Paris – More than six years from Ministerial Declaration on Establishment of Transboundary Biosphere Reserve „Mura-Drava-Danube“ (Gődőlo, Hungary, 2011), this international vision seams much closer. International Coordination Council of UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme has approved Bačko Podunavlje as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve at its 27th session in UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 14 June 2017. This task was led and carefully managed by dedicated Serbian conservationists and scientists and supported to large extent by their colleagues from four other countries in the future TBR MDD and coop MDD partners.
This is the second Biosphere Reserve in Serbia, the first being Golija-Studenica region, and has joined a global network of 669 reserves acknowledged by UNESCO. This is of great significance to the Serbia, as the „Man and Biosphere“ program not only promotes the concept of sustainable development, but shows it is possible in practice. This announcement will help conserve country’s nature, one of the most diverse in Europe.
This acceptance of Bačko Podunavlje is a very significant step in forming the Transboundary Biosphere Reserve “Mura-Drava-Danube”, the world’s first Biosphere Reserve spreading across five countries: Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria. Within the “Amazon of Europe”, thanks to the preserved river dynamic, floodplains, the existence of alluvial forests and numerous wetlands, many protected species of animals and plants have found their home. Among the rarest animals of this region are the white-tailed eagle, black stork, ferruginous duck, wild cats and otters.
„Sinergy of multiple stakeholders was proved to be very successful in this case. Nomination was prepared through extensive stakeholder consultation process and endorsed by state ministries, regional secretariats, sectors included in the use of natural resources and mayors of five local municipalities where Biosphere Reserve is located: Sombor, Apatin, Odžaci, Bač and Bačka Palanka. Finally, nomination was submitted to MAB by National Commission of Republic of Serbia for Cooperation with UNESCO of Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and afterwards closely „defended“ by ambassador Dr. Darko Tanasković, Head of Permanent Mission of Republic of Serbia to UNESCO and his associates“, said Marko Tucakov of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province, who was the coordinator of the nomination process on behalf of Institute and that has been declared as official management authority of the new biosphere reserve.
FACTS & FIGURES
Bačko Podunavlje Biosphere Reserve (the area along the Danube in Bačka Region) is located in NW Serbia, along the river Danube and along the state border between Serbia and Croatia. Situated mainly in recent and historical alluvial zones of the central Danube Floodplain (on its left bank), influenced primarily in its natural development by the Danube waters (frequent floods) and later by intensive human activities, the Biosphere Reserve today is a mosaic composed mainly of remnants of historic floodplains and man-made landscapes influenced by agriculture and human settlements.
Bačko Podunavlje Biosphere Reserve in numbers:
Total size: 176.635 ha
Number of permanent inhabitants: 147.405
Number of seasonal inhabitants: approx. 15.000
Number of human settlements: 26 (five municipal centres/towns and 21 villages)
Bačko Podunavlje Biosphere Reserve contains three zones:
- Central zone (11.242 ha)
- Buffer zone (45.744 ha)
- Transitional area (119.649 ha)
3 FUNCTIONS OF BIOSPHERE RESERVE
The Bačko Podunavlje is home to: 1000+ species of vascular plants, 57 fish species, 11 species of amphibians, 9 species of reptiles, 270 species of birds, 60 species of mammals and many species of invertebrates. Many species are on the IUCN Red List or are important on national and international levels.
The main natural values of proposed Biosphere Reserve are concentrated in existing protected areas:
- Gornje Podunavlje Special Nature Reserve (RAMSAR site – internationally important wetland, Important Bird Area, Important Plant Area, Primary Butterfly Area, candidate – Special Protected Area),
- Karađorđevo Special Protected Area (Important Bird Area, candidate – Special Protected Area),
- Tikvara Nature Park and Junaković Forest Nature Monument,
- National Ecological Network along the rivers of Danube and Mostonga.
The area has potential to serve as a site of model region for promoting sustainable development. The forestry in the area has already a certified system of production of timber (FSC certificate). Another sustainable economy is tourism, relying on large and available natural potentials. Eco-tourism is offering the most significant options for visitors, but rural tourism, nautical tourism, horseback riding, sport and recreational fishing, hunting, free bathing and cycling tourism are also important. Gornje Podunavlje Special Nature Reserve was granted with The European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas (ECSTPA) in 2014.
Thanks to favourable surroundings and three university centres in near vicinity (Novi Sad, Osijek and Pecs), as well as proactive scientific and expert community, the area is site for large number of research projects, initiatives and actions, many of them financed by IPA Cross-border cooperation programs and Danube Transnational Programme of European Union.