Bridging the gap

June 10, 2014

International Green Belt conference offers unique chance for transboundary cooperation

Greennet1During the final GREENNET conference, the results of the three-year EU-funded project, a GREENNET Charter and a cross section of European best practice examples to secure and develop the Green Belt were presented. The Green Belt is the valuable ecological network along the former Iron Curtain – Europe’s outstanding natural and cultural heritage. International experts and local stakeholders discussed various aspects of nature conservation, land use and regional development in the Green Belt regions.

About 70 participants from 10 European countries joined the Third Scientific and Final Conference of the GREENNET project ‘Perspectives for biological and cultural diversity along the European Green Belt’ organised by the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, the Thuringian Association for Rural Development and the BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany). During the two-day event, the results of the transnational project, including a charter outlining the joint commitment of project partners from six Central European countries for the further protection and development of the Green Belt, were presented and discussed with international experts and local stakeholders in the fields of agriculture, nature conservation, spatial planning and regional development.

Jurgen Gnauk, Thuringian Minister of Federal and European Affairs, and Pia Bucella, Director of the Natural Capital Directorate at the European Commission’s DG Environment, opened the international conference, emphasising the importance of European transboundary cooperation and the need for local stakeholders to develop and implement suitable methods and concepts for the sustainable development of the Green Belt regions. Based on the slogan “bridging the gaps” the GREENNET project developed, in close cooperation with local stakeholders in six pilot regions, a toolbox of methods and strategies for securing the Central European Green Belt in unprotected areas and for dealing with land-use conflicts. The REC's country office in Slovakia, one of the project partners, was tasked with the pilot area Northern Weinviertel (AT), Southern Moravia (CZ) and Jarovce Rusovce (SK), and with leading GREENNET communication activities.

During the conference, various good practice examples were shared with regions along the entire European Green Belt, which runs for 12,500 kilometres from the Barents to the Black Sea and connects 24 states. Participants underlined the importance of the Green Belt as a central part of a future green infrastructure zone across the whole continent that delivers necessary ecosystem services for people and nature.

This project is implemented through the CENTRAL EUROPE Programme and co-financed by the ERDF.

Click here for further information about the GREENNET project.

Project partners: Association for Rural Development Thuringia (Germany), BUND-Project Office Green Belt; Friends of the Earth Germany (Germany), Austrian League of Nature Conservation Styria (Austria), Ametyst - Environmental Protection Association (Czech Republic), REC Slovakia (Slovakia), C.E.T.A. - Centre for Theoretical and Applied Ecology (Italy), University of Applied Sciences Erfurt (Germany), University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna (Austria), Goricko Nature Park (Slovenia), Austrian League of Nature Conservation Lower Austria (Austria), Regional Management Burgenland GmbH (Austria).

Lead Partner: Association for Rural Development Thuringia (ThLG)