In 1998, WWF initiated the Carpathian Ecoregion Initiative (CERI) – a platform of NGOs and institutes working for the conservation of the globally important Carpathian Mountains.
Led and supported by WWF, CERI produced a pathbreaking study on the Status of the Carpathians – the first comprehensive assessment of the region, including evaluation of biological diversity as well as pressures from development as well as proposed priority areas for protection.
The report was followed by a Carpathian List of Endangered Species. Both set the foundations for following government efforts to protect the region.
The Summit on Environment and Sustainable Development in the Danube-Carpathian region, organised by WWF and the Romanian government in Bucuresti in 2001, brought together 18 heads of state from the region.
The high-level summit led eventually to the establishment of the Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians, which was signed in 2003 in Kyiv and came into force in 2007.
WWF has been particularly involved in development and implementation of aspects of the convention related to biodiversity protection, closely supporting establishment of the Carpathian Network of Protected Areas as well as the elaboration of the Biodiversity Protocol.
Implementation - policy and economy
In the run-up to accession of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Romania to the European Union, WWF was closely involved in supporting preparation and implementation of key EU legislation and programming, including the Natura 2000 network of specially protected sites and programming for related use of EU agriculture, rural and regional development funds.
A new focus for WWF’s efforts in the region is on actively promoting sustainable development across the region. The Carpathian Opportunity, initiated by WWF in 2007, seeks to promote a "conservation economy" in the Carpathians, creating "More business, More jobs, More nature".
By working with businesses, government leaders and local stakeholders, the Carpathian Opportunity will accelerate investment and business activities that have a net positive impact for the environment and place social equity high on the agenda
Contact: David Strobel, WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme