Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Local Sustainable Development in the Western Balkans

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Local Sustainable Development in the Western Balkans

Source of funding


Name of client/donor

European Centre for Nature Conservation (ECNC)

Overall project value

EUR 761,850


February 2009 – December 2011

Beneficiary countries

South Eastern Europe

Number of staff


The project contributed to the delivery of the Millennium Development Goals and to the fight against poverty by stimulating decentralisation and the sustainable use of natural resources.

The project aimed to promote a comprehensive and integrated approach to biodiversity and ecosystem services for the sustainable development of rural municipalities and local communities in the Western Balkans, as part of an effort to reduce the downward spiral of poverty, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation and to increase overall human well-being within the wider context of ensuring regional peace and stability.

The drafting of local biodiversity action plans (LBAPs) involved stakeholder participation, capacity building, communication and awareness raising; the identification of pro-biodiversity business opportunities; and the development of partnerships. The project was implemented by the European Centre for Nature Conservation (ECNC) and the REC, with the substantial involvement of local stakeholders.

Project activities included:

  • developing LBAPs in 10 selected municipalities in order to achieve community goals and improve quality of life;
  • setting up working groups and coordinating local planning processes in partner communities;
  • strengthening the planning capacities of local communities to address their environmental problems though participatory processes involving civil society, thus fostering increased trust and commitment on the part of the public;
  • assessing and prioritising biodiversity and nature protection issues in partner communities;
  • co-financing priority projects in partner municipalities; and
  • organising specialised training on biodiversity action planning and the financing of environmental projects for local authorities and other key stakeholders.


The project led to an increased understanding of key issues and players within local interrelationships between biodiversity, ecosystem services, climate change, sustainable development and poverty reduction. Communities that develop LBAPs become champions of change for sustainability in the region, providing an opportunity for other communities to replicate their LBAP and ecosystem service experience.

  • Strategic support
  • Administrative support
  • Assessment
  • Cooperation and networking
  • Training and capacity building