On December 2nd 2020, representatives from WWF-CEE, WWF Romania and CEEweb participated in the roundtable meeting of the Steering Committee of the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas (CNPA) on behalf of ConnectGREEN. The aim of the meeting, which took place virtually due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, was to harmonise the activities related to the CNPA, in particular the work conducted within the Interreg DTP ConnectGREEN and Interreg CE Centralparks projects, and the outcomes of the sixth Conference of the Parties (COP6) of the Carpathian Convention, which took place on 25 November.
The CNPA was founded in 2006 and its central aim is the promotion of sustainable and conservation in the Carpathian region. It plays in important role in representing the needs of protected areas before national, regional and international organisations and authorities and supports the implementation of the Carpathian Convention by creating linkages between these protected areas. In recognition of the international nature of the Carpathian Mountains, the CNPA strives to facilitate cross-border cooperation in order to achieve greater ecological connectivity throughout the mountain range and enhance environmental protection in the entire biogeographical region. The aims of the CNPA therefore closely align with those of ConnectGREEN, which is why the project team is collaborating closely with all the actors involved.
Figure 1.: Logo of the CNPA © CNPA
The CNPA Steering Committee, which met on December 2nd, is charged with supervising the work of the CNPA, assessing the progress and addressing the challenges the network might face. The meeting was moderated by the interim chair of the Steering Committee of the CNPA, Mircea Verghelet, Director of the Piatra Craiului National Park in Romania.
As Poland has assumed the Presidency of the Carpathian Convention, Bożena Haczek from the Polish Ministry of Climate and Environment, made the opening remarks, thanking the Carpathian Convention Secretariat as well as the Centralparks and ConnectGREEN projects for supporting the organisation of the meeting, and noting that it constituted the first meeting under the new Polish presidency since the COP6.
Harald Egerer, on behalf of the UNEP Vienna-Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention, then proceeded to highlight the important role of the CNPA within the Carpathian region and the opportunity offered by the Centralparks and ConnectGREEN projects to furthering the cause of biodiversity conservation in the Carpathians.
The meeting then offered participants the opportunity to jointly look into the outcomes of the COP6, which includes some important tasks for the CNPA in the months ahead, notably contributing to the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. While successful implementation will no doubt require extensive effort on behalf of all involved, it also provides an opportunity to actively push for a realisation of the CNPA, which can serve as a new and leading example of a fruitful network of protected areas, not just for Europe but all around the world.
The next CNPA Steering Committee Meeting will be held in Brno, Czech Republic, on 21-25 June 2021 as part of the 6th Forum Carpaticum. This will be followed by the CNPA Conference, which will coincide with the final conference of ConnectGREEN, held in Visegrád, Hungary, on 28-30 of September 2021.