SNV is headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, and registered as an independent foundation. www.snvworld.org

About WWF
WWF, the global conservation organization, is one of the world's largest and most respected
independent environmental conservation organizations. WWF has a global network active in over 100 countries with some 5 million supporters. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. WWF is known only by its initials. www.panda.org