“Existing Instruments and Programmes
and a Carpathian Sector Analysis”
Intended for the Negotiation Process
Carpathian Framework Convention
Mag. Elisabeth Samec
Vienna, December 2002
1. Executive Summary 3
2. Introduction 5
2.1. Objective of the Paper and Methodology 6
3. Description of the Region 7
3.1. Geographical Location 7
3.2. Geology, Hydrology and Climate 7
3.3. Biodiversity and Socio-Economic Features in a Nutshell 8
3.4. The Region – Main Challenges and Opportunities 9
4. Overview of Existing Instruments, Programmes and
Projects Relevant for the Carpathian Mountains 10
International Conventions and Other Legal Instruments 10
At the Global Level 10
At the Pan-European and Regional Level 14
Regional European Legal Instruments of the European Union 17
Programmatic Activities 18
At the Global Level 18
At the Pan-European and Regional Level 19
Transboundary Cooperation 23
At the National Level 24
Countries (Programmes and Projects) 24
Regional Projects 26
5. Sector Analysis 27
5.1. Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological and Landscape Diversity 27
5.2. Local Development and Territorial Planning 29
5.3. Integrated Water / River Basin Management 31
5.4. Agriculture & Rural Development 33
5.5. Forestry 35
5.6. Transport and Infrastructure 38
5.7. Tourism 40
5.8. Renewable Energy and Cleaner Production 42
5.9. Environmental Assessment / Monitoring and Early Warning 44
5.10. Cultural Heritage and Indigenous Knowledge 47
5.11. Awareness Raising, Education and Public Participation 48
6. Joining the European Union – the Accession Process 51
7. Conclusions 55
8. General Recommendations 57
9. Glossary 58
10. Bibliography 59
11. Websites 61
1. Executive Summary
Biodiversity loss is a significant global problem; the Carpathian Mountains are no exception. These
mountains arch majestically across Central and Eastern Europe, crossing nine national borders, as well
as the future boundary of the EU. They are Europe´s largest mountain chain in terms of size, home to
remarkable wildlife and a multitude of people. Known as “Kingdom of Carnivores” the region supports
viable populations of large carnivores (bear, wolf and lynx), contains the last virgin forests in Europe
(except Russia), and harbours more than one third of all European plant species.
People living in the Carpathians have to deal with harsh socio-economic conditions, like lack of
infrastructure, geographical isolation, high unemployment rates and poverty, political and economical
marginality, and climatic hardship. The region is facing challenges due to the transition from
Communism to a free market economy. The European enlargement process is also ongoing and has
major implications for the development of the region. Joining the EU offers both challenges and
opportunities. Despite many efforts during the past, the loss of biodiversity has continued due to habitat
fragmentation or destruction, over-harvesting, pollution, inappropriate management methods, etc.
Against this background, the idea to prepare a legal framework for the Carpathians has been developed
by some Eastern European countries in order to ensure the conservation and a sustainable future for
the region. The proposed Framework Convention - having a high-level political support - should be
based on the example of the Alpine Convention, incorporating the lessons learned in Western Europe
and adapting it to the Carpathian needs and circumstances. The objective of this paper is to evaluate
whether a proposed Carpathian Convention would overlap with existing Instruments / agreements /
arrangements or if it would offer an added value for the countries in the region. The main questions to
be answered are “do we re-invent the wheel in proposing a new convention? What would be the
benefits having a Carpathian Convention in place?
Generally, approaches to stop biodiversity loss have so far not been adequate. Despite, having so many
instruments in place, we are still losing biodiversity worldwide. Often the driving forces are too complex
and underlying socio-economic factors and their root causes are not understood. The future for the
Carpathian region is challenging. This region in transition is facing several difficulties and threats.
Specifically in the light of EU accession, the increasing integration with Western Europe and the
liberalization of markets, governments have to take the responsibility to steer the development towards
a sustainable future.
Conditions in the various parts of the Carpathian Mountains vary widely in terms of economic and social
aspects. Therefore, it would be wrong to generalize and to simplistically transfer the Alpine Convention
to Eastern Europe. The different conditions in each of the countries should be taken into account and
solutions should be tailored to specific local needs and circumstances, while cross-referencing with
international experience is necessary and valuable. It is also clear that mountain areas need a
differentiated approach towards sustainable development.
The region is covered by numerous Multi Environmental Agreements (MEA) but lack of implementation
is often being reported. Most existing instruments are seen in isolation, if implemented only on a
national or local level, not looking at integration between policies and/or sectors. Generally, there is poor
coordination, only limited cooperation and sever financial constraints. A Convention on the protection
and sustainable development of the transboundary mountain ecosystems of the Carpathians could
provide some added values. The sectors most relevant in this context are biodiversity, sustainable local
development and tourism. Specifically in those sectors, a legal framework would bring additional
benefits. Furthermore, the Carpathian Framework could:
• be a permanent framework for cooperation
• enhance implementation of existing instruments
• stimulate partnerships & attract donors
• prevent rather than cure
• foster integration & coordination between sectors
Summarizing the outcomes of this background paper, the proposed Carpathian Framework Convention
could foster cooperation, help in harmonization, strengthen integration and it would place the
Carpathians within a holistic development perspective. The process to negotiate a new convention, to
establish a Secretariat and the implementation will require financial resources. These additional costs
and accompanying bureaucracy have to be weighed against the potential benefits. A Convention by
itself can never be a miracle cure. This clearly will require strong political will for implementation, as well
as a range of programmatic activities supporting the Convention’s provision.
In April 2001, the Summit on Environment and Sustainable Development in the Carpathian and Danube
Region was held in Bucharest, Romania. This event was specifically devoted to environmental
conservation, restoration, and sustainable development in the Carpathian region and in the Danube
River Basin. One of the outcomes of this Heads of State Meeting was the request by the Ministry of
Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine to the United Nations Environment Programme –
Regional Office for Europe (UNEP/ROE) to support and service a regional cooperation process, aiming
at addressing the regional needs for sustainable mountain development, and to identify appropriate
solutions. After preparatory work by UNEP/ROE, the issue of the protection and sustainable
management of the Carpathian mountain ecosystems was the topic of an informal expert meeting
hosted by the Government of Ukraine in Kyiv in November 2001.
As a follow-up the Italian Government invited the delegations of seven Carpathian countries and
selected NGOs for the international meeting “Sharing the Experience – Sustainable Mountain
Development in the Carpathians and in the Alps”, which was held in Bolzano between June 17-19,
2002. This meeting gave the opportunity to the Presidency of the Alpine Convention and to various
experts who have been involved in the Convention´s development and implementation to highlight their
experiences in this most advanced regional mountain initiative. This, it was hoped, would allow
Carpathian countries to apply best practice examples of regional cooperation, and to even better tackle
comparable challenges that have been experienced in the Alps in respect to the implementation of the
Alpine Convention. The Bolzano Meeting recommended the development of a Carpathian Framework
Convention, recognizing the Alpine Convention as a potential model of regional cooperation. The
meeting also identified sustainable tourism development and the local sustainable development as
being amongst the priorities of cooperation.
The Berchtesgaden Workshop “The Alpine Experience – An Approach for other Mountain Regions?”
was another opportunity to present the Carpathian cooperation as an example for regional mountain
development initiatives. His Excellency Sergei Kurykin, Ukrainian Minister for Environment and Natural
Resources, chaired the regional workshop on the Carpathian Mountains. The participants of this high-
level workshop passed the so-called “Berchtesgaden Declaration” containing 10 principles of regional
cooperation and the “Berchtesgaden Recommendations”.
As further recommended by the Bolzano Meeting, the Government of Ukraine with the support of the
Government of Italy, highlighted the Carpathian Convention initiative in the context of the International
Partnership for Sustainable Development of Mountain Regions at the World Summit for Sustainable
Development in Johannesburg, on August 27, 2002.
The second inter-governmental expert meeting for the protection and sustainable development of the
Carpathians was hosted by the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein in Vaduz on October 14-
15, 2002. This was the first time, when detailed discussion and negotiations have been held on the draft
text of the Carpathian Convention proposed by the Ukraine Government. Furthermore, the future steps
have been outlined. Outcomes and progress of the Vaduz Meeting have also been presented to the
Bishkek Global Mountain Summit (BGMS) by the end of October this year. Other opportunities to
present the Alpine-Carpathian Partnership were the Permanent Committee of the Alpine Convention
(Bolzano, November 17-18, 2002) and the Alpine Ministerial Conference, which took place in Merano on
November 19-20, 2002.
The Carpathian cooperation and the progress on development of a Carpathian Framework Convention
will be on the agenda of the Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe”, Kyiv, May 2003.
2.1. Objective of the Paper and Methodology
The idea to develop a new instrument is not undisputable. One might argue, there is already a
proliferation of conventions and activities tackling biodiversity and related issues, but a lack of
implementation is evident. Adequately enforced, no additional instrument would be needed. The
question is ”would a new instrument be an overlap with already existing instruments or would it be an
added value, providing new opportunities?” Therefore, the main objective of this document is to explore
existing instruments and to look at some socio-economic sectors relevant for the Carpathians,
specifically those that have a proven negative impact on biodiversity. It will also discuss which
instruments and programmes do already address these sectors and investigate, if there are any benefits
in developing a new convention.
The introduction gives a summary about the history and the current negotiation process in the context of
a Carpathian Convention, followed by a short description of the region. Another chapter gives an
overview about existing instruments, conventions and other legally binding instruments, as well as
programmatic activities on the global, regional and local level, which have relevance in this respect.
Furthermore, the document contains a short sector analysis. Specifically those socio-economic sectors
will be looked at which have a direct link to the environment and their potential to affect biodiversity loss
will be discussed. For each of the sectors a general introduction with respect to mountain development
is given and an examination at the situation in the Carpathians, including the trends and threats, is
produced. Existing instruments addressing this sector are discussed, and positive examples from other
mountain regions are highlighted. The section presents what benefits a convention would bring, if any,
and some key recommendations for each sector. Finally, conclusions and general recommendations are
This paper is not a scientific document containing scientific and statistical data. It is a collection of
background information from existing publications, unpublished papers, the World Wide Web, meeting
protocols, conference presentations and personal, verbal information. It should provide food for new
thoughts and stimulate discussions and dialogue. The document has been presented at as a draft paper
during the Vaduz Meeting in October 2002. Participants of most of the Carpathian countries and UNEP
staff have given written comments on it. The author has incorporated those comments,
recommendations and suggestions and the final document will be presented during the third negotiation
meeting scheduled for December 19-20, 2002 in Geneva.
The author wishes to thank all those who are actively participating in the process of the development of
a legal framework for the Carpathians. Appreciation is expressed to all for acting in such a constructive,
fruitful and motivating way, showing a high level of commitment during all the negotiation meetings.
Special thanks to all involved parties, such as government representatives, participants from NGOs and
other national and international organizations for all their comments and valuable inputs to this
document. Furthermore, the author wants to acknowledge UNEP´s facilitating role in this negotiation
process, which led to the already existent draft text for the Carpathian Framework Convention. The draft
convention text and this document would not have been possible without the financial support from
several Western European Governments.
3. Description of the Region
3.1. Geographical Location
The Carpathian Mountains cover an area of 209.256 square kilometers (an equivalent to nearly five
times the size of Switzerland – an area larger than the Alps) and extend into eight countries in Central
and Eastern Europe. More than the half of its range lies in Romania (see Figure 1). Countries involved,
their total size, the percentage of the Carpathians and population figures are shown in Table 1.
300 0 300 ilom
600 K eters
Carpathians According to Kondracki
Figure 1. Geographical map of the Carpathians
Countries Total Size Total Share of Area of Carpathians
of Countries Population Carpathians within Countries
Km2 Millions % %
Romania 237.500 22,36 55,19 47,4
Slovak Republic 48.845 5,41 17,17 71,7
Ukraine 603.700 48,76 10,60 3,6
Poland 312.685 38,63 9,63 6,3
Hungary 93.030 10,10 3,78 8,3
Czech Republic 78.866 10,26 3,28 8,5
Austria 83.858 8,15 < 0,5 0,5
FR Yugoslavia 102.173 10,67 < 0,5 0,4
Table 1. Carpathian countries, their total size in square kilometers, population figures, the share of the Carpathians
and the area of Carpathian Mountains within each country in percentage
3.2. Geology, Hydrology and Climate
This mountain range was formed during the early Tertiary area and is the result of millions of years of
rock movement, erosion and glacial processes. Flysch formations and minor parts with some limestone
and granite characterize the Carpathians. Altitudes are varying between 300 and 2.655 meters above
sea level with the highest peak Gerlach in the High Tatras in Slovakia. However, less than 5 per cent of
the Carpathians extends beyond the tree line; therefore, the area covered by alpine environment is
The Carpathians as a whole are a large precipitation catchments area. It is estimated that precipitation
in this mountain range is twice as high as in the surrounding areas. This is of great importance for water
supply. As much as one third of water outflow into the Vistula River derive from the Carpathian
tributaries. More than 80 per cent of water reserves of Romania (excluding the Danube) come from the
Carpathians and in Ukraine, this value totals approximately 40 per cent. An example of climate statistics
is shown in Table 2. (Witkowski, 1999).
Climate type Climate character Mean annual temperature Altitude (m.a.s.l.)
-2 to C 2200-2655
Nivale Medium cold 0 to -2 o C 1850-2200
Very cool 2 to 0 oC 1550-1850
Cool 4 to 2 oC 1150-1550
Moderate cool 6 to 4 oC 750-1150
Moderate warm 8 to 6 oC 280-750
Warm sub-montane > 8 oC < 280
Table 2. Climatic characteristics of northern part of the Carpathians (the Tatra Mountains)
3.3. Biodiversity and Socio-Economic Features in a Nutshell
The Carpathian Mountains – as a major ecosystem representing a complex and interrelated ecology –
are an important natural resource, providing water, biological diversity, energy, minerals, forest and
agricultural products. The natural diversity of this mountain range is of vital importance in the European
context and of global significance. The Carpathians are Europe's last region (outside Russia) to support
vast tracks of virgin forest, as well as the largest populations of Brown bears, wolves, lynx, and
European bison. Approximately 45 per cent of Europe’s wolf populations — a species that has been
exterminated in nearly all Western and Central European countries can be found here. On a continent
where 40 per cent of mammals are under threat of extinction, this region offers one of the last
opportunities for re-populating large carnivores throughout Europe. Furthermore, these mountains are
home to many plant species that are found nowhere else in the world and many threatened and
endangered species. Crucially, the Carpathians form the bridge between Europe´s forests in the north
and those in the south and west, building a vital corridor for dispersal and interaction of plants and
animals, and are probably the only corridor for genetic exchange for its wolf population. Finally, it should
not be forgotten that the region is characterized by an enormous cultural diversity. This multi-ethnic and
multi-cultural mountain range offers unique examples of traditional crafts, folklore, music, architectures,
Mountains are generally fragile ecosystems that are highly vulnerable to human impacts. After
Communism, the countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are entering a period of radical
economic and social changes that already have and will have enormous impacts, specifically on the
natural resource use in the region. At present, there is a transition from the politically centralized and
controlled system to a free market economy, the development of the civil society and increasing
integration with Western Europe and accession to the European Union. For approximately 18 million
people this will bring major changes. Despite many efforts during the past, the high biodiversity of the
Carpathians is increasingly threatened by habitat fragmentation or destruction, industrial or accidental
pollution, over-harvesting, land restitutions, deforestation, intensification of agriculture, new
developments in tourism and transport, inappropriate management methods, as well as increased
poverty due to drastic economic changes since transition. In addition, the Carpathians’ current protected
areas system is not sufficient in scale or management effectiveness to protect the region's biodiversity.
3.4. The Region – Main Challenges and Opportunities
The future changes in the region have different origins – from local to global. These include increasing
poverty in mountain communities, impacts of European-wide decisions in Brussels and related pre-
accession funds, negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and international finance
institutions, such as the World Bank and Development Banks. The challenges for conservation are
It is important to recognize that there are differences between the countries or even discrepancies within
countries, for example in the tourism sectors. Parts of the region, such as the northwestern part (mainly
the north of Slovakia), are facing heavy pressures from tourism on their natural resources. On the
contrary, in the southeast of the Carpathians, tourism is very low and Romania would be eager to
increase their visitor numbers in the mountain areas. Although there are varying trends in the different
countries and different sectors, one cannot generalize, it is of major importance to look also at the
regional level in order to find effective solutions.
Issues of importance include the decline in rural economies as mountain villages face “out-migration” of
young people and low investments, new developments through the introduction of a market economy,
specifically related to new infrastructure projects, growing tourism, etc., as well as the enlargement
process, or the changes in attitudes and the growth of civil society. All these developments and activities
can have disastrous impacts. Those impacts will not have only negative effects on biodiversity, but also
to people living in the region who are dependent on the use of natural resources. The above-mentioned
developments should not be viewed as purely negative from a conservation point of view – the
challenge is to guide these trends in a sustainable direction.
Looking at the Alps, there are many similarities between those two mountain ranges. More or less the
equal size, both stretch over several countries, fulfilling important ecological functions and are vital
catchment areas. Both mountain systems are also showing high biodiversity and endemism, and the
Alps and Carpathians are home to many different cultures and both are facing human pressure on
The Alpine Convention is the only convention dedicated to the protection of mountains currently in
effect. Several aspects of the Alpine Convention could serve as an example for the conservation and
sustainable development in the Carpathian region. Lessons can be learned, leading to more efficiency
of such regional instruments. A positive example is the Alpine Network of Protected Areas that has been
created between the administrations of alpine protected territories (13 national parks, and many nature
parks, biosphere reserves, etc.). This network has been recognized by the Alpine Conference as an
official tool for implementing the Alpine Convention. On the other hand, when one looks at certain
sectors, such as tourism or transport, – although they are important economic factors for all of Alpine
countries –, they present enormous problems in this Western European mountain system, e.g. transit
routes in the Alps. In the Carpathians, the anthropogenic pressure is still lower than in the Alps,
therefore there is the opportunity for prevention and sustainable development to avoid the mistakes
made in the Alps. The main challenge for the future is to prevent, rather than to cure. Although each of
the mountain systems has its own specifity, we don´t have to re-invent the wheel. Let´s look at the
strength and the weaknesses of the Alpine Convention, take the positive examples, adapt them to the
situation of the Eastern European conditions, and use the lessons learned from the problematic sectors,
so that conservation and sustainable development can go hand in hand.
4. Overview of Existing Instruments, Programmes and Projects Relevant
for the Carpathian Mountains
International Conventions and Other International Legal Instruments
Coding system: acp = acceptance, acs = accession, apv = approval, rtf = ratification, Sc = succession,
S = notification of succession, 1 = in process of preparation for ratification, 2 = succession to signature,
(x) = signed, but not ratified, (Ds) = declaration of succession
At the Global Level
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – UNEP Secretariat
Countries Signed At the 1992 Earth Summit in Río de Janeiro,
CZ 1993 1993 apv world leaders agreed on a comprehensive
HU 1992 1994 rtf strategy for sustainable development. One of
PL 1992 1996 rtf the key agreements adopted at Rio was the
RO 1992 1994 rtf CBD with the three main goals: conservation of
SK 1993 1994 apv biological diversity, sustainable use of its
UA 1992 1995 rtf components and fair and equitable sharing of
FRY 1992 2002 rtf the benefits from the use of genetic resources.
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety – UNEP Secretariat
Countries Signed A supplementary agreement to the CBD
CZ 2000 2001 rtf adopted in Montreal in 2002. It seeks to protect
HU 2000 - biodiversity from the potential risks posed by
PL 2000 - living modified organisms resulting from modern
RO 2000 - biotechnology. The protocol contains reference
SK 2000 - to the precautionary approach and reaffirms the
UA - - precaution language of the Río Declaration on
FRY - - Environment and Development.
The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage –
UNESCO/World Heritage Center (Source: www.whc.unesco.org/wldrat.htm)
Countries Signed The General Conference of UNESCO adopted
CZ 1993 S the World Heritage Convention in Paris in
HU 1985 acp 1972. To date, more than 170 countries have
PL 1976 rtf adhered to the Convention, making it one of the
RO 1990 acp most universal international legal instruments
SK 1993 S for the protection of the cultural and natural
UA 1988 rtf heritage.
FRY 2001 S
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat –
Secretariat / Ramsar Bureau (Source: www.ramsar.org/key_cp_e.htm,
Countries Entry into force The Ramsar Convention was adopted in the
CZ 1990 acs 1993 Iranian city Ramsar in 1971, coming into force
HU 1979 acs 1979 in 1975. The mission is the conservation and
PL 1972 acs 1978 wise use of wetlands by national action and
RO - 1991 international cooperation as a means to
SK - 1993 achieving sustainable development throughout
UA - 1991 the world. The number of sites designated to
FRY 1977 rtf 1977 date is 1229.
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) –
UNEP/CMS Secretariat (Source: www.wcmc.org.uk/cms)
Countries Entry into force The Bonn Convention aims to conserve
CZ 1994 terrestrial, marine, and avian migratory species
HU 1983 throughout their range. Since its agreement in
PL 1996 1979 and its entry into force in 1983, its
RO 1998 membership has grown steadily to include 80
SK 1995 Parties from all continents. Eight agreements
UA 1999 have been concluded to date.
Under the Bonn Convention: Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory
Waterbirds (AEWA) – UNEP/AEWA Secretariat (Source: www.wcmc.org.uk/cms)
Countries Entry into force The largest agreement under the CMS was
CZ - concluded in The Hague in 1995. The
HU - agreement provides for coordinated and
PL - concerted actions to be taken by signatory
RO 1998 states throughout the migration routes of
SK 1995 waterbirds. The main objective is to maintain in,
UA 1999 (x) or to restore to a favorable conservation status
FRY - of 172 species of migratory waterbirds.
Under the Bonn Convention: Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats –
UNEP/EUROBATS Secretariat (Source: www.wcmc.org.uk/cms)
Countries Entry into force EUROBATS was agreed in London (1991) and
CZ 1994 at present, there are 26 signatory Parties. It
HU 1983 aims to address threats to 37 bat species and
PL 1996 tries to achieve and maintain a favorable
RO 1998 conservation status of bat populations. Further,
SK 1995 it aims to counteract the threat posed to these
UA 1999 species from habitat degradation, disturbance
FRY - to roosting sites and certain pesticides.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora –
CITES Secretariat (Source: www.cites.org/eng/parties/index.shtml)
Countries Entry into force CITES is an international agreement between
CZ 1993 (Ds) 1993 Governments. It´s aim is to ensure that
HU 1985 acs 1985 international trade in specimens of wild animals
PL 1989 rtf 1990 and plants does not threaten their survival. The
RO 1994 acs 1994 text of the Convention was finally agreed in
SK 1993 (Ds) 1993 Washington D.C. in 1973. CITES now covers
UA 1999 acs 2000 some 30.000 plant and animal species and has
FRY 2001 rtf 2002 more than 160 Parties.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – UN Secretariat
Countries Signed Entry into force The text of the Convention was adopted at the
CZ 1993 1993 apv 1994 U.N. Headquarters in New York 1992. It was
HU 1992 1994 rtf 1994 one of the five documents finalized during the
PL 1992 1994 rtf 1994 UN Conference on Environment and
RO 1992 1994 rtf 1994 Development in Rio de Janeiro. The Climate
SK 1993 1994 apv 1994 Convention aims to reduce emissions of
UA 1992 1997 rtf 1997 greenhouse gases.
FRY - 2001 2001
Under the Climate Convention: the Kyoto Protocol – UN Secretariat
Countries Signed The text of the Protocol to the UNFCCC was
CZ 1998 2001 apv adopted at the 3rd session of the Conference of
HU - 2002 acs Parties in Kyoto, Japan in 1997. It was open for
PL 1998 - signature until March 1999 at the UN
RO 1999 2001 rtf Headquarters and had received 84 signatures
SK 1999 2002 rtf by that date. Those Parties that have not yet
UA 1999 - signed may accede to it at any time.
FRY - -
Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer – Ozone Secretariat of UNEP
Countries Signed The objective of the Vienna Convention is to
CZ - 1993 Sc protect human health and the environment
HU - 1988 acs against adverse effects resulting from
PL - 1990 acs modifications of the ozone layer. It was adopted
RO - 1993 acs in Vienna in 1985. The Parties are encouraged
SK - 1993 Sc to cooperate in research related to this topic
UA 1985 1986 acp and in the formulation and implementation of
FRY - 2001 measures.
Under the Vienna Convention, there are several Agreements: the Montreal Protocol on Substances
that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1987); The London Amendment to the Montreal Protocol (1990); the
Copenhagen Amendment to the Montreal Protocol (1992); the Montreal Amendment to the Montreal
Protocol (1997); and the Beijing Amendment to the Montreal Protocol (1999).
Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) – UNECE Secretariat
Countries Signed Since its adoption in 1979, the Geneva
CZ - 1993 Sc Convention has addressed some of the major
HU 1979 1980 rtf environmental problems in the UNECE region.
PL 1979 1985rtf It provides an institutional framework linking
RO 1979 1991 rtf science and policy. Since its entry into force in
SK - 1993 Sc 1983, it has been extended by eight protocols
UA 1979 1980 rtf and has at present 49 Parties.
FRY - 2001 Sc
Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes
– Secretariat?? (Source: www.unece.org/env/water/status/lega_wc.htm)
Countries Signed rtf, apv, acp, acs The Helsinki or Water Convention, signed in
CZ - 2000 Helsinki in 1992, is intended to strengthen
HU 1992 1994 national measures for the protection and
PL 1992 2000 ecologically sound management of trans-
RO 1992 1995 boundary surface waters and groundwater. It
SK - 1999 obliges Parties to prevent, control and reduce
UA - 1999 water pollution. It also includes provisions for
FRY - - monitoring, research, warning systems and
public access to information.
Under the Water Convention, the Protocol on Water and Health was adopted in London in 1999.
Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements and Deposition of Hazardous Wastes –
UNEP Secretariat (Source: www.basel.int/ratif/ratif.html)
Countries In its first decade, the Basel Convention
CZ 1993 Sc (adopted in 1989), was devoted to setting up a
HU 1990 apv framework for controlling “transboundary”
PL 1992 rtf movements of hazardous waste. Criteria for
RO 1991 acs environmentally sound management have been
SK 1993 acs developed and a controlling system was put
UA 1999 acs into place. Now emphasis lies on
FRY 2000 implementation and enforcement.
In addition, for three countries there are ratifications of the Ban Amendment: CZ (2000), RO (2002) and
SK (1998). Furthermore, only one country from the region has signed the Basel Protocol on Liability
and Compensation, Hungary in the year 2000.
Energy Charter Treaty – Brussel Secretariat
(Source: www.encharter.org, www.encharter/index.jsp)
Countries Signed The importance of energy efficiency and the
CZ 1996 relation to a cleaner environment were
HU 1998 underlined in the European Energy Charter. In
PL 2001 1994, the Energy Charter Treaty was adopted
RO 1997 in Lisboa. Each Contracting Party strives to
SK 1995 minimize, in an economically efficient manner,
UA 1998 harmful environmental impacts coming from all
FRY - operations within the energy cycle in its area.
The Energy Charter Treaty and the Energy Charter Protocol on Energy Efficiency and Related
Environmental Aspects came into force in 1998. It is a specific legally binding instrument in the area of
energy efficiency, establishing governmental requirements in the areas of policies and programmes
formulation and implementation. A permanent small Secretariat for all treaties and protocols related to
the promotion of sustainable energy use was established in Brussels.
Stockholm Convention on Persistant Organic Pollutants (POPs) – UN Headquarter, Treaty Section
Countries Signed The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty
CZ 2001 2002 rtf (May 2001) to protect human health and the
HU 2001 - environment from persistent organic pollutants.
PL 2001 - POPs are chemicals that remain intact in the
RO 2001 - environment for long periods, become widely
SK 2001 2002 rtf distributed geographically accumulate in the
UA 2001 - fatty tissue of living organisms and are toxic to
FRY 2002 - humans and wildlife. Measures will be taken to
eliminate or reduce the release of POPs.
At the Pan-European and Regional Level
Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats – Council of Europe
Countries Signed Entry into force Also, know as Bern Convention, as signed
CZ 1997 1998 rtf 1998 there in 1979. An important instrument for the
HU - 1989 acs 1990 protection of wildlife and natural habitats, the
PL 1995 1995 rtf 1996 Convention has 45 Contracting Parties today. It
RO - 1993 acs 1993 includes help for implementation (technical
SK 1994 1996 rtf 1997
assistance on legal and scientific issues) and
UA 1998 1999 rtf 1999
the setting up of the Emerald Network, as well
FRY - - -
as work on monitoring and control of threatened
The Emerald Network
The first list was launched in June 1989. This is a network of Areas of Special Conservation Interests
(ASCIs), which is to be established in the territory of the Contracting Parties and the Observer States
of the Bern Convention, including among others, Central and Eastern European countries and the EU
Member States. For the later, Emerald Network sites are those of the Natura 2000 Network.
European Landscape Convention – Council of Europe
Countries Signed The Convention was signed in Florence in
CZ 2002 - 2000. It requires Parties to recognize the
HU - - importance and value of landscapes and to
PL 2001 - reconcile commercial consideration with the
RO 2000 - right to well-being, health, aesthetics and
SK - - beauty. Furthermore, it stresses the importance
UA - - of people´s participation in decision-making on
FRY - - landscape protection and management.
Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents – UNECE Environment and
Human Settlements Division (Source: www.unece.org/env/teia/signat.htm)
Countries Signed Parties In Helsinki (1992), 26 countries and the
CZ - 2000 European Commission signed this Convention.
HU 1992 1994 The objective is to protect human beings and
PL 1992 - the environment against industrial accidents
RO - - capable of causing transboundary effects and
SK - - to promote international cooperation between
UA - - the Contracting Parties before, during and after
FRY - - such accidents.
Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (EIA) – Secretariat
in Geneva (Source: www.unece.org/env/eia)
Countries Signed Ratification This Convention was signed in Espoo in 1991
CZ 1993 2 2001 stipulates the obligations of Parties to assess
HU 1991 1997 the environmental impact of certain activities at
PL 1991 1997 an early stage of planning. It also lays down the
RO 1991 2001 general obligations of States to notify and
SK 1993 2 1999 consult each other on all major project that are
UA 1991 1999 likely to have a significant adverse
FRY - - environmental impact across boundaries.
Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to
Justice in Environmental Matters – UNECE Aarhus Secretariat in Geneva
Countries Signed The Aarhus Convention (called after the
CZ 1998 - Danish city where it was adopted in 1998)
HU 1998 2001 rtf seeks to strengthen the role of the public and
PL 1998 2002 rtf environmental organizations in protecting and
RO 1998 2000 rtf improving the environment for the benefit of
SK - - future generations. It’s an example of a new
UA 1998 1999 rtf environmental agreement, linking environment
FRY - - and human rights.
Convention on the Protection of the Alps
The Alpine Convention was signed in 1991 and entered into force 1995. It requires its contracting
Parties (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Switzerland and the European
Community) to pursue a comprehensive policy for the preservation and protection of the Alps through
the application of the principles of prevention, payment by the polluter and cooperation. The Convention
is mentioned here, as it could serve as a model for the Carpathian Convention.
Convention on Cooperation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the River Danube –
International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River Basin (ICPDR)
Countries Signed In Sofia (1994), eleven of the Danube Riparian
CZ States and the EU signed the Danube River
HU 1994 Protection Convention, aiming at achieving
PL sustainable and equitable water management in
RO 1994 the Danube basin. The signatories have agreed
SK - to cooperate in the protection of water and
UA - ecological resources, and the sustainable water
FRY - - use, pollution reduction and control.
Regional European Legal Instruments of the European Union
The following section is not a comprehensive list of legal instruments of the European Union, but
contains only some selected Directives and Regulations relevant for Eastern European countries.
Each of the EU Member States is setting up a coherent European Ecological Network of Special Areas
of Conservation (SAC) under the title of Natura 2000. It is a legally binding obligation. The network
covers the European territory and coastal waters of the 15 EU Member States. This network, composed
of sites hosting the natural habitat types and species listed in the Habitat Directive Annex I and II, will
enable the natural types, and the species´ habitats concerned to be maintained or, where appropriate,
restored to a favorable conservation status.
• “Habitat Directive” Directive 92/43/EEC concerning the Conservation of Habitats and Wild
Fauna and Flora
• “Bird Directive” Directive 79/409/EEC and Resolution of the European Community Council on
Wild Bird Conservation –
Council Regulation No. 2078/92/EEC on agricultural production methods compatible with the
requirements of the protection of the environment and the maintenance of the countryside.
“Water Framework Directive”
Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for
Community action in the field of water policy.
Directive 2001/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the deliberate release into the
environment of genetically modified organisms.
Harmonisation Status of Local Legislation and Administrative Arrangements with EU Directives
and Regulations with Respect to Forests (June 2002)
C – completed; P – pending; n.a. – information not available
Harmonization Status Countries
CZ HU PL RO SK
Council Directive on the marketing of forest reproductive
material (EEC/105/1999) C n.a. C P P
Council Regulation on protection of the Community's forests
against forest fire (EEC/92/2158) C P C P C
Council Regulation on protection of the Community's forests
against atmospheric pollution (EEC/86/3528) C C C P C
Council Regulation on establishment of a European Forestry
Information and Communication System (EFICS) (EEC/89/1615) P P C P P
Council Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of
wild fauna and flora (EEC/43/92) and Council Directive on the
conservation of wild birds (EEC/409/79) P P C P P
Development of technical and environmental standards for
forest products C P C P P
At the Global Level
Agenda 21 – United Nations Conference for Environment and Development (UNCED)
This well-known conference, held in Río de Janeiro in 1992, focused the world´s attention on the need
to promote environmentally sustainable development. The Agenda 21 – one of the five documents
finalized during the conference – sets out a comprehensive programme of action for achieving
sustainable development, sector by sector. This 800 pages document was potentially the most
significant outcome of the Río conference, and possibly the most complex document ever negotiated at
an international conference. A Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created to ensure
effective follow-up of UNCED and to monitor and report on implementation of the Earth Summit
Global 200 – WWF
The Global 200 identifies the richest areas of the world containing assemblages of all the Earth´s
diverse biodiversity natural habitats. It is based on the principle that only by conserving representative
examples of all the world´s ecosystems, can we protect the broadest array of species and maintain the
complex ecological and evolutionary processes that make up the web of life. The comprehensive scope
of the Global 200 makes it an ambitious programme. Priority ecoregions stretch across every continent
and ocean basis. Nearly half of the terrestrial ecoregions are critical endangered by the direct impact of
International Association for Biological Standardization – World Health Organization
Nowadays known as the International Association for Biologicals, this organization organizes
international meetings, which confront the numerous practical problems involved in standardization of
biologicals and bring together researchers, manufacturers, public health authorities and government
International Conduct Code Concerning the Pesticide Distribution and Utilization – FAO
This code was developed to address a number of difficulties associated with the use of pesticides in
developing countries where adequate regulatory infrastructures are frequently lacking. The code was
adopted by FAO member countries, and the objectives of the code are to set forth responsibilities and
establish voluntary standards of conduct for all public and private entities. It also suggests how to
distribute the responsibilities between governments, industry and others.
Man and Biosphere Programme – MAB / UNESCO
This Programme develops the basis, within the natural and social sciences, for the sustainable use and
conservation of biological diversity, and for the improvement of the relationship between people and
their environment globally. It encourages interdisciplinary research, demonstration and training in
natural resource management. MAB contributes to greater involvement of science in policy development
concerning the wise use f biological diversity.
TRAFFIC was founded in the mid-1970s largely to assist in the implementation of CITES. The network
has developed its role in addressing wildlife trade issues in a wider context, including major commercial
sectors such as fisheries and timber trade and a wide range of regional and local issues. The trade is
diverse, ranging from live animals for the food and pet markets to ornamental plants and timber. An
array of wildlife products and derivatives, such as food, exotic leather goods, musical instruments and
even medicines, are found in markets around the globe.
World Conservation Strategy and the Subsequent Strategy for Sustainable Living
(Caring for the Earth) – IUCN / UNEP / WWF
The World Conservation Strategy was elaborated in 1980. It emphasized that humanity has no future,
unless nature and natural resources are conserved. In this document the connection between
conservation and development was highlighted and it was the first time the term “sustainable
development“ has been used. Ten years later the same organizations published “Caring for the Earth”.
The aim of this strategy is to help improve the condition of the world´s people, by defining two
requirements. One is to secure a widespread and deeply held commitment to a new ethic, the ethic of
sustainable living, and to translate the principle into practice. The other is to integrate conservation and
development: conservation to keep our actions within the Earth´s capacity, and development to enable
people everywhere to enjoy long, healthy and fulfilling lives.
At the Pan-European and Regional Level
“Environment for Europe“ – UNECE / EU / UNEP / IUCN
The “Environment for Europe“ process remains an essential political framework for cooperation on
environmental protection in Europe. It regularly brings together Environment Ministers at Pan-European
conferences to formulate environmental policies. In addition, this process is open to all organizations
and institutions working in the field of environment, including NGOs. The start of a Pan-European
approach was in Dobris, Czech Republic in 1991. The second conference was held in Lucerne,
Switzerland, in 1993. Here a Declaration, set out the political dimension of the process, aiming at
harmonizing environmental quality and policies on the continent, and to secure its peace, stability and
sustainable development. 1995 in Sofia, Bulgaria, the Pan-European Biological and Landscape
Diversity Strategy was endorsed. The forth-ministerial conference held in Aarhus (1998), acknowledged
the progress made in implementing PEBLDS, reaffirmed the importance of the strategy and launched
the Strategy Guide. The next conference is planned to be held in Kyiv in May 2003.
Pan-European Biological and Landscapes Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS) – Council of Europe
The Strategy establishes an international framework for cooperation for consolidating and extending
existing schemes and programmes in the conservation field. PEBLDS presents an innovative and
proactive approach to stop and reverse the degradation of biological and landscape diversity values in
Europe. Endorsed at the 3rd Ministerial Conference “An Environment for Europe” held in Sofia in 1995, it
concerns 54 countries of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Together with the
Council of Europe, UNEP's Regional Office for Europe acts as the Secretariat of the Pan-European
Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy, which, inter alia, forms the framework for implementing
biodiversity-related conventions, in particular, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in Europe.
UNEP/ROE initiated and manages a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the CBD
(Secretariat) and the PEBLDS (Secretariat), containing a programme aimed at harmonizing the work
under CBD and PEBLDS and making it mutually supportive. The principal aim of the Strategy is to
ensure the sustainability of the natural environment. Special emphasis is given on concerted European
action under the Convention on Biological Diversity. National authorities, donors, international
organizations, NGOs, the research community and the public, are implementing the Strategy. The
twenty-year time span of the Strategy consists of five-year action plans.
Pan-European Ecological Network (PEEN) – UNEP, Council of Europe
One of the most important means through which the Pan-European Biological and Landscapes Diversity
Strategy is being implemented is the establishment of the Pan-European Ecological Network. In 1995,
PEEN was established and endorsed by 55 countries. The participating States have agreed that the
network should be established by 2005. The main objective is ensuring that firstly, a full range of
ecosystems, habitats, species and their genetic diversity, and landscapes of European importance are
conserved. Secondly, that those habitats are large enough to place species in a favorable conservation
status. Thirdly, that there are sufficient opportunities for the dispersal and migration of species. Finally,
that damaged elements of the key systems are restored and the system are buffered from potential
European Diploma of Protected Areas – Council of Europe
The diploma was created in 1975 and is awarded to sites of European importance from the point of view
of fauna, flora and landscape, which are particularly well protected. The protection area must be subject
to stringent protection and integrate successfully nature conservation and certain human activities. This
prestigious award is undoubtedly the most effective way of conserving Europe´s outstanding natural
European Network for Biogenetic Reserves – Council of Europe
Founded in 1976, this network is designed to conserve representative examples of our natural heritage
by developing a rigorous, systematic methodology. These biogenetic reserves may vary considerable in
size, but their selection is generally based on two criteria. Firstly, their value in terms of nature
conservation, and secondly, the effectiveness of their protective status.
Environmental Action Plan for Central and Eastern Europe
Task Force established by Environmental Ministers at the Ministerial Conference in Lucerne 1993. The
aim is to promote environmental measures and to facilitate the implementation of the policy and
institutional aspects of the Action Plan in Central and Eastern Europe. The Taskforce has members
from EU, World Bank, EBRD and others, and the OECD serves as a Secretariat.
Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE)
This is a high-level cooperation of around 40 European countries and the European Commission,
addressing the most important issues on forests and forestry. It declares recommendations in favor of
the protection and sustainable management of forests in Europe. The MCPFE was launched in 1990
and it is a platform of dialogue (between signatory states, the Commission, countries with observer
status, and other organizations and stakeholders) and for cooperation of policy and science. It is also
linked to global and other regional, forest-related issues.
The European Plant Conservation Strategy
Planta Europa and the Council of Europe developed the European Plant Conservation Strategy to
provide a framework for wild plant conservation, and in response to the decision by the CBD to consider
the development of a global strategy for plant conservation. At the heart of this document are 42 targets
for plant conservation in Europe, to be achieved by 2007. Delegates from 38 countries have been
involved in the preparations.
Parks for Life – IUCN
In 1994, IUCN´s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) published “Parks of Life” an action
plan for protected areas in Europe. This plan was developed through wide consultation, and was
promoted as advice to governments and to protected area managers across Europe. It considered the
many pressures on protected areas, the variety of socio-economic situations and the presence of many
international bodies. A wide range of projects has been developed as follow-up activities, designed to
strengthen cooperation between protected area managers.
This Federation founded in 1973 under the official title “Federation of Nature and National Parks of
Europe”, and has since grown to become the recognized, professional organization for European
protected areas. An independent, non-governmental organization, its membership brings together the
organizations responsible for the management of over 400 protected areas. Key aims of EUROPARC
are: a) promote good practice in the management of protected areas, b) facilitate the establishment of
new protected areas, c) raise the profile of protected areas and thereby to increase support for their
future protection, and d) influence the future development of public policies and programmes, especially
with the European Union.
PAN Parks – World Wide Fund for Nature
Five years ago, WWF and the Dutch Leisure Company Molecaten Group, began work on PAN
(Protected Area Network) Parks Initiative. The idea is simple: to introduce a marriage between nature
conservation and tourism on a European scale. PAN Parks aims to change tourism from a threat into an
opportunity by building partnerships with nature conservation organizations, travel agencies, the
business community, and other interested groups on local, national and international level. PAN Parks
aims are: a) to create a European network of wilderness protected areas, b) to improve nature
protection by sustainable tourism development, and c) to provide a reliable trademark that guarantees
nature protection and is recognized by all Europeans.
Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe (LCIE)
The LCIE is a dynamic network of European organizations and experts from 29 countries (including
representatives from government, the Bern Convention, international and national NGOs, together with
scientists, land managers and other experts) working to secure viable populations of large carnivores in
coexistence with people. The Initiative supports conservation activities throughout the continent, and
disseminates experience and knowledge. The main areas of work are: a) protection of large carnivore
populations and habitats, b) integration of large carnivores with local development, c) conservation of
these mammals through legislation, policy and economic instruments, and d) public acceptance for the
existence of carnivores in Europe.
Large Herbivore Initiative (LHI)
This Initiative involves some 20 projects throughout Europe and Asia. These projects deal with a great
variety of activities all meant to protect the large herbivore species and restore their ecological role
within their original ranges.
Environmental Programme for the Danube River Basin (EPDRB)
State governments of the Danube River Basin and international institutions draw up an initiative in Sofia,
in September 1991 to support and reinforce national actions for the restoration and protection of the
Danube River. All partners set up a Task Force and a programme Coordination Unit and developed a
Strategic Action Plan, which was mostly supported by PHARE, TACIS and by UNDP/GEF. The main
objective of the EPDRB was to strengthen the operational basis for environmental management in the
Danube River Basin and to support the Danube countries to implement the Danube River Protection
Convention. With the DRPC entry into force in 1998, the transfer of tasks and responsibilities from the
EPDRB under the umbrella of the DRPC is achieved.
European Mountain Forum (EMF)
The objectives of the European Mountain Forum is to promote sustainable development and
management of European mountains and their environment, to facilitate exchange between all parties
involved, and to encourage education, training, public awareness and technical assistance in all
The Carpathian Ecoregion Initiative (CEI) – World Wide Fund for Nature
This Initiative is a unique international partnership achieving conservation of nature in the Carpathian
Mountains and, at the same time, supporting local economy and culture for the lasting benefit of people
living in the heart of Europe. Facilitated by WWF, more than 50 organizations from seven countries are
working together to make this vision reality.
The Central European Initiative (CEI)
This is the oldest and largest of sub-regional cooperation initiatives that emerged in Central and Eastern
Europe after the collapse of the communist system. The organizational structure – as an
intergovernmental forum for concertation and cooperation – is flexible and responsive to new
developments. The CEI has established an integrated framework of dialogue, coordination and
cooperation between its members in the political, cultural and parliamentary fields. Thereby, creating an
atmosphere of mutual understanding.
Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC)
The Regional Environmental Center is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit organization with a mission to
assist in solving environmental problems in Central and Eastern Europe. The Center fulfills its mission
through encouraging cooperation among NGOs, governments and business, supporting the free
exchange of information and promoting public participation in environmental decision-making.
Carpathian Heritage Society
This NGO established in 1999, promoting the protection and the rebuilding of the natural and cultural
environment of the Carpathian Mountains. Sustainable development is at the forefront, emphasis is
given to improvements in the quality of life for native people, and all decisions are made by taking into
account the limits of the land in respect to ecological conditions.
This Foundation is a unique, cross-border regional foundation, providing grants and technical assistance
to NGOs and local governments, focusing primarily on inter-regional, economic development and trans-
frontier activities. It encourages the development of public/private/NGO partnerships. The Foundation
promotes good relations, social stability and economic progress in the bordering regions Carpathian
Environmental Partnership for Central Europe (EPCE)
The Environmental Partnership for Central Europe is a consortium of five foundations in the Czech
Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and, since 2000, Romania. The organizations are focused on
fostering community-based environmental action and citizen participation in Central Europe. Since their
establishment in 1991, the Environmental Partnership foundations have invested over US $ 10 million in
support of more than 2,100 individual projects and are currently the most significant private source of
funding for community-based environmental initiatives in the region.
The Carpathian Euroregion is an inter-regional association of five neighboring countries, Poland,
Slovakia, Hungary, the Ukraine and Romania. The mission is to contribute to building better mutual
understanding and confidence and to stimulate the development of the member regions through cross-
The Foundation for Eastern Carpathians Biodiversity Conservation (ECBC)
In 1998, the first trilateral Biosphere Reserve was declared between Slovakia, Ukraine and Poland. To
help the three countries a Foundation with international funding was established. The Foundations
objective is to encourage, organize, conduct and promote activities serving to protect the overall
biodiversity of the Eastern Carpathians Mountain zone. The Foundation plays also a role of a forum in
which stakeholders from the three countries can meet and discuss management issues and current and
planned conservation measures.
Association of the Carpathian National Parks and Protected Areas (ACANAP)
ACANAP is a voluntary group of National Park, Natural Park and Reserve Administrations in the
Carpathian Mountains. Founded in 1991, 21 Carpathian National Parks, the Carpathian Biosphere
Reserve in Ukraine and 17 Protected Landscape Areas are members to ACANAP. The secretariat is
based at the Tatra National Park Administration in Slovakia.
Ecological Bricks for Our Common House of Europe
A platform of NGOs and concerned citizens, who wanted to draw public attention of governments,
parliaments and finance institutions to some special nature landscapes along the Iron Curtain. Twenty-
four of these areas are documented as the “Ecological Bricks for Our Common House of Europe” due to
their ecological importance and geographical location along the former East-West border.
This section contains a selection of bilateral and trilateral agreements and cross-border progarmmes,
which have an impact on the protection and management of natural resources along national
• TACIS 1997 Cross-Border Cooperation Programme: “ The Carpathian Transfrontier
• Agreement between local governments of regions adjacent to the state boundaries between
Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine on establishing the association «Carpathian
Euroregion» (February, 1993);
• Inter-Ministerial Trilateral Protocol on Cooperation in Establishing the Trilateral UNESCO – Man
and Biosphere Reserve “East Carpathians” (16th of September 1991);
• Inter-Ministerial Trilateral Polish-Slovak-Ukrainian Agreement on the preservation of the
biodiversity of forests in the Eastern Carpathians (18th of December 1992);
• Agreement between the Ministry for Environmental Protection of Ukraine and the Ministry for
the Environment of the Slovak Republic on cooperation in the field of environmental protection
(30th of September 1992);
• Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of Hungary on
cooperation in the field of environmental protection (13th of August 1992);
• Agreement between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of Poland on cooperation
in the field of environmental protection (24th of January 1994);
• Agreement between the Government of Poland and the Government of the Slovak Republic on
cooperation in the field of environmental protection (18th of August 1994).
At the National Level
Activities on the national level are divided into programmes and projects. This section provides some
examples and should not be seen as an exhaustive list of all existing activities. Please notice that the
hundreds of NGO driven local activities are not included.
• Territorial System of Ecological Stability of Landscapes (as part of EECONET);
• Action Plans for specially protected species.
• Maintenance of Protected Landscape Areas by Combined Goat and Sheep Farming –
• Hungarian National Ecological Network – Ministry of Environment, National Authority for Nature
• Tisza River Oxbows – UNDP/GEF.
• Resolution concerning the sustainable development of mountainous and hilly areas(1997);
• Action programme for socio-economic activation of mountainous and hilly areas (1999);
• Act on support for activation and socio-economic development of mountainous regions (2001);
• Second National Environmental Policy;
• National Forest Policy and the National Forest Increase Programme;
• ECONET – Poland, Foundation IUCN Poland.
• Rural Development Project – WB/GEF.
• National Strategy for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use of its Components;
• National Action Programme for Environmental Protection;
• Romanian National Network – MWFEP;
• Emerald Network in Romania;
• National Strategy for Romanian´s Medium-term Economic Development;
• The National Forestry Policy and Strategy – World Bank;
• Forestry Loan – World Bank.
• Biodiversity Conservation and Ecological Reconstruction of Ceahlau National Park – funded by
the Danish Environmental Protection Agency and MWFEP Romania;
• Carpathian Large Carnivore Project (CLCP) – several international donors;
• Integrated Protected Areas & Conservation Management Project – WB/GEF;
• Roads (02) Project – WB;
• Cultural Heritage Project – WB;
• Private Sector Institution Building Project – WB;
• Mine Closure and Social Mitigation Project – WB;
• Agricultural Support Services Project – WB;
• Trade and Transport Facilitation in Southeast Europe Project – WB;
• Rural Finance Project – WB;
• Social Sector Development Project – WB;
• Social Development Fund (02) Project – WB;
• Rural Development Project – WB;
• Habitat Conservation in the Bucegi National Park – LIFE;
• The Conservation of an Euro-Siberian Oak Forest – LIFE;
• Enhancement of Piatra Craiului National Park – LIFE;
• Combined Action for the Protection and Development of the Natural Heritage in the Apuseni
Mountains – LIFE;
• Maramures Wetlands Initiative – UNDP/GEF;
• Conservation and Management of Steppe and Balcanic Ecosystems in the Macin Hercinian
Mountains – UNDP/GEF;
• Mining Hotspots – UNDP/GEF (idea).
• National Biodiversity Strategy (1997);
• Action Plan for the Implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategy (1998-2010);
• Proposal for the Implementation of Agenda 21 and Assessment of Indicators of Sustainable
Development in the Slovak Republic (1997);
• Territorial System of Ecological Stability – Slovakia, Ministry of Environment, Slovak
Environmental Agency – Centre for Nature and Landscape Protection
- General Plan of the Supraregional Territorial System of Ecological Stability;
- Regional Territorial Systems of Ecological Stability Projects;
- Local Territorial System of Ecological Stability Projects;
- Bio-corridors of Supraregional Importance;
- National Ecological Network (NECONET);
- Ecological Landscape Planning (LANDEP).
• Conservation, Restoration and Wise Use of the Calcareous Fens in the Slovak Republic –
UNDP/GEF (PDF A implementation);
• Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through the Use of Biomass Energy in NW Slovakia –
• Grasslands Conservation Project – WB/GEF.
• National Strategy for Conservation of Biological Diversity in Ukraine;
• Programme for Perspective Development of Nature Reserves in Ukraine;
• Ukrainian National Ecological Network - Ministry for Environmental Protection and Nuclear
Safety, Central Board for National Nature Parks and Reserve Affairs;
• Biodiversity Support Programme (BSP);
• Programme” Conservation and Restoration of Great Bustard Otis tardain Ukraine”;
• Programme of Integrated Anti-Flood Protection in Tysa River Basin of Zakarpatska Oblast for
2002-2006 and Forecast until 2015.
Ukraine is the only country in the Carpathian region not being an accession country. Nevertheless, the
government ensures a gradual integration of Ukraine into European structures, the European
environmental legislation and initiatives are taken into account, including the EC´s Habitat and Bird
Directives, and EC Regulation related to international trade of endangered species of plant and animals.
• Transcarpathian Biodiversity Protection Project (accomplished in 1997, which focused primarily
on the Karpatski Biosphere Reserve) – World Bank/GEF;
• Improvement of Trans-frontier Nature Conservation System in Verkhovyna – TACIS;
• The Carpathian Trans-frontier Environmental Network (1998-2001) and follow up World Bank´s
Transcarpathian Biodiversity Protection Project;
• Integrated Ecosystem Management and Development of an Ecological Corridor in the Upper
Carpathian Mountains – UNDP/GEF (PDF A proposal);
• Priority Measures for Restoration and Conservation of Bison bonanus in Ukraine;
• “Carpathian School” under the BSP.
• Strengthening Implementation of Nutrient Reduction Measures and the Transboundary
Cooperation in the Danube River – UNDP/GEF;
• Building Local Capacity for the Implementation of the Lower Danube Green Corridor –
• Building Environmental Citizenship to Support Transboundary Pollution Reduction in the
Danube: A Pilot Project in Hungary and Slovenia – UNDP/GEF;
• Constraints & Opportunities Analysis for Trans-boundary Cooperation in the East Carpathian
Biosphere Reserve towards sustainable development (PL/SK/UA) – UNEP/ROE;
• Conservation Areas of Large Carnivores in the Carpathians;
• The Carpathian Ecoregion Initiative (CEI);
• IKEA Forest Project (Romania & Bulgaria) – IKEA/WWF;
• EU Accession Initiative – WWF.
In this chapter, the wide range of existing instruments is visible. It provides an overview about legally
binding and non-binding instruments and other programmatic activities. With respect to important
Conventions related to biodiversity, many or most of the countries are Parties too. Concluding there is
evidence that, many of them are not appropriate implemented, as there is a lack of adequate measures
on the national level. Furthermore, there is poor coordination between the instruments and limited
integration, very often because they lie in the responsibility of different ministries. A well-focussed
instrument, dealing specifically with the Carpathian Mountains, could aim at enhancing implementation
of already existing instruments, and in addition, could lead to more coordination and integration.
5. Sector Analysis
5.1. Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological and Landscape Diversity
Mountains are amongst the world´s greatest sources of biodiversity and often described as islands of
biodiversity. They are providing refuge to animals and plants that partly have already disappeared in the
surrounding lowlands due to human-altered landscapes. Mountains are centers of genetic resources
and laboratories of biodiversity, which might play a significant role for ensuring the human future.
About half of the Carpathians is covered by forests, mainly with spruce, beech, fir and sycamore. In a
continent where 56 per cent of forest cover has been already lost, and only 2 per cent of the remaining
natural forests are under any form of protection, the Carpathians support Europe´s most extensive
tracks of montane forests. In addition, they harbour the continent´s largest remaining natural mountain
beech and beech/fir forest ecosystems and the largest area of virgin forests left in Europe (outside
Russia). Nearly a third of the mountain area is covered by open, semi-natural habitats, predominantly
grasslands. These hay meadows and pastures are the result of the traditional land management during
the past centuries, and are habitats with high natural diversity. Of the 133 habitat types identified by the
Carpathian Ecoregion Initiative, no less than 76 per cent are open habitats, many created by man.
In European terms, the Carpathians are remarkable rich in species and plant communities: one-third of
all European vascular plant species (3.988) can be found in the region and a high level of endemism
exists – a phenomenon related to the glaciations periods. Over 480 plant species can only be found in
the Carpathians and nowhere else in the world. The “small-scale” species diversity is with a maximum of
75 species per metre square also impressive.
An oasis within Central and Eastern Europe, the Carpathians are the last European stronghold of large
mammals and support viable populations of about 8.000 brown bears, about 4.000 wolves and 3.000
lynx. Population numbers are 10 to 20 times higher than the Alps. It is also one of the last European
refuges for the wild cat. In addition, large herbivores such as the European bison can be found here.
The Carpathian population, reintroduced after being eradicated 200 years ago, is the only one inhabiting
Described as a “birdwatchers paradise”, the region with its diverse habitats supports a wide variety of
bird species – more than 300 species are found here. A total of 31 species of amphibians and reptiles is
known from the Carpathians. Mostly ignored, but of great importance are invertebrates. There are
estimations of 35-40.000 species of insects – probably with an extremely high rate of endemism.
Perhaps most importantly, this mountain arc is a major source of freshwater and of great importance for
nature and people. More than 100 fish and lamprey species live in the Carpathian rivers, of which 10 are
considered to be endemic. Ultimately, about 90 per cent of the waters flowing out of the Carpathians
enter the Danube and its tributaries providing clean drinking water to the population living in the Danube
With the developments in CEE during the past decade, these enormous biodiversity values are in
danger. With the upcoming enlargement of the EU and the integration with Western Europe, the
pressure will even increase. A more detailed description about the driving forces behind biodiversity loss
can be found in each of the socio-economic sector described later.
Protected Areas (PAs) have a long tradition in the Carpathians. Already in 1895, the first protected area
was established in the Slovak Republic. At present, 33 National Parks exist in the region and there are
a myriad of other areas set aside for conservation purposes. These include Protected Landscape Areas,
Biosphere Reserves, World Heritage Sites, etc. However, only 16 per cent of the Carpathians are under
any form of protection. The coverage in the countries is very uneven and some PA systems are rather
weak by international standards. Many of these areas are protected in name only, and some have
already been seriously damaged due to habitat fragmentation, human pressure like increasing
recreation activities (mountain bikes damaging soil and forest under story, or ski areas damaging
population of rare and endangered plant species), poaching, mining, illegal logging, etc. In addition,
inefficient management capacity and lack of political commitment and funding is further worsening the
To conserve natural values in Europe, the PEBLDS´s Pan-European Ecological Network (PEEN) plays
an important role. The implementation of the network is the responsibility of the countries. With respect
to EE countries, major progress is underway. The challenge is to ensure representativeness of different
valuable habitats, and the compatibility with similar networks adjacent countries (which is not the case
now). The recently published document “Indicative Map of the Pan-European Ecological Network for
Central and Eastern Europe” (ECNC) is a milestone on this topic. Based on scientific knowledge, the
study identifies core zones (naturally best along large mountain ranges and river valleys), corridors and
stepping zones to improve coherence and connectivity of natural systems (most importantly for
migration routes of large carnivores), restoration areas where damaged elements need to be restored,
and buffer zones. All this information, together with the map of the Carpathian Ecoregion Initiative,
identifying the 30 most important areas for biodiversity conservation in the Carpathian mountains, are
important tools for experts and decision makers with respect to the establishment of a functioning
protected area network.
Following the success of the Network of Alpine Protected Areas – established under the framework of
the Alpine Convention – the development of a similar network is highly recommended. With the support
of the Alpine countries and UNEP, - under the framework “Partnership for Regional Mountain
Development in the Carpathians” – the first steps have been taken. The proposed network should
become an official implementation tool for the Carpathian Convention. This cooperation will be
beneficial in terms of exchange of expertise and experience for all partners involved. In other words, a
“networking between networks”. With respect to this protected areas network, emphasis should be given
to transboundary PA, as they potentially provide a wide range of benefits. To name a few, safeguarding
important areas of biodiversity divided by political borders, a more effective management of shared
ecological units or migratory species (e.g. large carnivores), the preservation and enhancement of
cultural values and their promotion, strengthening or re-establishing of good relations with neighboring
In future, climate change may have a considerable impact on biodiversity in the region. The highly
controversial discussion on climate change and carbon sequestration issues and its impacts to
biodiversity will probably also effect the implementation of the CDB. The issue of mountain ecosystems
will also be on the agenda of the CBD-COP7 to be held in 2004.
A possible convention will make use of international and regional instruments on the protection and
conservation of biodiversity to which Carpathians States are Parties. Especially, the CBD and the
Biosafety Protocol, the Bern Convention, the Bonn Convention, the Ramsar Convention, the UNESCO
World Heritage, the PEBLDS, the NATURA 2000 and EMERALD networks, and the EU Directives on
birds, habitats and GMOs. Building also upon other international programmes, such as WWF’s
Carpathians Ecoregion Initiative, amongst others, a convention would contribute to the implementation
of existing mechanisms, ensuring the protection and sustainable use of Carpathian specific elements.
• Use a Carpathian legal framework as a platform for discussion and exchange of information;
• Take necessary measures to ensure a high level of protection of natural and semi-natural
habitats, and species of flora and fauna characteristic to the region. In particular, attention
should be given to the protection of endangered species, Carpathian endemic species, and
• Networks of protected areas may work better than single, isolated conservation areas; therefore
establish and promote a Carpathian Network of Protected Areas, using the experience of the
• Help to guarantee the representativeness of different valuable habitats and the connectivity
between national ecological networks;
• Involve local stakeholders in planning and management decisions of protected areas;
• Ensure the compatibility between national strategies for the conservation of biodiversity and
national development strategies, considering biodiversity as a fundamental principle in respect
• Promote the integration of biodiversity considerations into the implementation of the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.
5.2. Sustainable Local Development and Territorial Planning
Agenda 21, in its Chapter 13 (Managing fragile ecosystems – sustainable mountain development) states
that mountains areas are highly vulnerable due to their special characteristics (fragile ecosystems, hard
climatic conditions, isolation, political and economic marginality, etc.). Therefore, conservation of the
natural heritage, sustainable local development and territorial planning have to go hand in hand. There
is clearly a need for integrated and participatory approaches based on typical resources of the local
area. Synergies between various sectors (agriculture, handicraft, tourism, nature, etc.) have to be
developed and strengthened. Consequently, a bottom-up approach has to be applied. Also important for
the successful implementation of sustainable mountain development, is the creation of policy
frameworks and institutional mechanisms. Those have to be specifically tailored towards the needs of
local people in mountainous areas and should be supportive to local initiatives. As examples, the
Austrian “Multi-sectoral mountain policy” and the Polish “Act concerning the economic development of
mountain areas” can be used. In case of absence of such policy instruments, specific measures
concerning mountains should be added to existing sectoral policies.
Since the UNCED conference in Río de Janeiro in 1992, many communities around the world have
developed their own “Local Agenda 21”. This is the mandate to local governments to translate the
United Nations Action Plan for the 21st century (Agenda 21) to the local level, promoting initiatives and
programmes to support sustainable development. Local sustainable development concerns the
relationship between economic activities, the use of natural resources and the quality of life achieved.
Both, the final UNCED document and the Local Agenda 21, are non-legally binding instruments, and
therefore depending on the political will of decision makers and the motivation of stakeholders and the
A local Agenda 21 is more than an environmental plan. It is a framework to integrate the social,
economic and ecological needs of the community in a balanced way. It should link local issues with
global ones, providing local solutions to global problems, and making the slogan “think globally, act
locally” a reality. It is not a project, which starts and finishes, but it is a permanent process and a long-
term commitment. Integration plays a key role and has to be reflected in all stages of decision-making.
Participation and community consultation are underlying principles. Administrative boundaries do not
necessarily coincide with natural environmental features; therefore, there is the need to interact in an
integrated, regional sense with other communities. Furthermore, state and national governments need
to ensure that the outcomes of local Agenda 21 programmes are integrated with and inform all level of
planning and policymaking. This requires a close cooperation between local and state governments.
The fact that thousands of such local initiatives exist already means that the potential for sharing
experiences and networking is limitless. As experience has shown, the practical example is the best
means of illustration for all actors. As mentioned already, there are several similarities between the two
mountain ranges of the Carpathians and the Alps. Thus, networking and learning from each other
seems a most appropriate approach. The first step towards this goal was the conference in Bolzano,
Italy, in June 2002. A more detailed look should be taken to examine and share experience from local
initiatives that help to implement the Alpine Convention. Examples include independent marketing of
organically produced products, nature tourism, fruitful partnerships between municipalities – the so
called “Alliance of the Alps” –, and many others. The Alpine Protocol on land use planning and
sustainable development is concerned with coordination of land use, and to ensure that land is used in
accordance with the principles of sustainable development. Mountain regions must meet several
different demands: they are home to plants and animals, but are also areas of economic activity; they
are used for recreation, for agriculture and transport. However, usable space is sometimes limited,
therefore careful territorial planning is necessary and there is the need for a harmonized regional
planning in the Carpathians as a whole.
Eastern European countries also have existing positive initiatives with respect to sustainable local
development, e.g. the community of Hostêtín in the White Carpathians. Cooperation between a wide
range of stakeholders has turned this small village on the Moravian-Slovak border into a model of rural
sustainability. In addition to solar collectors on many roofs, homes are heated from a central heating
plant, fueled by wood from local forests. Sewage waste is treated in a low-cost, reed-bed treatment
plant. A small juicing factory, located in a former barn at the centre of the village, produces apple juice,
thereby creating new jobs and a market for native fruit varieties. Further examples are traditional fairs,
festivals and markets, preserving the cultural heritage, providing a focus for regional identity and helping
to increase economic growth.
In this context, the role of NGOs as partners for sustainable development should be highlighted. As
cited in the Agenda 21, NGOs play a vital role in shaping and implementing different programmes,
possessing well-established and diverse experience, capacity and expertise in different fields. Their
credibility lies in the responsible and constructive role they play in society. To ensure that the full
potential of the contribution of NGOs is realized, the fullest possible communication and cooperation
between international organizations, national and local governments and NGOs should be promoted. In
addition, NGOs need to foster cooperation and communication amongst themselves to reinforce their
effectiveness as actors in the implementation of sustainable development. Worth mentioning in the
Carpathian context are NGOs, such as the Carpathian Foundation and the Environmental Partnership
for Central Europe, amongst others. These organizations play a crucial role in the sustainable
development, specifically in rural areas and have significant successes to show. In addition, the role of
the European Mountain Forum should be highlighted, in promoting the idea, processes and best
practices of local development in mountain regions. With respect to Kyiv Conference, their role is to
facilitate the preparations and participation of NGOs from southeastern Europe and the Carpathians at
the conference. Furthermore, they will promote the establishment of the Carpathian Network of
Protected Areas by disseminating of information (website, e-mail lists, etc.). Another important initiative
is the ongoing consultation process of Ukrainian NGOs in the context of the Carpathian Convention.
Specifically the sector “local development and territorial planning” would benefit from a Carpathian
Convention. A legal framework could provide a forum of cooperation and could facilitate the exchange of
experience between stakeholders. Furthermore, such instrument could be seen as a framework
supporting programmatic activities.
• Learn from experiences in other mountain systems or from other parts of the Carpathians e.g.
through regular meetings of specific stakeholders;
• Strengthen regional networks, e.g. network of communities specifically devoted to the
implementation of local Agenda 21;
• Develop synergies between different sectors, e.g. meetings in communities with foresters,
farmers, small entrepreneurs, etc.;
• Recognize the role of NGOs, giving them a voice in the consultation and implementation
• Using “bottom-up” approaches, involving besides central governments also offices and
institutions on the local level, as well as other stakeholders who have a vested interest in
• Harmonization with respect to territorial planning, especially in transboundary areas, e.g.
selecting a model area and use it as a demonstration model.
5.3. Integrated Water/River Basin Management
Water is a precious resource that is becoming ever more valuable as pollution and other human actions
have rendered many waters increasingly incapable of providing their life giving qualities. The Carpathian
Mountains are naturally rich in water resources. There are over 110 glacial lakes in the High Tatras
alone. The Carpathians are the source for tributaries to a number of Europe´s major rivers – including
the Danube, Tizsa, Dnister, Prut and Vistula.
Although many of the Carpathian waters have retained their natural quality and fulfill their natural
ecological functions many of the lakes and rivers have been affected by pollution, by dams, and are at
the center of conflicts between users (i.e. industry, agriculture).
The Carpathians provided an example of the potential conflicts that can arise through ineffective water
management and preventative actions to protect water when in January 2000 cyanide pollution
accidentally released from a Romanian tailings pond in Baia Mare contaminated a major stretch of the
Somes and Tiza Rivers and resulted in extensive deaths of fish and other aquatic organisms. Waters of
Ukraine, Hungary, and Yugoslavia were affected by the spill whose consequences and the legal
implications are now being dealt with by International courts.
In order to protect, restore and sustainably manage water resources it is necessary that such resources
be managed in an integrated and coordinated way. This means not only coordination between different
users and agencies of the same country but between countries for those rivers and water resources that
are international in character. The UN ECE Framework Convention on Transboundary Waters provides
a basis for this to occur. A project carried out by UNEP and the Slovakian government under this
umbrella entitled “Integrated Management of Carpathian River Basins” provides ideas for new
mechanisms for this to occur. Strengthened commitments to such mechanisms are needed to enhance
The term Integrated River Basin Management has thus been coined as basis for effectively managing
water resources. Effective water management is not something that can be achieved in isolation of
actions on land. The land and the water are inextricably linked and, for example, the clearing of forests
over a large area can result in downstream floodwaters or pollution. Similarly, pollution through
agriculture (erosion of soils, excessive fertilizer, or pesticide use) in the upstream areas reduces the
quality for downstream areas. The headwaters of rivers flowing out of the Carpathian mountains need to
be maintained in good quality so that downstream areas who utilize these waters for drinking, irrigation
or industry can do so. The Carpathian countries have a responsibility for those waters flowing out of the
region. This responsibility has been formalized in the case of the Danube River Protection Convention.
All the Carpathian countries with the exception of Ukraine are presently negotiating implementation of
the EU Acquis up to the year 2007 and have been working to implement all those elements that deal
with water. Implementation of all these Directives (i.e. those dealing with Urban wastewater treatment,
Water consumption by humans, Pollution by dangerous substances) should bring improved water
quality and strengthen the protection of water resources in the Carpathians.
It is hoped that through development and implementation of River Basin Management that water
resources in the Carpathians and throughout all of Europe can be better protected and effectively used
to meet human needs and to ensure their ecological functions. The European Union recently adopted
the Water Framework Directive, which has as one of its main goals the achievement of “good status” of
surface and groundwater. A central component of this legislation is the adoption of River Basin Plans,
which will protect and manage water resources in an integrated way. Fortunately the countries which
are signatory to the Danube River Protection Convention (all Carpathian countries except Poland) have
committed to utilize the Water Framework Directive as a means of managing water resources. The
Accession countries have been participating in the Joint Implementation Strategy for the Water
Framework Directive and as such providing important input into the application of the legislation.
A central component of the River Basin Management process is the identification of human pressures
on the water. This includes: a) urban, industrial and agricultural point source and diffuse pollution, b)
water extraction for urban, industrial, agricultural and other uses, c) water flow regulation, including
transfers and diversions, and d) morphological alterations to water bodies.
The identification of pressures on water needs to be linked with actions that ensure that these pressures
do not diminish the quality or quantity of water for others. It is essential that users throughout the system
can utilize water in the manner they need and that the ecological functions of water bodies (rivers and
lakes) are maintained. Important local initiatives, which bring sectors and responsible authorities
together, have to be supported. One such example is an effort supported by UNDP (the Tisza River
Integrated Sustainable Development Programme) or the Tisza River which has attempted to turn the
negative consequences of the Baia Mare spill into a positive force for coordinated river basin planning.
An initiative of this type was recommended by the Baia Mare Taskforce, which evaluated the
consequences of the Baia Mare accident.
Of significance is work currently underway as part of the UNDP/GEF Danube Regional Project which
contains initiatives to strengthen the capacity for comprehensive and coordinated management of water
resources in Danube countries. This programme includes a number of components that could provide
an important basis for future components of a Carpathian Convention. For example, the Secretariat of
the International Convention for the Protection of the Danube River carried out a survey of potential
threats (operating or abandoned industrial or mining facilities) to water resources in the Tisza River
Basin. This assessment is the basis for minimizing pollution risks.
It is also important to remember that future patterns of agriculture and water use are liable to both
influence, and be strongly influenced by, climate change. At present, the Carpathian region is not as
influenced by dam construction as other areas of Europe, and in the north-west these are much more
numerous than the south. Plans to irrigate, or contain water through dams, however, need to be
carefully analyzed with respect to future climatic trends. Unfortunately, there has been little recognition
of this fact in the policies and practices that exist related to water management in the countries of the
A Carpathian Convention would add momentum and political support to the efforts that have been
begun to improve the intergovernmental management of water resources in the Carpathian region. This
is particularly important in strengthening the cooperation between sectors that influence water. Although
many water agencies have successful bilateral relations the relations between countries on matters
affecting water, (economic development, agriculture, etc.) are considered national responsibilities for
which little coordination exists.
• Carpathian water resources need to be maintained in a good ecological condition through the
development of a Carpathian Basin Development plan;
• These water resources have to be managed in an integrated and coordinated way; therefore,
ensure the coordination between different users and agencies of the same country but also
between countries for those rivers and water resources that are international in character;
• An overall assessment of human pressures on water throughout the Carpathians (including
abandoned mine tailings) needs to be undertaken;
• More support for the Tisza River Integrated Sustainable Development Programme is needed;
• Ensure effective implementation of all relevant EU Directives.
5.4. Agriculture & Rural Development
Mountain agriculture has a long tradition in the Carpathians. Celtic tribes developed activities in the
foothills of these mountains – and this anthropological influence shaped the landscape. All countries
have a strongly developed agricultural system and due to similar geographical and natural conditions,
they share the same scope of problems, amongst others erosion processes or ecological problems.
However, due to historically formed economic differences in each country diverse trends with respect to
land ownership, production effectiveness, employment rates, etc. are the result.
Agriculture – as well as forestry – are the dominant forms of land-use in the Carpathians. Many
practices are based on century-old approaches and result in a high level of extensive small-scale and
organic agriculture with a high diversification, especially in remote mountain areas. In these areas, there
is a balance between local needs and local capacity. It is also evident, that agricultural landscapes, such
as arable and improved grassland habitats, harbor many species, specifically bird species dependent
upon appropriate agricultural management for their survival. Following the economic transition that
accompanied the political changes in the region, the agricultural sector has had great difficulties, e.g.
outdated machinery and undercapitalized holdings. These economic problems combined with changes
in land ownership and the danger of privatization led to changes in management. Nowadays, many new
forms of farming are evolving – partly overtaken from “western-style” practices – abandoning age-old
practices for high-yield, modern farming techniques, looking for higher returns in the market economy.
This leads to over-intensification of agriculture, increase in use of pesticides and fertilizers, large size
fields, habitat fragmentation and the spread of monocultures. The traditional sheep and goat farming is
changing to cattle raising which has an impact on the existing forest ecosystem. These agricultural
forms are already showing signs of unsustainability and are not adapted to the region. The process of
joining the EU presents a major threat for EE farmers and for biodiversity in general.
Rural development is a critical regional issue. Most people in rural areas make their living from farming.
Incomes in rural Romania and Ukraine for example, are exceptionally low by Central and Eastern
European standards. People are facing a growth of unemployment and poverty. Rural depopulation and
an ageing demography are typical as young people migrate in search of work. In many cases this leads
to a breakdown in the rural fabric, the decline of traditional lifestyles, the abandonment of land and as a
consequence the loss of biodiversity. A recently concluded study found that land abandonment is the
major threat to rural development and the harmonization of agriculture practices with biodiversity needs.
During the last decade the European Union´s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has encouraged the
sector to become more and more intensive, promoting large-scale farming – exactly the opposite what
has being practiced in EE countries. In Western Europe, this has lead to an enormous increase of water
and soil pollution, an increase of pesticides in ground waters and a tremendous loss of biodiversity.
This system is heavily subsidized, with funds going mainly to big farmers. (Generally, it is the case that
agricultural investments are distributed without having sustainability criteria in place.) Although the CAP
supports also the maintenance of some semi-natural landscapes, and helps to maintain rural
communities in less-favored areas, the fact remains that financial support through compensation
payments and market support encourages intensive production. To become part of the EU, accession
countries must integrate into the EU´s CAP. The adoption will effectively determine the future rural
landscape both socially and environmentally. Without appropriate adjustments to the CAP it can be
predicted that many of the consequences will be negative.
Under the “Rural Development Regulation” (1257/1999/EEC), agri-environmental schemes are the most
prominent targeted environmental measures. They will be implemented under the SAPARD pre-
accession fund. However, much criticism has been raised that only a small percentage of the SAPARD
funds are actually used for projects with an “agro-environmental” focus. An independent NGO
evaluation of SAPARD in four countries of the region provides useful recommendations how this
instrument could better promote rural development. The recommendations included full public
participation in planning, promoting rural diversification and the support to small farmer, and better
integration with other EU Directives, such as the Water Framework Directive, or Natura 2000.
In addition to efforts to reform CAP and to reorient SAPARD measures, other initiatives have recognized
the importance of biodiversity issues in this sector. For example, the fourth Ministerial Conference “An
Environment for Europe” in Aarhus 1998, noted that further action for the environment in the field of
agriculture was required. Under the PEBLDS, a working group on agriculture and environment was
established. During their last meeting (High-Level Pan-European Conference on Agriculture and
Biodiversity) in June 2002 in Paris, the “Declaration on the conservation and sustainable use of
biological and landscape diversity in the framework of agricultural policies and practices” has been
finalized. Recommendations made included, the integration of biodiversity concerns into agricultural,
rural and other policies, and the promotion of the multiple function of agriculture and the inter-sectoral
and international cooperation. Furthermore, actions to implement this declaration have been elaborated
and a proposal was developed to present it to the fifth Ministerial Conference to be held in Kyiv for
The challenge is to increase food production in a sustainable way. There is the need for economic
incentives for such initiatives, the development of appropriate technologies, income diversification, and
land conservation methods through improved management techniques. Success will heavily depend on
the participation of people living in the region. Human resource development must therefore be
promoted and information, education, wise planning and participatory approaches are essential. Low
intensity farming and its advantages for nature conservation should be promoted, e.g. organic farming.
At present controlled “environmentally friendly” land-use, systems in the Carpathians are limited to a few
percent of the agricultural area. There is, however, considerable potential for expanding this sector. It
might also be worth investigating the possibilities for adapting the Austrian concept of “Biobauern” as a
model for Eastern Europe. There are several similarities between farming systems in Austria and the
Carpathian countries, e.g. – small-scale owner structure in mountain regions, low income for those
farmers, etc. Farming would operate according to the principles of organic agriculture – considering the
forces of nature and the cyclic approach. One goal is to increase life in the soil in order that harvesting is
sustainable. As far as production is concerned no chemicals or synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or agents
to enhance the storability of goods would be used. Animals are kept with consideration of the
characteristics and needs of their species. Processing is done without dangerous ingredients or
additives. Organic farming is growing rapidly throughout Europe, and in 2001 the Agriculture Minister
from 12 European countries have called for the creation of a European action plan for the development
of organic farming and food under the so-called “Copenhagen Declaration”. Existing EU legislation with
guidelines for ecological agriculture could be used for production and processing and for marketing a
strong network has to be built up.
As agriculture and rural development are main topics in all Carpathian countries, a new instrument
would help in information exchange and in setting up cooperative programmes. Concerted efforts would
help to strengthen the “Eastern voice” towards Brussels for changes and improvements of the relevant
policies and funding schemes.
• Concerted lobbying for reforms within the EU´s Common Agricultural Policy, e.g. better
integration of biodiversity concerns into agricultural and rural policies;
• Ensure progress towards more sustainable approaches within the SAPARD Regulations, e.g.
widening of the consultation process, meaningful involvement of stakeholders in the decision-
making and policy processes;
• Promote and strengthen ecological agriculture as it has a particular potential in mountain areas,
e.g. retain old customs in maintaining traditional farming and land conservation methods;
• Provide economic incentives for organic farming, diversification of products, etc.;
• Ensure market development and access to markets.
Forest ecosystems in mountain areas are of vital importance to protect watersheds and to supply fresh
water. They are also home to numerous wild species. The conservation of these habitats through
various forms of protection and careful management are an important basis towards achieving
sustainable development. The challenge is to find a balance between protection and a wise use of
Forest cover is still significant in the Carpathians – as already described forests cover approximately
half of the total mountain area – but is unequally distributed between the countries. At higher elevations,
where human pressure is less, there are vast areas of untouched forests – the last remnants of virgin
forests in Europe (outside Russia). About 225 pristine forest plots larger than ten hectares have been
identified. Of significance, the Carpathians support the last remaining stands of primary beech forests.
All the different forest habitats show an incredible natural diversity, most importantly in a European
context. They are home to some flagship species like bear, wolf and lynx all of which have higher
population numbers than in the Alps.
Forestry has always been a constant element of human civilization, a fact that is also true in Eastern
Europe where it is the dominant form of land-use. Wood harvesting in the Carpathians has a long
history and plays an important role in the local economy, especially in Romania. Although forest
exploitation in the Carpathians has never caused the same extent of damage as it has in Western
Europe. The loss of forest cover through clear-cutting, increasing degradation due to monocultures and
introduction of exotic species, pollution, grazing, illegal felling and inappropriate management practices
have, however, all had a deep impact on biodiversity. Of significance is the increasing numbers of
sheep that are having negative impacts to high mountain soils and at the same time raising conflicts
with large carnivores because of their expansion in forested areas. Through these changes in
management, specifically some forest dwelling species have become endangered in the region.
Established protected areas are an effective means to conserve natural forest dynamics and example
elements of virgin forests, but the existing protected forest area network is not sufficient to save all
forest types and the associated species. In addition, there is often no integration of conservation
aspects in national policies, e.g. conservation issues are not integrated into forest management plans
and sustainable forestry management is not a reality, or bad governance and weakness of
implementation structures are causing hindrances to effective conservation. Another factor of concern is
afforestation. Although SAPARD measures address this problem, it is not clear which tree species are
used (i.e. native or non-native) and therefore afforestation can be a potential threat for the region.
Furthermore, privatization and the ongoing restitution process in Romania are leading to the
fragmentation of forest habitats. Private owners often use their forest as a financial source for either
agricultural investments or mere survival.
There are several international agreements or programmes promoting the conservation of natural
forests. Specifically the Helsinki/MCPFE process addresses this issue as do other more widespread
agreements which address this issue in a wider context of biodiversity conservation i.e. the Convention
on Biological Diversity, the Ramsar Convention, World Heritage Convention, Convention on the
Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitat. Furthermore, the 4th criterion “Maintenance,
conservation and appropriate enhancement of biological diversity in forest ecosystems” (as well as
indicator 4.1) of the six pan-European criteria for Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) developed at
the Ministerial Conference in Lisbon (1998) in the frame of the MCPFE process refers also to natural
forests. For accession countries (Ukraine is excluded), the adoption of Natura 2000 is also related to
conservation of the natural forests as part of the protected areas network. The MCPFE process also
addresses conservation of forests for ecological purposes. The fifth criterion “Maintenance and
appropriate enhancement of protective functions in forest management (notably soil and water)” of the
pan-European criteria for SFM and its related indicators address this issue. Considering that biodiversity
issues are an essential element in sustainable forest management, a framework cooperation between
the PEBLDS and the MCPFE has been drafted and is subject for adoption to the 4th Ministerial
Conference on the Protection of Forests (Vienna, April 2003) and then to the Kyiv Conference.
Although the sustainable use of forests has been promoted in all international conventions and
processes referring to forests, in the Carpathian region this goal has received poor financial support by
implementation agencies and through management mechanisms. This is evident when talking about the
use of environmentally sound technologies, capacity building, public awareness, etc. Only recently, in
some of the accession countries (e.g. Romania) the EU SAPARD programme has supported such
efforts. Generally, pre-accession funds are not shaped towards conservation needs. Meanwhile, all
accession countries in the region have developed or are in the process of developing technical and
environmental standards for forest products, as part of the Acquis transposition. An overview of the
harmonization status of local legislation and administrative arrangements of each country with EU
directives and regulations is given in the section listing the existing instruments.
All countries in the region accepted the UN Convention to combat desertification (although prior to
September 2002 only Romania had developed an Action Plan), which relates to the deforestation and
forest degradation combat. The adoption of the accession countries (except Ukraine) of European
Council regulations on the protection of the Community’s forests against fire and atmospheric pollution
are also a means to combat forest degradation. There is also the hope that the mechanisms under the
Kyoto Protocol (i.e. Joint Implementation) – by September 2002 the Protocol has been ratified, accepted
or approved by all countries in the region (except Poland and Ukraine) – will contribute to the
enhancement of forest cover in the future.
In terms of privatization and restitution, there are no international agreements referring strictly to
mitigation of negative impacts (mainly environmentally) resulting from this process. Forest-related
national financial incentive mechanisms exist in all accession countries (Ukraine not included) but they
are uncertain and ineffective in promoting nature conservation objectives within the private forest sector.
Some opportunities to promote the private forestry and indirectly reduce the negative impacts of
restitution/privatization are given under the SAPARD programme (e.g. afforestation, promotion of SFM
etc.) in the countries joining the EU.
Finally, the role of the non-timber forest products should be mentioned as an economic factor in the
region that should not be underestimated. For example, in the Hungarian part of the Carpathians there
is an intensive collection of snails. In Romanian forests, aromatic and medicinal plants, herbs,
mushrooms and berries are collected. For local population it is often the only source of income and
when there is demand, they are collecting protected species. There do not exist any management plans
for such practices and it is doubtful, if they existed, if they could be monitored and enforced. Until now, it
is not clear how these products are traded, especially those which are under protection. It seems to be a
mixture of official and illegal trade chains, and the enforcement through the only existing instrument
addressing this issue, CITES, is extremely difficult.
A Carpathian Convention would definitely be an added value to existing mechanisms for protecting
forests. At present, implementation of existing instruments occurs mainly on national territories and a
framework convention with a possible protocol would foster regional cooperation. This instrument will
lead to regional forest corridors – important for wildlife – and to transboundary management of forest
resources. Such regional efforts could also bring market benefits. In addition, it would probably
decrease the costs of forest monitoring and early warning systems, which today are done on a national
• Identification and mapping of remaining virgin forests and guarantee their full protection;
• Ensure the representativeness of all forest types and their associated species within the
Protected Areas Network;
• Make use of independent certification schemes as a tool for sustainable forest management;
• Integration of conservation aspects into all national forest policies;
• Need for financial support to improve implementation structures, new technologies, public
5.6. Transport and Infrastructure
Mountain areas worldwide are by their nature often isolated and an obstacle to movement among
people. Despite this, these areas are depended on information exchange and trade with neighboring
regions. Transit routes across mountains have existed since ancient times. With more and more
industrialization and the development of modern transportation, mountain areas became increasingly
accessible. This is a trend, which likely will continue and become even stronger in future. An efficient
and flexible transport system is essential for economic development and quality of life. However, current
transport systems often pose significant threats to environment and human health.
The Carpathian arch is divided by major communication corridors, which are usually broad zones of
urbanized land containing infrastructure of differing kinds. They break the mountain range into four basic
units and they are further divided into smaller pieces by regional corridors that cross the main
Carpathian ridges. Interestingly, up to now, the main roads and railways run in parallel. In addition to the
benefits transportation corridors provide for rural communities, such as increased employment and
income opportunities, the facilitation of local markets for small entrepreneurs and industries, the access
to health centers and schools, etc., there are also several negative impacts. The main corridors can
isolate the enclosed natural areas from one another and from adjacent habitats and regions. Major road
developments are cutting through landscapes causing habitat fragmentation. This may lead to the
destruction of habitats and bring significant disturbance to the migration routes of plants and animals.
The danger that such processes can lead to the elimination of large animals, such as wolf, bear, etc. is
reality. If the “bridge” concept of the Carpathians is disrupted, much of its ecological value will be lost.
According to the latest report of the European Environmental Agency, transport trends in both the
European Union and accession countries are moving away from, not closer to, the main environmental
objectives of EU policies on transport and sustainable development. These call for breaking the close
link between economic growth and transport expansion, as well as stabilizing the “modal split”. In
accession countries, the environmental pressure from transport is still less than in the EU, but this
favourable situation is changing fast. Transport volumes in the accession countries, which fell
significantly following the economic recession of the early 1990s, are now rising again as economies
recover. By 1999, volumes were almost back to their 1990 levels, and this trend is expected to continue.
Railways’ share of freight and passenger traffic remains well above EU levels but overall transport
infrastructure in the accession countries is evolving towards a road-oriented system. This will make it
harder to maintain a substantial market share for rail. The transport sector’s energy consumption and
greenhouse gas emissions are three to four times lower than EU levels on a per-capita basis but as in
the EU, are growing rapidly. Road and rail networks are less dense than in the EU, causing less
fragmentation of the land, but motorway lengths have almost doubled over the past 10 years. This rising
land-take for transport infrastructure will increase pressures on designated nature protection areas.
Under current development scenarios, it is likely that increasing trade and integration with Western
European countries will occur and the development of transport infrastructure is essential. It is already a
priority in all CEE countries. The proposed Madrid – Kyiv Highway, is one example of the Trans
European Networks (TENs), which has been promoted as an important element for economic growth
and creation of employment. This and other projects of this nature will definitely have an enormous
impact on the biodiversity of the Carpathians. As stated in its White Paper on a Common Transport
Policy (1992), the European Commission will apply a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for
infrastructure plans. This instrument provides information about environmental consequences of
decisions about policies, plans and programmes. It is intended that the SEA should make transport
more sustainable. In 1996, the Commission set up a process of Transport Infrastructure Needs
Assessment (TINA) to oversee and coordinate the development of an integrated transport network in
accession countries. A “Manual on SEA of Transport Infrastructure Plans” has been prepared offering
practical recommendations for authorities and other interested parties.
Although research shows that road transport is the least environmentally friendly form of transportation,
new roads development is priority and the Commission has been providing assistance for this to the
countries under the PHARE Programme and under the pre-accession aid, e.g. ISPA. In addition, the
European Investment Bank (EIB) is increasing its loans in this direction.
Experience in the Alps shows that the transport sector is one of the most problematic sectors. The
continuing growth in mobility of persons and goods has had a particularly heavy impact on environment.
Following several major car accidents in Alpine tunnels, a discussion of transport issues has been
started. For many years, transit traffic has been expanding in Alpine countries, resulting in air pollution,
noise, land consumption, and high health care costs. Specifically, the increasing CO2 emissions (and
other greenhouse gases) have confronted decision makers with the challenge of finding solutions.
Further investments in an efficient and socially acceptable transport system are urgently needed. The
Swiss Example of the extension of public transport and railways (New Alpine Railway Axis NEAT and
Bahn 2000), including two base tunnels through the Alps. This is a step in the right direction.
Current forms of transport have often negative impact on human health. This includes such factors as
annoyance from traffic noise, evidence of direct effects of air pollutants on mortality, as well as on
respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. On the mandate from the third Ministerial Conference on
Environment and Health in 1999, a Charter on Transport, Environment and Health has been prepared,
promoting sustainable transport alternatives. To this aim, inter-sectoral cooperation and high-level
political commitment are needed to ensure that new transport policies consider health issues.
The OECD began an initiative to achieve a more responsible transport in 1998. The working group on
transport developed the EST guidelines (Environmentally Sustainable Transport), which are fully in the
spirit of sustainable development. Six criteria (out of the ten) have been identified as a minimum number
required reflecting the wide-ranging health and environmental impacts of transport. The document
contains several annexes, e.g. highlighting certain unsustainable trends, or the definition of
environmentally friendly transport. The guidelines are proposed as a basis for developing a feasible and
viable strategy for policymaking and practice in the transport sector.
Current transportation policies have been the cause of serious problems. We know what they are and
they are predictable. In addition, many good recommendations for sustainable transport are available.
Therefore, there is a great opportunity in Carpathians for “prevention” of problems rather than
“remediation” if regional and transboundary planning is applied. There is a strong need for both local
and international lobbying aimed at incorporating Strategic Environmental Impact Assessments and the
wide use of environmental friendly developments, e.g. tunnels and overpasses. Information on species
vulnerability is important for taking measures to protect such species and for designing appropriate
planning procedures. Information is necessary for all who are involved in planning and implementation.
Training courses should therefore be encouraged. International cooperation and exchange of
knowledge is necessary. There are already some good examples available such as the transboundary
consultation process within the TransNet Project (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation).
A regional instrument would be supportive to the sustainable transport development in the Carpathian
Mountains. Areas of high biodiversity on the regional level could be taken into account (most relevant in
transboundary areas) during planning of future transport routes avoiding the fragmentation of habitats.
In additions, lessons from the Alps can be learned to avoid making the same mistakes.
• As outlined, many valuable recommendations for sustainable transport are already available,
e.g. OECD Initiative, – put them into practice;
• Incorporate Strategic Environmental Impact Assessments;
• Exchange of knowledge and international cooperation is necessary;
• Investments are needed to ensure an effective and socially acceptable transport system;
• Ensure inter-sectoral cooperation and integration of health issues into transport policies.
Tourism is one of the world´s largest industries and one of the fastest growing economic sectors and as
such has a major impact on people and environment – effects that can be both positive and negative.
Inappropriate tourism development can degrade habitats and landscapes, deplete natural resources
and generate an unsustainable level of waste and pollution. In contrast, responsible tourism can help to
generate awareness and support for conservation and local culture and crucially, can create economic
incentives for communities and countries to protect natural resources.
The beautiful mountain landscapes of the Carpathians, the high natural value and the potential for
recreational activities, such as hiking or tracking wildlife, have led to increasing numbers of foreign
visitors after the fall the iron curtain. The distribution of tourist numbers in the countries is not equal.
There are various “hot spot” areas visited by the majority of tourists (e.g. the Tatra Mountains) and other
destinations of the region with only low visitor numbers. From country to country, the number of tourists
Generally, each country has its own Tourism Agency, a governmental body – but each with different
responsibilities and competencies. Presently, there is no proper national legislation dealing with the
increasing pressure on the natural, cultural and socio-economic environments. Existing legislation is
only indirectly dealing with tourism. There is little or no recognition that uncontrolled growth in tourism
aiming at short-term benefits often results in negative impacts. In most Carpathian countries, official
strategies for the development of sustainable tourism are missing.
However, there have been some efforts encouraging rural tourism in Romania, and Poland.
Unfortunately, there are no economic instruments in force that would provide a vehicle for the
development of sustainable practices.
There can be no doubt that there will be an increase of tourists coming to CEE in future. The region is
expected to become one of the three most attractive European destinations according to the World
Tourism Organization (WTO). The main trends are a shift from large hotels designed for group tourism
to individual tourism with small accommodation facilities, e.g. pensions and chalets. In addition, there is
a growing demand for higher quality in housing and services and a trend related to interest in nature,
wildlife, rural areas and culture. This has an enormous potential to bring together nature conservation
and rural development. Small-scale community projects in mountain areas can demonstrate the benefits
being achieved for both local people and their environment. Several examples already exist, e.g. the
“Carpathian Large Carnivore Project” in Romania, which aims to undertake a variety of activities in order
to maximize the environmental, social and economic benefits of carnivore conservation. Other projects
include those of the Environmental Partnership of Central Europe (EPCE) “Greenways for Central
Europe” promoting cultural preservation and environmental conservation by fostering environmentally
friendly tourism along “green corridors”.
The Carpathian mountain areas are fragile ecosystems characterized by rural agriculture and forestry
activities, often socially endangered through high unemployment rates and the exodus of the youth. In
such cases ecotourism – based on three pillars of economical, social and ecological principles – can be
an effective tool towards a sustainable tourism development for all EE countries. Some basic principles
have to be taken into account: ecotourism development must a) be part of a wider sustainable
development strategy – thereby creating mutually supportive linkages and reducing financial leakages
away from the area; b) be compatible with effective conservation of natural ecosystems; c) involve local
people and cultures, ensuring that all have an equitable share in its benefits.
There are a number of relevant initiatives, instruments and programmes addressing tourism. Although
not included in the Agenda 21, the recognition of the importance of sustainability in tourism has
increased. The Commission on Sustainable Development established a multi-stakeholder Working
Group on Tourism. Other examples include: “CBD Guidelines on Biological Diversity and Tourism”,
“Ecotourism: Principles, Practices and Policies for Sustainability” prepared by UNEP in cooperation with
the International Ecotourism Society, and the Council of Europe´s Recommendations “On a General
Policy for Sustainable and Environmental Friendly Tourism Development” (No.: R (94) 7) and “On a
Sustainable Tourism Development Policy in Protected Areas” (No.: (95) 10). In addition, there has been
an increasingly widespread application of environmentally appropriate management techniques in
tourism companies and facilities, specifically hotels. There are also voluntary approaches such as
certification systems, eco-labels (e.g. PAN Parks) and codes of conduct, like the “Global Code of Ethics
for Tourism introduced by the World Tourism Organization. Furthermore, funding instruments to
encourage tourism are available, e.g. LIFE programme and the Action Plan for Tourism. It should not be
forgotten that activities during the International Year of Ecotourism in 2002 offer an opportunity to review
experiences worldwide and provide example for initiatives, projects and publications from NGOs, both
international ones (amongst others, IUCN, WWF, Federation of Nature and National Parks of Europe)
but also NGOs from the region.
The need for a Carpathian-wide tourism strategy is evident. All countries are facing similar pressures on
environment and decline in rural economies. Sustainable tourism – if appropriate implemented – can be
a key tool for poverty alleviation and nature conservation. This should begin with a feasibility study,
exploring the carrying capacity of potential locations, sharing experiences and other related activities will
lead to common planning, including a joint strategy, and agreed policies and to appropriate legislation in
each of the countries. Other important factors are building partnerships, improving skills, making
resources available, cooperation with countries where tourists originate from, and the development of a
joint marketing towards Western Europe. This will promote the “Carpathian identity” at the international
level. Based on the strategy, an action plan for sustainable tourism needs to be developed in a
consultative way. Existing model projects can provide examples, new pilot projects can be planned and
implemented, and existing guidelines can be adapted and put in practice. In addition, new financial
incentives, grants and tax concessions need to be applied to improve information about sustainable
tourism. Efforts should be put towards the establishment of “trans-frontier” parks as means of
cooperation, fostering dialogue, respect for each other’s identity and mutual tolerance. All these
attributes are prerequisites for stability and peace in the Danube-Carpathian region.
UNEP, WTO, and potential donors together with other inter-governmental organizations and possibly
the business sector, should help and assist governments from Carpathian countries and other relevant
actors to develop this strategy and the action plan and to use tourism as a tool for sustainable mountain
Specifically in the field of tourism, a Carpathian Convention would be a benefit for all countries. This
framework can provide a platform for information exchange, a discussions forum on ecological,
economic and social aspects on different topics, such as methodologies of planning, carrying capacity of
specific sites, identifying key factor of success in already existing model projects, and many others.
• Joint development of a Carpathian-wide, sustainable tourism strategy and implementation plan,
putting numerous already existing recommendations and lessons into practice;
• Use a participatory approach right from the beginning;
• Establish thematically focused networks for information exchange;
• Integrate tourism planning with a wider holistic regional development planning and ensure the
integration of other sectors, e.g. agriculture;
• Build on local strengths and local resources.
5.8. Renewable Energy and Cleaner Production
The energy sector is gaining more and more importance, as energy is a driving force of economic
development. Its production and consumption have major impacts on the environment, including being
responsible for climate change and air pollution problems. Mountain areas are a key source of energy,
providing biomass fuels, such as wood, agricultural residue and animal dung, as well as non-renewable
fossil fuels (coal, gas, etc.). There is an increasing demand for more energy, in mountain communities
itself but also in adjacent areas.
It is obvious that conventional energy programmes, designed to serve densely populated areas, are not
practical for isolated mountain communities. Furthermore, some of the energy sources used in the
Carpathians have a damaging effect on the fragile mountain ecosystem, such fuel wood. Supplies are
threatened as population grows and living standards are decreasing. This has a negative impact on the
environment, and is damaging health of people because of the smoke from fires and stoves used for
cooking and heating. Access to energy is crucial to achieve social development. Unfortunately, one can
observe an increase of non-renewable fuels such as kerosene, diesel and dry cell batteries, all of which
are harmful for the environment.
Mountains are an extremely rich source of renewable energy, such as hydropower, solar energy and
wind power. These renewable energies could be a major component of a sustainable development
strategy. Therefore, mountains have the potential to shift consumption away from fossil fuels, bringing
ecological, climatic and economic advantages. For example, renewable energies can strongly contribute
– together with other environmental technologies – to increased labour efficiency and diversified
economic activities in rural areas. The availability of energy is a key factor for agricultural productivity
and to achieve food security and improve rural livelihoods. This would require the development of
energy policies and programmes specifically tailored for mountain ecosystems.
The Carpathians are a huge reservoir of fresh water and are of greatest importance for drinking water
for people in the whole Danube basin. Water is also used to produce energy. The demands for energy
under the Communist system meant that the development of hydroelectric power stations was highly
favoured, leading to considerable loss of agricultural land and forest as well as some relocation of
villages. A significant example of this damage can be observed in the Retezat Mountains in Romania
following the Raul Mare-Retezat hydropower scheme. However, dams remain relatively limited in the
Carpathians compared to Western Europe.
Despite some progress in promoting renewable energy in recent years, numerous constraints and
barriers continue to exist. Amongst them, the low priority in national energy planning and policy
development, subsidies for conventional energy systems, lack of awareness and inadequate support in
technology, etc. In this respect, the Carpathian countries can learn from other mountain regions in
Europe. Specifically examples from the Alps can be a model, taking into account the protocol on energy
within the Alpine Convention. This protocol aims to tailor energy production, distribution and use to the
interests of nature and landscape protection, as well as the needs of the people living there. The
knowledge and expertise from the Alpine countries can be transferred to EE, promoting the fact that
renewable energy sources are becoming more viable as prices decrease and technologies become
more efficient. Small hydroelectric installations, which have a great potential to promote economic
development in mountain areas, without having negative impacts on the environment and on local
cultures, should be promoted.
During the Communist regime and its emphasis on central production, many parts of the Carpathians
have been heavily polluted, and air and water pollution have become major problems. Nowadays,
emissions in the region are lower than they have been before, not because of technology
modernization, but because of a decrease of industrial production. Unfortunately, this collapse of
industry leaves many villages and towns as “crisis areas”, with high level of unemployment, pollution
from industry and degradation of the environment. Furthermore, during the transition period, production
conditions have been more or less uncontrolled, again resulting in environmental damages due to illegal
production and the use of old technologies. Today, emission data are either not reliable or they are
confidential, which also contributes to insufficient control of environmental hazards caused by industry.
Changes are needed and can be assisted through expertise from Western countries in new
technologies, professional planning, and cleaner production methods. In the context of the enlargement
of the European Union, cleaner production will become a major topic for CEE. Some progress is already
underway, as the EU requires potential newcomers to adopt the entire “aquis communautaire on
environment” before accession. But pollution in Carpathian rivers from industrial sources continues to be
a problem. Only step by step, the legislations of EE countries are adapted to the principles of EU water
More and more, governments and businesses are learning that a preventive strategy is not only an
investment in the future quality of life but that it also makes good business sense. Endorsed in the
Earth’s Summit Agenda 21, UNEP set up a “Cleaner Production Programme”, promoting the use of less
polluting and more efficient processes, products and services. Besides an information clearing house
(set up together with the US Environmental Protection Agency), UNEP is building national capacity
through training sessions and demonstration projects. Furthermore, it should be mentioned that several
organizations and NGOs have developed guidelines for business and industry, e.g. IUCN, WWF, World
Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Thus, there have to be concerted efforts between all parties concerned. One thing is evident:
Carpathian countries need technical and financial help to modernize their industry and to adapt to
cleaner production. It is up to responsible business partners to channel foreign investments to the region
and to promote modern technologies, cleaner production and eco-efficiency. The responsibility of the
countries is to develop national policies and strategies, which include incentives and support schemes
as well as awareness building programmes on this topic. Consequently, national energy and cleaner
production policies should be linked with other relevant sectors and harmonized on the regional level.
Against this background, a convention could bring additional benefits.
• Develop national policies and strategies specifically tailored for mountain ecosystems, linking
those with other relevant sectors and harmonize on a regional level;
• Pay specific attention to renewable energy resources;
• Provide incentives for new technologies and cleaner production.
5.9. Environmental Assessment / Monitoring and Early Warning
An important aspect of environmental and natural resource management is the availability and the
accessibility of data and information that describe these resources. Remote sensing, geographic
information systems (GIS) and many other environmental observations assist in acquiring and
processing such information. Through the analysis of such data, a variety of key issues related to
natural resource management, biodiversity, food production and security, energy and climate change
impact, etc. is addressed. The information can also be combined with socio-economic data for a more
in-depth analysis. On the global level, institutions like UNEP, FAO, IISD, etc. provide these
assessments. On the European, regional and national level, a wide range of institutions are dealing with
this subject, e.g. EEA, Eurostat, ministries, national environmental agencies, eco-institutes, to name
The purpose of environmental assessment (EA) and monitoring is to provide information to assist in
making appropriate management decisions. EA evaluates environmental conditions at a specific point in
time, and predicts future changes. EA uses available information on historic trends and can look at the
present situation on the ground. Monitoring looks at environmental changes as they occur, advising on
the need for management changes. Monitoring collects information on the ground looking at changes in
the “present” situation, and compares these to historical information. There are many different tools to
describe and quantify the environment; all of them are constantly revised. The recently most discussed
framework is the “Driving Forces – Pressure – State – Impact – Response” (DPSIR) model. This model
provides an overall mechanism for analyzing environmental problems. Driving Forces, such as industry
and transport, produce Pressures on the environment, such as pollution emissions, which then degrade
the State of the environment, which then Impacts on human health and ecosystems, causing society to
Respond with various policy measures, such as regulations, information and taxes, which can be
directed at any other part of the system. An understanding of indicators for each of the phases is central
to this concept and success depends on the right set of indicators. Figure 2. shows the DPSIR
framework used by the European Commission and the European Environmental Agency.
Figure 2. Source: Towards Environmental Pressure Indicators for EU – First Edition 1998.
All countries of the Carpathian region have a range of environmental assessments mechanisms in
place. Nearly all of these assessments are either on the local level, e.g. biodiversity inventories in
protected areas, or on the national level focused on different components of biological and landscape
diversity. Examples include forest inventories and national information system on plant genetic
resources. The only regional assessment is the work done by the Carpathian Ecoregion Initiative (CEI)
which went through a biodiversity as well as a socio-economic assessment on an ecoregional scale,
covering the whole mountain range of the Carpathians. Through this one-and-a half-year exercise the
most important large-scale wildlife sites, called “Priority Areas for Conservation”, have been identified.
These 30 “Priority Areas” build the basis for a vision on protected areas in the Carpathians.
Furthermore, the initiative has also gained a clear picture of the threats to the region and their root
causes. This is the first and only overall overview of the Carpathians and collected data can be used as
a baseline for future work.
In terms of monitoring, again this is done either on the local level, e.g. bio-monitoring in protected areas
(selected permanent sample spots, impact of management, monitoring of local and regional evolution
trends of selected bio-indicator taxa), or on the national level, i.e. the forest monitoring which has a long
tradition in all these countries. As many mountain regions in the world, the Carpathians have also
developed a large genetic and cultural-historical diversity in livestock and cultivated plants, specifically
in remote areas. There is the danger that many of these will vanish completely due to modern
performance methods. Here we have the urgent need for monitoring these resources, and some good
examples are already available, e.g. SAVE Foundation together with the Monitoring Institute for Rare
Breeds and Seeds in Europe.
Mountains are also a barometer of global climate change. These fragile ecosystems are extremely
sensitive to global warming, therefore it is vital that the biological and physical components of mountains
are strictly monitored and studied. This information will assist governments and international
organizations to develop new management strategies and strong campaigns to reverse current global
warming trends. Finally, in terms of the European enlargement, it is obvious that the transition will have
effects and impacts on the environment. This process has to be carefully monitored, and there is a need
for enforcement agencies that do not exist now.
On the European level, the European Biodiversity Monitoring and Indicator Framework (EBMI-F) aims to
enhance the possibilities for creating more synergies among present and future biodiversity monitoring
efforts in order to reach higher efficiency and effectiveness in communicating the state of, and trends in,
Europe´s biodiversity to the decision-makers. The Council of the Pan-European Biological and
Landscape Diversity strategy has requested ECNC and EEA to develop and coordinate EBMI-Fin order
to support the implementation of the PEBLDS.
With respect to monitoring of waters, the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of
Transboundary Waters and International Lakes is of importance. Good examples are known from the
Slovak Republic, which participates in three pilot projects, with the objective of the verification of
guidelines for monitoring and assessment of transboundary waters. In addition, under the Convention
on Cooperation for the Protection and Sustainable Use of the River Danube, an early warning system is
in operation since April 1997.
Another early warning systems is APELL (Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at a Local
Level), a programme developed by UNEP in conjunction with governments and industry with the
purpose of minimizing the occurrence and harmful effects of technological accidents and environmental
emergencies. The strategy of the APELL approach is to identify and create awareness of risks in an
industrialized community, to initiate measures for risk reduction and mitigation, and to develop
coordinated preparedness between the industry, the local authorities and the local population.
• Promote a coordinated scientific research and regional inventories, most importantly for focal
species like the carnivores;
• Develop a Carpathian-wide information system and clearing house mechanism, which can then
feed into the European monitoring systems;
• Development of a joint system of measures with respect to transboundary impacts of flooding
and accidental water pollution.
5.10. Cultural Heritage and Indigenous Knowledge
“Tradition is your self-respect, your dignity and your nobility. Care for the heritage of your fathers: their
art, their culture, …..work to increase the wealth of the land from which you were born…… do not cut
the roots, which bind you to the land which bore you, even if you find yourself at the ends of the earth.
That would be tantamount to cutting the veins on which your life depends. You owe this to your soul and
to your fathers.”
August 22nd 1922
Historically the Carpathian region has undergone many changes. From the first evidence of human
impact in the Mesolithic age, through centuries-long waves of migrating and colonizing people, including
the Austrian-Hungarian Empire up to the Communists era, the region has been seen as a historical
“melting pot”. Different ethnic minorities and tribes, Vallachians, Ruthenians, Boykos, to name a few,
have left their tracks in the natural and cultural landscape. Architectural traditions reflect this diverse
history. For example, the wooden churches of Maramures, resulting from the interchange of Orthodox
religious traditions with Gothic influences showing a high level of artistic and craft skills. Not a single
type of culture is the outcome – but an enormous mosaic of different traditions, customs, music, etc.
Despite the separation of national boundaries, people are bound together by the highland way of life.
Many of the existing habitats are the result of traditional land use, which formed the rich culture and
traditions of these mountains. For example, mountain shepherding has been one of the most important
aspects of Carpathian culture. The estimate of the mountain population today is about 18 million people.
The majority of these live in small towns and tiny mountain villages. Distribution of the population is
uneven, from heavily populated areas along the valley and on the northern slopes of the Western
Carpathians, to less densely settled parts in the Southeast, to nearly uninhabited mountain massifs.
Most of the people of the Carpathians suffer from economic hardship due to isolation and poor
infrastructure. Unemployment rates are extremely high, compared to the lowland parts of the region.
Nevertheless, these people are preserving their national heritage. They are the primary guardians of
mountain biodiversity. They have the knowledge, the wisdom and the detailed understanding of the
functioning and of the management of mountain ecosystems. Such knowledge is embodied in
languages and if we don’t listen to the mountain people, this knowledge will be lost. There is a
relationship between biodiversity and cultural diversity, and the relevance of this relationship for
conservation is not obvious at first glance. Traditional mountain culture practices sustainability! In times
of globalization and expanding economic forces, it is a major challenge to find ways to strengthening
traditional cultures and mountain communities while sustainable manage their resources.
The historical, cultural, spiritual and natural heritage of the Carpathian region is a major advantage and
should be seen as strength, not as a weakness. This heritage and the traditional lifestyles are positive
assets, which should be recognized and can contribute to a “Carpathian identity”. They offer significant
opportunities for sustainable activities, giving the hope of economic revitalization, e.g. rural tourism.
Several NGOs are working on the protection of the cultural and environmental heritage, amongst them
the Environmental Partnership for Central Europe (EPCE), and the Carpathian Foundation and the
Carpathian Heritage Society. The successes of these organizations are based on their sensible
approaches: small-scale, community-based, working directly with local partners, taking into account the
needs of the people, often transboundary, capacity building and training, education and information
The World Heritage Convention under UNESCO is the only legal instrument for the protection of cultural
and natural heritage. The protection of the traditional culture of the Carpathian people is an important
goal of a Carpathian Convention. The link between ecological and cultural diversity is strong and needs
to be reinforced and strengthened through a legal mechanism such as a Carpathian Convention.
5.11. Awareness Raising, Education and Public Participation
Programmes of sustainable mountain development have to recognize that people are an integral part of
the environment. The former chapter about the cultural heritage stated that there is a lot to learn from
traditional mountain people. On the other hand, there is the responsibility for decision makers to sharing
information with these people.
During the Communist era, it was extremely difficult to obtain information on the state of environment in
EE countries. Since 1989, the situation is slowly improving, but there are still problems, including poor
data availability in some sectors, or the problem of compatibility of data. In this respect, the European
Environmental Agency (EEA) has a key role and it was the first EU body, open to accession countries.
The core task of EEA is to provide decision makers information needed for making sound and effective
policies for protection and support of sustainable development.
The European Union has been relatively slow to address the issue of access of information. The
Directive on Access to Environmental Information (90/313/EEC), currently under review, entitles the
public to request such information. Further improvements came along with the adoption of the Sofia
Guidelines in 1995. There was a clear need for a legal framework with basic constitutional rights, and
UNECE prepared the Convention on Access to Environmental Information and Public Participation in
Environmental Decision-making. This convention was drafted with a strong involvement of NGOs and
was signed in Aarhus, Denmark in 1998. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia were
among the first to provide this service on a national level and several environmental education centers
have been established.
There are also other schemes available, such as the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register Directive,
the voluntary EMAS Regulation (1836/93/EEC), or the Espoo Convention. Although so many
mechanisms exist, information flow is not always reality. Often criticism is raised, that information is not
transparent or accessible, either for the public, the NGO community or scientific research institutes.
Other cases tell about long delays or multiple reasons for refusal. However, there are also good
examples, e.g. between the Slovak Ministry of Environment and the Slovak NGO Daphne.
Environmental awareness is defined as a combination of motivation, knowledge and skills. High level of
awareness enables conscious choices for acting in an environmentally friendly way. It brings issues
related to biodiversity to the attention of key groups who have the power to influence outcomes.
Generally, there is a wide range of institutions offering awareness campaigns, such as the Council of
Europe, the Centre Naturopa, Clean Technology Centers, to name a few. The Convention of Biological
Diversity has also recognized the importance of environmental awareness. Article 13 deals with
Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA). The goals of CBD – conservation,
sustainable use and equitable sharing – calls for social change and CEPA are long-term investments
towards this change. CEPA deals with processes that motivate and mobilize action, and comprises a
range of social instruments, including dialogue, information exchange and marketing. Biodiversity
experts often are not aware of the benefits of CEPA as a management and policy tool and only a few
countries in the world successfully use CEPA in their planning and implementation of conservation
As education is critical in promoting sustainability, it is also an important topic in Agenda 21. The
document states that education, awareness raising and training should be recognized as a process by
which human beings and societies can reach their fullest potential. Both formal and non-formal
education is indispensable to change people´s attitude. Environmental education is mainly seen as a
national responsibility. While all countries address this topic in the school curricula, environmental
education programmes need to be further strengthened, specifically in mountain areas. This would
improve the level of environmental consciousness and individuals would be prepared for leading
positions in all fields of mountain development. Universities must create a new responsibility for nature
and culture leading to a better understanding of the needs of people living in remote mountain areas.
Exchange programmes for university teacher and students should be explored, amongst them the EU´s
SOCRATES - ERASMUS and TEMPUS programmes, all of them in the field of higher education.
Although not specifically tailored for environmental issues, they are playing an important role for
education. In Ukraine, the TACIS Environment Awareness Raising Programme can be used.
Many stakeholders and most citizens of the region do not appreciate the unique value of their natural
resources; one can even say that there is an extremely low public and political awareness about the
biological and cultural wealth of the Carpathians. In addition, citizens as individuals are not very active in
environmental decision-making. Generally, there is a lack of interest in public matters and apathy
towards getting people involved in community life. Therefore, effective, innovative programmes of
awareness raising, education and public participation have to be designed. Knowledge and information
sharing, awareness rising on all levels, communication and information management have to be
Capacity building programmes are extremely vital for sustainable mountain development. This fact has
also been highlighted on the political agenda of the WSSD in Johannesburg earlier this year. Capacity
building is an integral part of the process of education. Tailored to the specific target groups, these
programmes have an enormous potential to get greater participation in decision-making and
implementation of programmes and projects. Although stakeholder involvement and public participation
are one of the key words in all speeches of politicians, these are often only lip services and the reality is
different. When there is involvement of these stakeholders, it occurs often in the final phase of the
planning process when it is too late to make any significant changes. In general, the relationship
between governments and NGOs has been contradictory in the past. The situation is far from
satisfactory, but it is starting to improve. For both sides it’s a learning process and it’s heavily depending
on building confidence. There are several positive examples, such as Pan-European ECO-Forum, a
coalition of NGOs, involved in the implementation and monitoring of the PEBLDS, or the Ukrainian NGO
community with their project “Kyiv-2003” playing an important role in awareness raising and who are
also involved in the ongoing consultation process for a Carpathian Convention.
In this chapter, again the role of NGOs or other institutions with respect to this subject should be
highlighted. They play an important and vital role in facilitation and capacity building achieving both
positive conservation impact as well as the introduction of models of open, democratic processes. In
addition, information centers of national parks significantly contribute to this.
Regional aggregated information systems could serve as a basis for collaboration between the nations
and even help facilitate peace-building processes in areas of conflict. The Carpathian Ecoregion
Initiative has made positive experiences during their biodiversity and socio-economic assessments.
Working on an ecoregional level, in a participatory, multi-disciplinary, multi-country approach, provide
quite a challenge but was successfully realized. A further field for regional cooperation would be to
develop common school curricular on the conservation and sustainable development of the Carpathian
A regional framework would provide benefits by creating a forum for participatory exchange and
discussions between different stakeholders and between different levels. Furthermore, it would
contribute to the creation of public awareness e.g. through regular events and press activities.
• Always ensure access to information and a transparent information flow;
• Strengthen environmental education, e.g. manual for schools “Carpathian Biodiversity” using
experiences of relevant NGOs;
• Design of innovative awareness campaigns tailored for specific target groups;
• For all planned activities on the local level, the involvement of the people has to be ensured and
6. Joining the European Union – the Accession Process
All Carpathian countries except the Ukraine are in the process of joining the European Union. This
offers both challenges and opportunities. The enlargement is a key strategic issue, which has important
implications for the political, economic, social and environmental development. The main challenge and
a historical opportunity is to steer these developments in positive future directions, to promote
sustainable development and conservation of biodiversity. Negotiations are well underway, countries
have already started the process to integrate European legislation into their national policies, and
environmental chapters have already been closed for many of the accession countries.
The enlargement of the European Union will definitely influence and affect all the countries in EE. In
addition to security and peace, the accession process will provide benefits to Western Europe, for
example adding natural capital to enjoy and safeguard for future generations. There are many
opportunities related to this process, e.g. the harmonized legislative framework in accession countries.
There are now specific funding instruments available, which can be used for environmental protection
and for supporting rural communities. It is a unique chance to channel new investments towards the
region due to the transition to a free market economy, trade liberalization and globalization. While the
‘accession’ of some Carpathian countries to the European Union is welcomed and offers opportunities,
there are concerns that certain EU policies and projects may actually worsen threats to the region. This
is especially the case with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and proposed road networks.
Compared to economic growth, low priority is given for environmental protection and nature
conservation. Environmental issues remain at the bottom of the political agenda, and therefore threats
to biodiversity are intensifying. Often planning and decisions are made in isolation, e.g. critical absence
of inputs from environmental authorities into the SAPARD process. The opposite is often true with
respect to the limited role agricultural ministries play in the preparation of Natura 2000 sites. There are
three main policy sectors of great importance for the Carpathians: nature conservation, agriculture &
rural development and water management.
Nature Conservation – Natura 2000
The importance of Natura 2000 as a network of natural and semi-natural areas dedicated to ensure the
conservation and management of Europe´s most valuable habitats and wildlife should not be
underestimated. The concept is based on the European Community´s Birds and Habitats Directives,
which provides a key legislation tool for nature conservation. Many candidate countries have already
started drafting lists of potential Natura 2000 sites.
Generally, there are insufficient capacities and resources for carrying out detailed inventories and
mapping exercises needed for the identification of important habitats. The LIFE programme – the only
pre-accession fund dedicated directly to finance nature conservation, protection and restoration – is
open for participation. Until now, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia and the Slovak Republic
have confirmed their intention to participate in LIFE Nature. Other funding instruments like, ISPA and
SAPARD are not coordinated with Natura 2000 and are mainly restricted to large infrastructure projects.
The Carpathians Mountains - as a distinct geographical territory harbouring many endemic species not
found elsewhere - should be seen as a separate biogeographical unit within the Natura 2000 process.
This requires the addition of new species and habitat types to the Annexes of the Directives. This has
the advantage to allow joint planning towards Natura 2000 by EE countries and joint decisions over
methodologies and approaches. Until now, the mountain range is provisionally being treated as a part of
the Alpine biogeographical region. It is vital that the adaptation procedure for the Annexes follows a
sound scientific approach and is made in a participatory consultation process involving organizations
with expertise in this field. Here NGOs from the countries should play an important role. Having very
well developed scientific capacity, experts should be involved in decision-making and monitoring.
Agriculture & Rural Development Policies
Addressing the problems of the agricultural sector and the rural economy in the accession countries is a
complex issue which is a socially very sensitive process but economically absolute necessary. The EU´s
Common Agricultural Policy is the most important policy driver affecting the agricultural sector and rural
development and production subsidies and investments under the CAP have led to intensification and
specialization in the EU, accompanied with several negative impacts on biodiversity. Signals from
member states in favor of CAP reform and the greater role given to rural sustainable development are
welcomed and urgently necessary to avoid costly and damaging mistakes already made. This will be a
major challenge because it appears that the accession process is more or less continuing the
unsustainable EU model focusing on modernization of agricultural structures and the competitiveness of
standardized industry, instead of addressing rural concerns. Often national policies are encouraging
intensification of agricultural practices on one hand and land abandonment on the other. Here again the
support is not linked with other EU directives related to nature conservation.
SAPARD – another financial instrument in support of rural development in accession countries – and
having the potential to assist rural communities has demonstrated several deficiencies. The process so
far has not been satisfactory and significant problems have occurred: no cross-sectoral coordination
(amongst them inadequate links to protected areas), limited public participation, variable environmental
baseline information, little use of agri-environmental schemes or organic production, a narrow focus of
investment and little consideration for rural diversification. The proposed mid-term review in 2003 offers
a key opportunity to reorient SAPARD measures towards sustainability. The success will heavily depend
on the willingness to achieve reform and the necessity of profound input from national governments.
The Water Framework Directive
The European Union´s Water Framework Directive is the first European-wide regulation (Ukraine will
adopt this mechanism in the Danube watershed in the context of the International Convention on the
Protection of the Danube River Convention) for sustainable use of water. Considering the fact that the
Carpathians are a vital catchment area and freshwater source in CEE, this Directive is of great
importance. This innovative instrument shows a significant opportunity as its structure legally requires
public participation and offers the potential for integrated and international river basin management
across boundaries, integrating land-use policies and water management programmes as a whole.
Nevertheless, weaknesses in implementation need to be avoided and, special emphasis should be
given to a balanced representation of governments and NGOs in the “Common Implementation
Strategy” working groups. Public participation is not yet taken seriously enough and the coordination
between planning and programming is still very poor. Finally, in the context of the Water Framework
Directive, EU pre-accession funds, mainly ISPA, are favoring large, overly expensive and unsustainable
In the light of the EU accession, the Carpathian Convention could bring several improvements. There
could be a better coordination between relevant policies, sectors, countries and ministries, and these
concerted policies would strengthen the Eastern European “voice” towards Brussels. Furthermore, an
improved “connectivity” between hierarchical levels, across boundaries and between Brussels and
reality could be the result.
Other EU Instruments Relevant for Eastern Europe
The 6th Environmental Action Programme (2001-2010, 6EAP) – European Commission DG XI –
gives the direction to the Community´s environmental policy. It clearly sets out the objectives for the
next decade and determines the actions that will need to be taken within a 5-10 year period if those
goals are to be achieved. The new programme concentrates on four areas: climate change, nature and
biodiversity, environment and health and quality of life and natural resources and waste. This Action
Programme will also be reflected in all activities in accession countries.
This financial instrument for environment was introduced in 1992 and is one of the spearheads of the
European Union´s environmental policy. It co-finances projects in three areas:
• LIFE Nature actions aimed at conservation of natural habitats and the wild fauna and flora of
European Union interest, according to the Birds and Habitats directives. They support
implementation of the nature conservation policy and the Natura 2000 Network of the European
• LIFE-Environment actions, which aim to implement the Community policy and legislation on
the environment in the European Union and candidate countries. This approach enables
demonstration and development of new methods for the protection and the enhancement of the
• LIFE-Third Countries actions concerning technical assistance activities for promoting
sustainable development in third countries. This component of the programme enables a
management capacity of the environment, both for our administrative partners outside the
Union as well as within companies and the NGOs of these countries.
The PHARE Programme is currently the most important instrument for EU´s financial and technical
assistance with the CEE countries. The fundamental objective of PHARE in the accession countries is
to assist in their preparations for joining the EU. Assistance is channeled through the following types of
actions: institution building (around 30 per cent of all funding), which involves the strengthening of
democratic institutions, rule of law, public administration and all entities responsible for public services;
and the financing of investment projects (around 70 per cent), - of which a third is to be used to finance
measures in the environmental sector.
The ACE Programme is an integral part of the PHARE Programme and stands for Action for
Cooperation in the field of Economics. It is an EU initiative to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and
experience in economics and management science.
The TACIS Programme
Launched by the European Commission in 1991, the Tacis Programme provides grant-financed
technical assistance to 13 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and mainly aims at enhancing
the transition process in these countries. In the Carpathian region only Ukraine is eligible. When Tacis
was initiated, technical assistance was a stand-alone activity, whereas the programme is now part of a
complex and evolving relationship with each of the 13 countries concerned. Politicians and officials from
the partner countries and the EU meet now on a regular basis. With the implementation of the EU
enlargement process, Tacis also becomes a more strategic instrument in the co-operation process
between EU and partner countries. Areas of cooperation are institutional, legal and administrative
reform, private sector and economic development, consequences of changes in society, infrastructure
networks, environmental protection, rural economy, and nuclear safety.
The Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession (ISPA) is one of the three financial instruments
to assist candidate countries until they join the EU. ISPA provides financial support for investments in
the areas of environment and transport, in order to speed up the compliance of accession countries with
the European legislation currently in force in these two sectors. Its main objectives are to familiarize
accession countries with policies and procedures of the EU; to help the countries catching up with EU
environmental standards; and to expand and linking Trans-European transport networks.
The Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (SAPARD) aims to help
candidate countries deal with the problems of the structural adjustment in their agricultural sectors and
rural areas, as well as the implementation of the acquis communautaire concerning the CAP (Common
Agricultural Policy) and related legislation.
• The Carpathian Mountains are unique in a European and global perspective. They are
exceptional rich in terms of biological and cultural diversity, containing valuable habitats and
species, naturally functioning ecosystems and high landscape diversity. This natural capital
needs recognition and protection and should form the basis for a sustainable development
• There is an enormous traditional knowledge available both in terms of biodiversity conservation
and management of natural resources, as well as cultural heritage;
• All countries of the region are facing difficulties due to the transition from a centralized
Communist system to a free market economy. The development of civil society and the
integration with Western Europe means profound social changes for rural landscapes. Poverty
and unemployment rates are high and investments in infrastructure development are seen as
means for tackling these problems – unfortunately, often without considering sustainability
criteria. Probably the anthropogenic pressure has reached a critical limit;
• Increasing threats to biodiversity are foreseeable and predictable and there is the unique
chance for better planning and addressing these threats. Carpathian countries have the
opportunity today to decide what kind of development they want and to determine the level of
conservation they really want to achieve;
• There are no integrated approaches to mountain development. None of the countries has a
specifically dedicated national policy for the protection and sustainable development of
mountain areas in place;
• Weaknesses in the legal and institutional framework with respect to biodiversity conservation
and financial constraints are worsening the situation. Countries need adequate institutional
mechanisms for effective policy implementation;
• There is limited cooperation between all countries in managing their natural resources and
generally, insufficient coordination between policies, sectors, countries, and ministries;
• Some existing instruments related to biodiversity conservation have fostered some cooperation
and integration (e.g. the PEBLDS is the European response to the CBD having some direct
• With respect to the accession process, there is only poor coordination (or integration) between
policies and/or sectors. There is for example, the absence of a coherent policy framework for
sustainable agriculture and rural development to better incorporate environmental
considerations into economic activities and a lack of coordination between the pre-accession
• There are many lessons to be learned in applying the European Union´s policies in the region
and to prevent duplicating mistakes already made in Member States, e.g. CAP; therefore its
important to strengthen the consultation process in relevant programmes;
• Some governments have not made clear commitments to existing instruments. While happy to
speak about biodiversity, the topic remains a marginal concern. Biodiversity is an integral part of
sustainable development and has to have a prominent place on the political agenda;
• There is a wide range of developments, existing instruments, initiatives, projects and
programmes to which many or all of the countries are Parties too and the proposed Framework
Convention can build on those;
• Countries have to recognize the common responsibility to ensure the protection of their valuable
natural resources for the benefit of future generations and doing it together, would make it
• NGOs and other institutions can play a major role in implementing mountain policies;
• A permanent legal framework would provide a regional platform supporting the integration and
implementation of existing instruments. It would contribute to the implementation of biodiversity
related conventions, such as the CBD, as well as relevant EU legal acts and programmes, e.g.
• Furthermore, a Convention would offer a forum of cooperation and a framework supporting
programmatic activities of already existing or planned activities, providing mutual benefits. In the
context of the Pan-European Ecological Networks, this would harmonize the national networks
and keep the integrity of the Carpathian;
• It would be extremely complicated – or even impossible – to incorporate the protection of
characteristic Carpathian flora and fauna into an existing instrument, e.g. if the Annexes of the
EU Habitats and Birds Directives are not opened again to include species endemic to the
Carpathians. In this case, an agreement tailored specifically for the Carpathian mountains
would be a major benefit;
• This regional platform would also encourage international, regional, national and local
networking, facilitate communication between local EE expertise and relevant decision makers
in the West, e.g. Brussels, and to strengthen “the voice from EE countries towards the West”;
• A signed framework Convention is a political commitment to cooperate, and ensuring the
continuity of cooperation in future. Better cooperation means better coordination leading to
more effectiveness in natural resource planning and more effective policy integration;
• It would stimulate partnerships – the exchange of experience, the transfer of technology, etc. –
not only between countries concerned, but also with other mountain regions, like the Alps. First
steps of such a partnership have already been made and have been presented by the Italian
Presidency of the Alpine Convention and the Ukrainian Ministry for Environment and Natural
Resources at the WSSD. Such a Partnership would increase the regional capacity for achieving
sustainable mountain development;
• There is considerable potential to attract support – both financial and technical – from a wide
range of donors; especially, if there is a signed Convention in place and a jointly developed and
agreed implementation plan;
• A legal framework would help in institutional strengthening, as a convention could provide a
Permanent Secretariat, offering benefits for all countries. Generally, a regional collaboration will
contribute to increased stability through environmental cooperation in a multi-ethnic region;
• Besides all these benefits, there are also weaknesses and threats, which have to be
considered. The costs and the bureaucracy will put additional burden to the countries.
Therefore, fundraising activities at the international level will be necessary and innovative
funding mechanisms should be developed. Furthermore, there is also the possibility, that
political systems are changing and the political willingness to implement a Carpathian
Convention could decrease or even disappear. All these aspects have to be weighed against
the potential benefits.
8. General Recommendations
• Conservation approaches must be undertaken at a variety of scales – international, regional,
national and local – they must be coordinated and always be multi-disciplinary to ensure
• The needs of the people have to be taken into account – avoid strictly top-down processes.
Ensure that all those parties who have a stake in natural resources and whose activities affect
the region are in any form involved in planning and decision-making. Besides governments,
these are local authorities, political institutions, also the main economic and public sectors,
scientific institutions, NGOs, etc. There is the need for a mechanism which is capable of
promoting the participation of these stakeholders;
• The Framework Convention should be accompanied by an implementation plan (Carpathian
Action Plan) which contains precisely specified obligations for each of the sectors, commits all
key stakeholders to clear targets and responsibilities, promotes prompt actions by many actors,
provides suitable mechanisms for long-term funding, etc.
• Measures should be taken to integrate biodiversity concerns into all sectoral policies, such as
agriculture, forestry, and river basin management policies or plans, and to promote a
sustainable tourism as well as to enhance conservation in areas outside of protected areas;
• There should be coordinated regional inventories of species to ensure data compatibility and
better planning; jointly designed management and restoration plans;
• Essential is a coordinated approach to prevent the introduction, the control and the eradiation of
alien species which threaten the ecosystem, habitats, or species; generally, there is the need
for a coordinated scientific research approach;
• The development of effective biodiversity information systems, a clearing house mechanism
and monitoring programmes on the regional level would be extremely important;
• It is crucial to ensure public information on all planned and implemented actions, provide access
to information, invest in awareness raising, education and public participation;
• Considerations should be made for developing and adopting one or more Protocols related to
specific subjects, i.e. nature protection, sustainable local development, tourism;
• Establish a small, active Secretariat as a legal entity and ensure effective interim arrangements.
ACANAP – Association of Carpathians National Parks FRY – Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
ACE – Action for Cooperation in the field of Economies GEF – Global Environment Facility
AEP – Agri-Environmental Programmes GIS – Geographic Information System
AEWA – African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement GMO – Genetically Modified Organism
APELL – Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies HU – Hungary
at a Local Level ICPDR – International Commission for the Protection of
ASCIs – Areas of Special Conservation Interests the Danube River Basin
BGMS – Bishkek Global Mountain Summit (Kyrgyzstan, IEEP – Institute for European Environmental Policy
29 October – 1 November 2002) IFOMA – International Federation of Organic Agricultural
BSP – Biodiversity Support Programme Movements
CAP – Common Agricultural Policy IISD – International Institute for Sustainable Development
CBD – Convention on Biological Diversity IPPC – Integrated Pollution Prevention Control
CEE – Central and Eastern Europe ISC – Institute for Sustainable Communities
CEESA – Sustainable Agriculture in CEE Countries ISPA – Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-
CEI – Carpathian Ecoregion Initiative Accession
CEI – Central European Initiative IUCN – World Conservation Union
CEPA – Communication, Education and Public IYM – International Year of Mountains
Awareness Km2 – square kilometer
CDM – Clean Development Mechanism LANDEP – Ecological landscape Planning - Slovakia
CITES – Convention on International Trade in LCIE – Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora LHI – Large Herbivore Initiative
CLCP – Carpathian Large Carnivore Project LIFE – L´Instrument Financier pour l´Environment
CMS – Convention on the Conservation of Migratory LRTAP – (Convention on) Long-range Transboundary
Species of Wild Animals Air Pollution
CO2 – Carbon dioxid MAB – Man and Biosphere Programme
COP – Conference of Parties m.a.s.l – meters above sea level
CSD – Commission on Sustainable Development MCPFE – Ministerial Conference on the Protection of
CZ – Czech Republic Forests in Europe
DG – Directorate-General MEA – Multilateral Environmental Agreement
DPSIR – Driving Forces – Pressure – State – Impact MoU – Memorandum of Understanding
- Response MWFEP – Ministry of Waters, Forests and
DRPC – Danube River protection Convention Environmental Protection (Romania)
EA – Environmental Assessment NECONET – National Ecological network - Slovakia
EAP – Environmental Action Plan NGO – Non-Governmental Organization
EBMI-F – European Biodiversity Monitoring and OECD – Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Indicator Framework Development
EBRD – European Bank for Reconstruction and PA – Protected Area
Development PEBLDS – Pan-European Biological and Landscape
ECBC – Eastern Carpathians Biodiversity Conservation Diversity Strategy
Foundation REC – Regional Environmental Center for Central and
ECNC – European Centre for Nature Conservation Eastern Europe
ECONET – Ecological Network - Poland PEEN – Pan-European Ecological Network
EE – Eastern Europe PL – Poland
EEA – European Environmental Agency POPs – Persistent Organic Pollutants
EEC – European Economic Community RO – Romania
EECONET – European Ecological Network SAC – Special Areas of Conservation
EFICS – European Forestry Information and SAPARD – Special Action for Pre-Accession Measures
Communication System for Agriculture and Rural Development
EIA – Environmental Impact Assessment SAVE – Safeguard for Agricultural Varieties in Europe
EIB – European Investment Bank SEA – Strategic Environmental Assessment
EMAS – Environmental Management Systems SFM – Sustainable Forest Management
EMF – European Mountain Forum SK – Slovak Republic
EPCE – Environmental Partnership for Central Europe TEN – Trans-European Network
EPDRB – Environmental Programme for the Danube TINA – Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment
River Basin UA – Ukraine
EST – Environmentally Sustainable Transport UN – United Nations
EU – European Union UNCED – United Nations Conference for Environment
FAO – Food and Agriculture Organization of the and Development
United Nations UNDP – United Nations Development Programme
UNECE – United Nations Economic Commission of WB – World Bank
Europe WCMC – World Conservation Monitoring Center
UNEP – United Nations Environmental Programme WCPA – World Commission on Protected Areas
UNEP/ROE – United Nations Environment WHO – World Health Organization
Programme/Regional Office for Europe WSSD – World Summit on Sustainable Development
UNFCCC – United Nations Framework Convention on WTO – World Trade Organization
Climate Change WTO – World Tourism Organization
UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific and WTTC – World Travel & Tourism Council
Cultural Organization WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature
US – United States
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