The Fifth ECO KARST Steering Committee meeting was held from 4th to 7th March 2019 in Sarajevo. The event was attended by all project partners from 7 different countries. The meeting was organized jointly by the Cantonal Public Institution for Protected Natural Areas Sarajevo and Center for Energy, Environment and Resources - CENER 21.
The main objective of the meeting was to resume the project progress, by presenting the current state of deliverables as well as to create plans for the future activities related to the Final event and Common Strategy Development.
The participants were introduced to the meeting with a stunning ECO KARST short movie, showing people and nature thriving together in 7 protected areas involved in the project. Since CENER 21 was responsible for delivering this result, the occasion and location was perfect for presenting their deliverable. All project partners expressed their great satisfaction with the ECO KARST short movie. The short movie was followed by the brief presentation about Bijambare Protected Landscape.
The program officially started on Tuesday, March 5, wherein Mr. Damir Filipović, the Minister for Spatial development, Construction and Environment Protection of Canton Sarajevo held a welcome speech. Mr. Osman Delić, director of the Cantonal Public Institution for the Protected Natural Areas Sarajevo, said he was grateful to welcome ECO KARST partners in Sarajevo and expressed his gratitude for a successful collaboration over the 2 years.
Mrs. Vida Ogorelec, highly experienced facilitator guided participants through the workshop for the Common Strategy for Sustainable use of Ecosystem Services in karst. Dynamic activities and team work resulted with concrete and extremely useful input for the Common Strategy development task ahead of ECO KARST team for the next few months.
The first day of the programme ended at the top of the Nature monument Trebević, where participants enjoyed in one of the most beautiful views in Sarajevo. This was also the opportunity for all participants to take a ride with the cable car, re-established after more than 20 years in Sarajevo.
A second day of the programme was fully devoted to natural values and pro-biodiversity businesses operating in Bijambare Protected Landscape. Visitors had a chance to learn more about the management and biodiversity of the protected area. They visited the famous Bijambare cave and were lucky enough to see the water accumulation in the form of a beautiful lake, which usually disappears during the spring and summer. ECO KARST team was thrilled to visit one of the pro-biodiversity business operating in the wider area of Bijambare Protected Landscape, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Company Halilović Halilović d.o.o is a family business founded in 1983 that cultivates medicinal and aromatic herbs, cereals and vegetables in an area of 150 hectares, at an altitude of 1,000 meters above sea level. Under the brand “Liliya”, it produces medicinal and aromatic herbs, teas, essential oils and decorative items. After the traditional lunch in Ilijaš, the group seized the day and visited the Nature monument Vrelo Bosne that is also managed by the Cantonal Public Institution for the Protected Natural Areas Sarajevo.
„I enjoyed hiking in Bijambare Protected Landscape very much, I think this is a beautiful landscape with an impressive biological diversity. I believe that visitors highly appreciate recreational and picnic areas in the protected area. In my opinion, the development potential for the Bijambare Protected Landscape lies in the development of cooperation with regional tourism companies for guided hikes, the development of cycling and hiking tourism as well as the development of a common quality label“, said Regina Buchriegler from the Kalkalpen National Park.
The event organized in Sarajevo has been a great success. The organizers and participants were very satisfied with the organization and facilitation as well as the results presented by all project partners. For the next few months, ECO KARST team will be focused on the developing of the Common Strategy and will meet again during the Final event scheduled for June 2019 in Slovenia.