As part of the Danube-Carpathian ecoregion, the local environment is rich in natural forests and wetlands, the protection of which are fundamental in the conservation work. WWF Hungary is now operating as part of the Danube Carpathian Programme Office since 2015.
Active initiation of close-to-nature forest management, wetland restoration, sustainable agriculture and rural development with the benefits of local communities, as well as preservation of protected and endangered habitats and species such as the eurasian lynx and the grey wolf are also involved in our work. Reducing the impacts of climate change with awareness raising, partnerships, mitigation and adaptation is a significant pillar, while environmental awareness and education is also an important role of WWF Hungary.
We work closely with national parks, conservation authorities, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, business representatives and the local population.
Some achievementsOn field
Working together with more than 8 other countries in the region, WWF Hungary has successfully put in place several biodiversity conservation programmes in wetland and grassland areas, involving local communities; helping them to develop renewable energy resources and improving the quality of their drinking water. These programmes also allowed for the protection of certain species.
- Tisza river conservation project - Setting up sustainable economy and conservation model with socio-economic benefits
- Increasing awareness of natural values while diversifying local income streams, and restore wetlands while biomass heating has been launched
- 90 tons of CO2 emission and 55,000 m3 gas redeemed, while 90 hectares of floodplain has been restored
- The project received the appreciation of Greenovation Award in 2015
- See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUkWLnXIbcU
- Liberty Island, restoration of a side arm of the Danube and an island
- Financed by EU Life programme and in cooperation with government agencies and private sector , the side-arm river previously blocked by a dam is now connected once again to the main course of the river, resulting the nature habitat and species to redeem the area
- Contribution to an improved quality of drinking water source
- See the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtZk3wLnHIk
- Steppe Oak Woods
- Implementation of a comprehensive conservation project in the largest sand steppe woodland on the Great Hungarian Plain.
- Regional Energy Concepts in Central Europe
- Assessment of the energy supply and demand, aiming to develop a renewable energy focused regional energy strategy in one of the poorest rural areas
- Climate proofing the Danube Delta through Integrated Land and Water Management
- A 3 year-long EU financed project to develop a climate change adaptation strategy covering the three countries of the Danube Delta, UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to local communities and unique flora and fauna, in which hungarian expertise has been channeled to the region for the development of a reed-to-bioenergy among Ukrainian rural communities at the area
- Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve
- Working with partners to establish the largest wetland across 5 European countries with harmonized management plan
- Resulting in the protection established in 2012 for the Hungarian and Croatian areas
- Reintroduction of the beavers
- First successful mammal re-introduction program in Hungary
- 12-year-long program (1996-2008) resulting in more than 500 beavers in Hungary by 2008
Policy-Advocacy and campaigning
WWF Hungary is constantly working on its advocacy strategies, through policy lobbying and campaigning. Keeping in mind the well-being of local communities as well as hindering any potential dangers to natural habitats and its wildlife through strengthened legal framework, WWF Hungary has created several campaigns and opposed draft bills that would have impacted in nature degradation.
- Campaign for establishing the zoning system in Nature Parks
- Preserving the Csarna Valley – flagship of the campaign: Protection of one of the remaining untouched forests by WWF in 2012 to avoid logging activities
- Using the area as a flagship to campaign for the legal framework of zoning system in national parks that was finally announced in 2013
- Sustainable Forest Management
- In 2009 WWF Hungary managed to include a specific paragraph about protected forest management into the national legislation which ensured the sustainable management of 300,000 hectares of Hungarian forests
- Hindering the expansion of the Mátrai power-plant
- In 2009 WWF Hungary prevented the extension of Mátrai power-plant, Hungary’s biggest coal-fired power plant by active lobby work and by developing a study proving that the planned investment was neither economically nor socially and environmentally feasible. As a result, the government cancelled the building of the new 500 MW block avoiding emitting 3 million tons of CO2 per year
- Implementing Water Framework Directive for the Danube river basin
- Thanks to continuous policy work in Hungary, Danube river basin management plans include measures, which meet ecological criteria, and may have chance to improve hydro-morphological status of rivers
- Day of Hungarian Nature
- In 2014 November, WWF Hungary initiated a national coalition with Birdlife Hungary and Friends of the Earth Hungary and aimed to strengthen the legislative and institutional framework of Hungarian conservation. As a result, a dedicated day for the Hungarian Nature was established and celebrated on 22 May 2015, and then in 2016.
In order to create as much awareness as possible, WWF Hungary has also set up several events to educate the greater public:
- The Big Jump for awareness concerning the Danube river
Organized by WWF Hungary since 2008, recently this European initiative was extended. In 2015 and 2016 WWF Hungary challenged the settlements by organizing their own events. All together 15 towns and villages answered the call with various and very creative “little jumps„ in both years
- Earth Hour
WWF Hungary has been organising Earth Hour in Hungary since 2009. with Celebrities, fancy locations, concerts, partnering up with over 400 institutions & companies every year; 70-100 municipalities joining, launching city challenge since 2012
- Green Generation (2015-2016)
talent management where pupils become ambassadors for sustainability with a creative, open mindset. It received the award Greennovation in 2016.
- “Plants” education programme (2013-2014)
Thematic environmental awareness classes and competition
- Climate KICS SUSCO Youth Forum (2015)
Conference on sustainable development
- Climate Change Tour and Water Footprint roadshow
- Raising awareness on energy saving, sustainable water management and footprint reduction in 7 countries, led by WWF Hungary (2008-2012)
- Living Danube Tour (since 2014)
- Interactive roadshow where water issues are put forward (30 stops in 6 different countries)
WWF Hungary is working together with companies on renewable energy, sustainable local biomass & bioenergy production, sustainable mobility and environmental education, energy efficiency issues:
- Yves Rocher
- International Investment Bank
Other ongoing projectsContinuous cover forests in Buda Hills – pilot site of continuous cover forest management (selection system) with nature trails. Nature trails can be found inside the borders of Budapest, near to easily accessible touristic points of interest. As a symbolic location of Buda Hills, Normafa became a pilot site, the ‘green bastion’ of the capital city. In order to assess the environmental threats posed by a proposed skii centre, WWF Hungary started a field project to survey the old trees at Normafa.
Wildlife research in the Carpathians – Research on birds, bats and insects of the forests in North Hungarian Mountains, in coopertion with universities, national parks and forest companies.
Turjanland – Restauration of forests and meadows, conservation of natural values of a 7300 ha shooting range, in the middle of Great Plain, which has been used for military purposes for more than 100 years.
Life in Forests – Renewal and harmonization of forest management methods in Natura 2000 forest in Hungary, in order to protect natural values more effectively.
Hindering a fossil based development at World Heritage site – A campaign against a planned lignite mine in the north-east of Hungary has secured the only UNESCO Nature World Heritage site in Hungary – the Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst in Aggtelek National Park. Other ongoing efforts to carry out lignite mining activities nearby are jeopardizing the unique natural habitat, including the freshwater resources.
Large carnivores in forests – lynx, wolf and bear are native species of Hungary, hunted to extinction, but now returning. WWF Hungary supports their research, raise awareness to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, and protest against illegal shooting.
Old-Drava project, LIFE for Natura 2000 – With the help of the European Union’s LIFE programme’s financial grant, a 4-year-long project started in 2014 to protect one of the oxbows of the Drava, one of Europe’s treasure troves of biological diversity. The project aims to improve the water supply of the oxbow and the condition of the narrow, but very valuable forests on the floodplain, cross-border in Hungary and Croatia.
Read more about us: http://wwf.hu/en/wwf-hungary