The Guiding Principle aims to give recommendations on how to further develop the Pan-European network of protected areas. The goal of the paper is to point out to regions along the European Green Belt (EGB) in the Danube Region, where the ecological connectivity and therefore the functioning of the Green Infrastructure network should be enhanced in the future. It is supposed to serve as a foundation for future planning processes and decision making that takes the concept of TEN-G into account.
With this Guiding Principle the aims and goals of the European Green Belt Initiative as a whole and especially of the stakeholders in the Danube Region should be substantiated and supported. These are expressed in the so called “Eisenach Resolution” that was adopted by the participants of the 10th Pan-European Green Belt Conference on 16-18 October 2018. Among others the Resolution expresses the support of the European Green Belt Initiative to the EU Strategy on Green Infrastructure. The Commission here states that GI should become an integral part of spatial planning.
As the Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission states in its Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 (COM/2020/380/final) it is crucial for the EU to extend the share of protected areas of the land surface to at least 30%. The focus of the designation of new protected areas, the strategy says, should be laid on areas of very high biodiversity value or potential. The Commission further stresses out the importance of the establishment of ecological corridors to create a Trans-European Nature Network. These ecological corridors are crucial for the prevention of genetic isolation, migration of species and thereby maintain functioning ecosystems. The Commission follows thereof that support and promotion of Green Infrastructure as well as cross-border cooperation. As it was shown in the R+D Project “European Green Belt as part of European Green Infrastructure“, funded by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, the European Green Belt does serve as a backbone of a transnational ecological network on a European scale. This fact is widely recognised on the EU-level. The European Green Belt is e.g. part of the Commission´s publications “Guidance on a strategic framework for further supporting the deployment of EU-level green and blue infrastructure” and “Strategic Green Infrastructure and Ecosystem Restoration: geospatial methods, data and tools”.
The Guiding Principle documents decribes integrative data basis & analysis approach that was used, as well as a way of designation of “Areas of Action”, that are regions with a crucial role for the further development of connectivity along the European Green Belt in the Danube Region. The most important part of the document is the chapter “Future Steps and Recommondations”. They are the main subject of the document - guiding principles to be considered within planning processes on regional, national and transnational level.
The Guiding Principle publication is available here.