Support of the "Carpathians Unite” project for international consultations and cooperation towards the implementation of the Carpathian Convention

The project "Carpathians Unite - mechanism for consultation and cooperation for the implementation of the Carpathian Convention" supported the work of three international Working Groups of the Carpathian Convention, composed of experts delegated by the Ministries responsible for the biological and landscape diversity, spatial planning / development, and cultural heritage of the Carpathians.

Two meetings of the Working Group on cultural heritage and traditional knowledge were organized in Poland under the "Carpathians Unite” project, in cooperation with the Convention Secretariat:

  • in May 2013 in Krynica, where the meeting participants, during an ad-hoc organized site visit, managed to see several wooden churches (one of them inscribed a month later to the World Heritage List - more information: Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine)

(more information on the meeting in Krynica at the Convention website)

  •  in September 2013 in Orelec, where the meeting was held in the interior of the antique wooden former Greek Catholic church built approx. 1740, cleaned up and prepared for the WG meeting as a result of the local community initiative (more information on the meeting in Orelec at the Convention website)

mgr dziedzictwo krynica13  Orelec 01
     Photos: Małgorzata Fedas, Ekopsychology Association;  Zbigniew Niewiadomski, UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre

The topic of both meetings of this Working Group was the proposed new thematic Protocol (on cultural heritage) to the Carpathian Convention, which first draft was elaborated in the framework of the project "Carpathians Unite".

Article 4.6 of the Carpathian Convention obliges the Parties to “take appropriate measures to integrate the objective of conservation and sustainable use of biological and landscape diversity into sectoral policies (...)”. Furthermore, pursuant to Article 5.1. of the “Biodiversity” Protocol “the Parties shall take into consideration the objectives of this Protocol in their other policies, in particular on spatial planning and land resources management (...)”.

On 26 September 2014 the 4th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP4) to the Carpathian Convention welcomed the idea, proposed by UNEP/GRID-Warsaw, of organizing a joint meeting of the Carpathian Convention “Biodiversity” Working Group with other relevant WGs, with the objective to discuss and propose possible activities on ecological connectivity, green infrastructure and landscapes in the Carpathians (Decision COP4/1.9). The concept of organizing joint meetings of different thematic WGs was inscribed into the new Programme of Work of the Carpathian Convention.

Less than a month later, on 22-24 October 2014, for the first time in the history of the Carpathian Convention, a joint meeting of the two international Carpathian Convention thematic Working Groups (WG on conservation and sustainable use of biological and landscape diversity, and the WG on spatial planning/development) was held in Kluszkowce (Poland), organized under the "Carpathians Unite” project in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention.

 The purpose of this meeting was to enhance possible synergies and encourage both working groups to undertake joint or coordinated activities, taking into account that spatial planning is one of the basic tools for the protection of biological and landscape diversity (see also the article "Spatial planning for the implementation of the Carpathian Convention").

Thus, the meeting in Kluszkowce marked the beginning of a new, more comprehensive policy approach for the implementation of the Carpathian Convention, where issues related to conservation and sustainable development can be discussed by experts representing not only ministries responsible for environment, but also those responsible for other sectoral policies.

(for more information in English on the meeting in Kluszkowce please visit the website of the Convention).

Spatial planning is commonly perceived indispensable for the maintenance and restoration of the green infrastructure (GI), which is explicitly emphasized by the European Commission:

In practice, one of the most effective ways of building a Green Infrastructure is through spatial planning. This enables interactions between different land uses to be investigated over a large geographical area. Strategic level spatial planning will help to:

  • locate the best places for habitat enhancement projects (e.g. involving restoration or re-creation of habitats) to help reconnect healthy ecosystems, improve landscape permeability or improve connectivity between protected areas;
  • guide infrastructure developments away from particularly sensitive nature areas and instead towards more robust areas where they might additionally contribute to restoring or recreating GI features as part of the development proposal; and
  • identify multi-functional zones where compatible land uses that support healthy ecosystems are favoured over other more destructive single-focus developments.

Building a Green Infrastructure for Europe. European Union, 2013