Posted on 05 September 2018
EU project identifies solutions for transport and environment
Bratislava, 5 September 2018. Infrastructure development plans for the Carpathian countries aim to cover the region with a dense web of roads and railways. But the natural richness of the area may get trapped and isolated in this web. To prevent this, the TRANSGREEN project brings together road builders, environmentalists, key experts and decision makers who can influence and improve the way infrastructure is developed, in order for nature to keep functioning just as efficiently as new transport routes in the area.
The “Sustainable Transportation Planning in the Carpathians” conference organised through the TRANSGREEN project in Bratislava on 5-6 September 2018 will bring together a wide array of decision makers and practitioners from transport planning to environment from across the Carpathian countries and beyond to discuss expert solutions, policy initiatives and commitments to integrated transport planning.
The gathering will be addressed by Slovak Minister of Environment László Sólymos, State Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Construction of Slovakia Ladislava Cengelová, Secretary of the Carpathian Convention and local representative of UN Environment Harald Egerer, among others.
“Sustainable transport represents a major challenge for today’s rural and urban environments, and this is particularly true for the sensitive mountain regions of the Carpathians”, explains UNEP representative Harald Egerer.” The Carpathian Mountains host a very rich diversity of fauna and flora and harbour many species that are increasingly threatened by fragmentation from infrastructure development. Roads, railways, hydropower dams and energy transmission lines as well as intensive agriculture and forest management challenge the sustainable management of the Carpathians’ fragile mountain ecosystems and natural resources. As infrastructure grows, it is important to find adequate solutions that balance conservation with growth and that ensure building in the most sustainable way possible. The Transport Strategic Action Plan, under development within TRANSGREEN, will support Carpathian countries to go in this direction”.
“We are now, in a way, writing the history of the way we look at transport,” says Hildegard Meyer, manager of the TRANSGREEN project which is hosting the Bratislava conference. “We strongly believe in the need for a network of modern and well-distributed roads and railways in the Carpathians. But to be truly modern means to have a holistic picture of transport infrastructure planning and make sure it integrates the needs of humans and nature alike. We need to avoid planning roads through areas with exceptional biodiversity and seek for the best solutions in other natural areas, so that projects integrate green infrastructure into transport infrastructure as much as possible. To this end, we need good technicians for the technical solutions based on nature conservation research results. This meeting is truly ground-breaking and will foster the cross-sectoral cooperation”.
The conference will deliver in a number of results, including consultation on draft guidelines on stakeholder engagement in integrated transport planning that will be used by the countries in the Carpathian region; and elaboration of the Carpathian Convention Strategic Action Plan on Sustainable Transportation in the Carpathians, which is planned to be adopted by signatory countries of the Carpathian Convention. The document will establish the basis for practical implementation measures through the Protocol on Sustainable Transport to the Carpathian Convention.
Beyond these policy results, the gathering is expected to establish a pool of expertise involving practitioners and national authorities on integrated transport planning.
The TRANSGREEN project (Integrated Transport and Green Infrastructure Planning in the Danube-Carpathian Region for the Benefit of People and Nature) aims to contribute to safer and environmentally-friendly road and rail networks that are being developed in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. TRANSGREEN means a better connected Carpathian region with transport infrastructure that takes nature into account.
Project co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Overall Budget: 2.481.321,16 euro. ERDF Contribution: 2.109.122,95 euro
About the Carpathian Convention
The Carpathian Convention is the only multi-level governing body for the entire Carpathians. It is also the second sub-regional, treaty-based regime worldwide for the protection and sustainable development of a mountain after the Alpine Convention. The seven parties to the convention are the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, the Slovak Republic, and Ukraine. Signed in May 2003 in Kyiv, Ukraine, the Carpathian Convention entered into force in January 2006. It aims to protect and sustainably develop the Carpathians by improving the quality of life, strengthening local economies and communities, and conserving natural values and cultural heritage. The Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention is based at UN Environment Office in Vienna.