ECO KARST project is making a great progress towards sustainable development of karst areas in Danube region. A first round of workshops in pilot areas has started and the first country to initiate the local participatory approach in ecosystem services valorisations was Hungary.
Bükk National Park, one of the ECO KARST pilot regions, organized the first workshop on June 5, 2018, in Eger. The main objectives of the workshop were to inform the relevant stakeholders in Bukk region about the ECO KARST project, present the most relevant ecosystem services existing in Bukk as well as to identify promising business development opportunities from the region. National Park team invited around 50 stakeholders from the Bukk region and finally, 32 stakeholders participated at the whole-day workshop.
The workshop was opened by György Dudas, a deputy manager of BNPD who greeted all participants and guests from Slovenian Forest Services and Global Nature Fund. He emphasized the significance of biodiversity and the natural values of Bukk National park.
Ana Bordjan and Udo Gattenlöhner joined the workshop on the behalf of the ECO KARST project team. Ana Bordjan, a communication manager of the ECO KARST project, introduced stakeholders to ECO KARST project, while also explaining the multiple role of Slovenian Forest Services.
„During the workshop in Bükk National Park I was happy to see stakeholders communicating with each other and with Bukk NP about the priorities for sustainable development in their area. It gave me a feeling that we are building a common good for the future generations” – said Ana Bordjan from Slovenian Forest Services.
Morning session continued with Andras Schomtzer’s presentation of the preliminary results of the project so far produced by experts during the mini-workshops.
More insight in Pro Biodiversity Businesses (PBB) term and motivation to launch a Pro Biodiversity Business, participants received from Udo Gattenlöhner. Gattenlöhner talked about the main principles of PBB and showed some of the best PBB practices in the world.
Morning session was concluded with filling GAP analysis questionnaire about the potential for the development of Pro-Biodiversity Businesses in Bükk. Four relevant topics indicated by stakeholders were chosen based on the questionnaire results: 1. Hiking and sport, 2. Birdwatching & Environmental education, 3. Grasslands, 4. Food from natural materials.
In the afternoon session, participants worked in four separate groups, discussing one of the four topics identified in the morning session. Each group had a half an hour to discuss their topic; analyse it and try to find opportunities to other businesses. Work in groups was performed using the ‘World Café’ methodology. This way, group members could choose another group and discuss new topic with different participants, following the same principle as in the previous group.
Finally, each group presented their results and the facilitators closed the workshop by indicating the first results and setting out the course for next workshops, scheduled for October, 2018.
All stakeholders agreed that there is a high need for regular meetings where they can discuss important topics for the area where they live and work. Some of the stakeholders also emphasized the significance of awareness increasing when it comes to sustainable development in protected areas.
Organizers and Lead partner are extremely satisfied with the organization and results of the first workshop and grateful to all participants willing to contribute to sustainable development of the Bükk National park.
Photo credits: Udo Gattenloehner & Attila Kozma