BANJA LUKA, BiH - Representatives of protected areas and nature protection institutions from the region of the Dinaric Arc, from Slovenia to Albania, gathered on Monday in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the international conference organized by the WWF as part of the “Dinaric Arc Parks” project. Minister of Physical Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of Republika Srpska Srebrenka Golić welcomed more than hundred guests who will during five days conference learn about the benefits of protected areas, the protected areas in the context of the European Union, sustainable tourism and climate change.
“I'm sure that the realization of this project will strengthen the links in the region and will lead to a quality exchange of ideas and experiences that will contribute that national and nature parks in the Dinaric Arc become the place or places that will be visited by many tourists from around the world. I want to thank WWF, the global organization for protection of nature, which is coordinating this project, and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway and Mava Foundation, who funded the project. The Ministry of Physical Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology and the Republika Srpska government will be a reliable partner contributing creativity and commitment not only to meet all of the objectives of this project but also to establish a strong cross-border cooperation and create number of other joint projects that will contribute to better networking, strengthening existing relationships and economic prosperity of all countries of the Dinaric Arc,” said minister Golić at a press conference before the opening of the conference in Banja Luka.
WWF for the past six years successfully cooperates with the ministries responsible for the protection of nature in the region of the Dinaric Arc and project “Dinaric Arc Parks” is one of the outcomes of this collaboration. This has also been recognized by the Norwegians who decided to support the networking of protected areas as an essential element to enhance regional cooperation. “Natural values of this region have to be economically valorised and turned into a competitive advantage of this region vis a vis the rest of Europe,” commented Dr. Deni Porej, the conservation director of WWF Mediterranean Programe.
Project "Parks Dinaric Arc" started in January 2012 with the main aim to create a network of 75 parks in the region. In addition, there is also a very important task of teaching employees about better management of parks and sustainable tourism. Another goal of the project is to work on the recognition of the Dinaric Arc region, which should be just as important as the Alps or the Carpathians. Dinaric Arc could become a synonym for sustainable development.
“This conference is the first step toward building the reputation of Dinaric Arc in Europe and the world. To achieve this, we created a brand Parks Dinarides and began to work with the tourism sector in the countries of the Dinaric Arc in order to jointly present the natural treasures that grace our region,” said Leon Kebe, project manager of “Dinaric Arc Parks” project from WWF Mediterranean Programe.
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, dr. Lučka Kajfež Bogataj, will be among keynote speakers at the conference, and will give a presentation on climate change and its impact on protected areas, nature and the environment. Nigel Dudley will have a presentation on the benefits and values of the protected areas in the region, while Erica Stanciu will share with participants her knowledge of the protected areas in the EU context. Wilf Fenten from Europarc Consulting will hold a presentation and training on sustainable tourism.
One day before the end of conference, participants will visit the National Park Kozara, where they will be greeted by director of the park Dragan Romčević. “I am pleased that we host this important conference, which allows us to meet colleagues who work in similar positions in other protected areas. We will exchange experiences and introduce to each other our parks so that we could work together more easily and successfully function within a large network of Dinaric Arc parks,” concluded Romčević.
Project “Dinaric Arc Parks” will last for three years.
Contact: Petra Boić Petrač, Regional Communications Officer WWF Mediterranean program, +385 91 2905 976; firstname.lastname@example.org