The Danube PES Project: E-bulletin, December 2012

Danube PES project logos.  rel=
Danube PES project logos.
Nacionalni Park Djerdap (Srbija)
© Boris Erg
This project promotes and supports land managers who help us sustain the benefits that we all get from nature. The project is implemented by the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme with the financial support of the GEF through UNEP and the European Commission.
Irene Lucius, WWF DCPO / ©: WWF
Irene Lucius, WWF DCPO
Dear readers and supporters,

I would first like to take you back to the hot month of July when our team passed a comprehensive external evaluation of project activities in the first two years of project implementation. We were happy to work with an outstanding and enthusiastic professional, Mr. Nigel Varty. As proof of our efforts, we got a Satisfactory rating together with a pack of valuable recommendations. In the autumn, the long awaited report on the carbon sequestration capacity of the natural ecosystems in Rusenski Lom Nature Park and the study of PES feasibility in Serbia were completed and I strongly recommend them. Cooperation with local people in pilot sites also began to bear fruit. In Maramures, local tourism companies together with WWF started drafting a strategy on showcasing the natural values of the area to tourists. In Rusenski Lom Nature Park, nine local companies and NGOs signed a Memorandum of understanding on supporting ecosystem services. New potential for business cooperation began to evolve in Persina pilot site. The team continues to explore opportunities for funding start-up costs of the scheme there. And while waiting for the results, we’ve had several meetings with the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water, asking for coordination of project activities in Persina.

I hope you enjoy this newsletter. We will be happy to get your feeback and comments.

Happy holidays and a Happy New Year on behalf of our team!

Irene Lucius, Project Director

Latest news


Bulgarian nature park contributes to climate change mitigation

The Danube PES project, Rusenski Lom nature park. / ©: WWF / Veselina Kavrakova
The Danube PES project, Rusenski Lom nature park.
© WWF / Veselina Kavrakova
A new study conducted by environmental consultancy Denkstatt as part of the Danube PES project has calculated the carbon stored in the forests of Bulgaria’s Rusenski Lom Nature Park and assigned an economic value to the saved carbon emissions. Read more


Rusenski Lom Nature Park, Bulgaria.  / ©: Alexander Ivanov
Rusenski Lom Nature Park, Bulgaria.
© Alexander Ivanov
An initiative for responsible tourism in Rusenski Lom Nature Park, initiated by the team behind the Danube PES project, has brought together representatives of the tourist sector operating in the area. Read more

Payments for ecosystem services feasible for Serbia

 / ©: Boris Erga
Nacionalni Park Djerdap (Srbija)
© Boris Erga
According to a new report commissioned by WWF, recent laws in Serbia have made possible the use of some basic Payments for ecosystem services mechanisms. The laws, which regulate the use of natural resources, pave the way for the innovative environmental economics concept, which WWF is pioneering in the Danube region.

Romanian team contributes to rural development

 / ©: M.Gunther, WWF
Agricultura traditionala, Muntii Carpati, Romania
© M.Gunther, WWF
The Environment and Green Infrastructure Thematic Work Group coordinated by WWF Romania has come up with a solid set of recommendations which will be sent to all relevant public institutions in order to contribute to a better integration of the “environment” component within the next Rural Development National Programme in Romania (2014-2020).

Environmental needs to be integrated in rural development policy in Romania

European black pine (Pinus nigra) forest in mist. This tree is endemic to the Domogled National ... / ©: Michel Gunther / WWF
European black pine (Pinus nigra) forest in mist. This tree is endemic to the Domogled National Park, Romania.
© Michel Gunther / WWF
The WWF Romania team has discussed with experts from the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry opportunities for a better integration of environmental needs with the Rural Development National Programme in Romania (2014-2020).

Criteria for designation of ecotourism destinations launched in Romania

 / ©: Emil Pop
© Emil Pop
The Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism and the Romanian Ecotourism Association have launched the criteria for designation of ecotourism destinations in Romania. The criteria have been elaborated with support from WWF Romania and will benefit the Maramures pilot scheme. 

Impact of aquaculture measures tested at Ciocanesti

 / ©: Cristina Munteanu
© Cristina Munteanu
Testing has started of the impact of aquaculture measures on water quality at the Ciocanesti pilot site. The measures were elaborated during the feasibility study stage. A consultant was hired to monitor water quality over a one year period. 
Read the full stories here.  

Featured interview


Linking nature protection and sustainable rural development

Yulia Grigorova, WWF Bulgaria  / ©: WWF
Yulia Grigorova, WWF Bulgaria
WWF’s Yulia Grigorova is the Project Manager for Bulgaria of the Danube PES project. In 2012 she joined another PES project in Bulgaria. “Linking Nature Protection and Sustainable Rural Development” will be implemented by a consortium of six Bulgarian NGOs – among which WWF, four Swiss NGOs and the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Here Yulia explains how her experience from the Danube PES project is already benefiting her work on the second PES project.
The project “Linking Nature Protection and Sustainable Rural Development” has been designed to contribute to the sustainable development of areas with high ecological value in Bulgaria. WWF is one of six partners in Bulgaria and we will be responsible for the Payments for ecosystem services component. We will be promoting the ecosystem services approach within the project as well as valuing the ecosystem services of the pilot areas and proposing PES schemes. 

Our experience gained so far with the Danube PES project has been invaluable. It’s thanks to this experience that we have been able to develop guidelines for valuation of ecosystem services in Bulgaria. Also, we have so much experience of developing the PES schemes in Rusenski Lom and Persina Nature Park, as well as much experience in working and communicating PES to local people.

Working directly with the farmers, micro and small and medium size enterprises that depend on natural resources for their income generation, we will establish self-sustaining models for sustainable, economically and socially balanced development.

The project as a whole aims to mainstream nature protection objectives into the political, economical and social agenda of the society in Bulgaria. We want to show how the underdeveloped rural regions can enhance their status by boosting sustainable development. We also want to provide effective tools and mechanisms to manage potential conflicts between the ecological and economic factors.

WWF will be looking for sustainable solutions for funding of biodiversity management through valuing of ecosystem services, testing models to introduce voluntary contributions for use of protected areas, and providing capacity among park administrations to implement the new models through training and motivating park administrations to encourage and facilitate the development of pro-biodiversity businesses.

Last but not least, this project will contribute to resolving the challenges of the 21st century, concerned with the growing population and the increased demand for use of nature resources. The tools and mechanisms that will be developed will guarantee the long term protection of vital ecosystems, such as open grasslands and forests and will make an important contribution to the global effort in climate change mitigation, watershed protection, preserving landscapes and biodiversity conservation.

The first steps for the WWF project team will be to select and value suitable ecosystem services. We envisage to have three pilot sites – Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park, Bulgarka Nature Park and Western Stara Planina protected area. We will develop a report on all sites. We will also identify all PES schemes in Bulgaria and develop criteria for selection of a minimum of five PES core schemes. We will also develop a methodology for calculation of the selected PES schemes.
Working for the benefit of nature and people in the Danube-Carpathian region

WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme
Ottakringer Strasse 114-116
1160 Vienna, Austria
Tel.: +43 1 524 54 70-0
Fax: +43 1 524 54 70-70

This project is implemented by the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme with the financial support of the GEF through UNEP, and of the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of WWF.

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