Posted on 17 June 2019
Improving Long-Term Local Livelihoods in Parallel with Biodiversity Conservation along the Danube River
FairWild, GMO-Free Soy and Black Slavonian Pigs
The LENA Project
showcased different opportunities that can improve local livelihoods and create long-term benefits for local communities, while at the same time using the Danube Region’s rich biodiversity in a sustainable way and conserving it for future generations. In total, three types of “natural capital actions” were implemented across Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. Their main aim was to reduce perceived trade-offs between nature conservation and economic development
. During the project, strong transnational partnerships were established to share knowledge of natural and agricultural production and value chains.
Utilising wild plants, sustainably harvested in protected area buffer zones
Boosting the potential of legal and responsible commercial fishing and direct marketing
- Harvesting of wild plants for commercial use has a long tradition in the Danube-Carpathian Region, and presents a great opportunity to local communities that live in biodiverse rural areas. The pilot activities focused on engaging local communities in wild harvesting activities through capacity-building workshops and trainings based on the FairWild Standard. This standard was specifically developed for wild plant collection and trade, and is widely recognised as the best voluntary code of practice addressing ecological, social and economic requirements.
- 169 participants engaged in 8 capacity-building workshops and trainings on sustainable wild plant collection in 4 countries;
- Final lessons learnt publication describing the trans-regional approach and FairWild methodology used; and
- FairWild Standard and Performance Indicators available in Bulgarian, Serbian and Slovenian languages.
Markets for Danube fish in Bulgaria and Romania are underdeveloped, financial capital is lacking, and illegal activities such as poaching and fishing out of season are common. In order to tackle these issues, we worked with fishing families and communities for income diversification, supported the establishment of local physical markets for direct fish sales, and held capacity-building workshops for local fishermen.
Completing sustainable agriculture value chains
- 101 fishermen trained on good practices, financial opportunities and direct marketing in Bulgaria and Romania;
- 2 trans-border meetings with participants from both countries and the fishery agencies from Bulgaria and Romania discussed traditions and the differences in local legislation. They also established a cross-border fishermen network;
- Analytical reports on legal frameworks, good practices, ecological carrying capacity as well as lessons learnt; and
- Information material for fishermen in Bulgarian and Romanian.
A number of production, marketing and capacity-building activities were implemented with the goal to demonstrate viable and ecologically sustainable options for food production and agricultural value chains from protected areas
. These included producing and marketing ecological-suitable crops like non-GMO soy
and animal species such as the black Slavonian pig
, as well as creating local brands for added product value
. Seven producers/companies currently use the Comana Nature Park (RO) certified product label
(3 cereal, 2 vegetable and 2 honey producers), and 46 black Slavonian pig breeders participated in special trainings concerning the implementation of the "
Meat of Black Slavonian Pigs“ mark of origin.
Best practices in Danube Soya Standard sustainable non-GMO soybean production were disseminated to more than 500 local farmers and stakeholders along the feed and food value chains. Awareness of Danube Soya non-GMO certification and labelling
was raised, giving “face” to local farmers and bringing identity to locally produced soybeans
The international Interreg Danube Transnational Project-funded Local Economy and Nature Conservation in the Danube Region
(LENA) worked with 11 protected areas covering more than 375,000 ha and more than 14 Natura 2000 sites
. The sites were chosen based on outstanding natural values and untapped potential for sustainable economic use. The project covered approximately half a million people, most of them living in communities with low income (monthly income ranging between 200 and 500 EUR) and struggling with out-migration and ageing populations.
The broad partnership coalition implementing LENA (17 partners from 9 Danube countries
) supported and strengthened joint and integrated approaches and policies for the conservation and sustainable use of protected areas, in particular in Natura 2000 sites along the Danube and its tributaries. It created new income opportunities in the nature-based economic sector and up-scaled impact across the region.
For more information:
Zsombor Aradszki,Communications Officer,