09.07.2006 -

Joining efforts to secure the long-term conservation and sustainable development of Dinaric Arc

The Dinaric Arc is a region of south-eastern Europe with a surface of approximately 100,000km2 and more than 6,000km of coastline, encompassing the whole region facing the eastern Adriatic Sea, from the area of Trieste (Italy) to Tirana (Albania). It includes portions of Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, FYR Macedonia, and Albania. ITALY during the initiative progress.

Present and future challenges

Over the last twenty years the countries of the Dinaric Arc have experienced periods of high instability, conflicts, economic crises and transition towards a market economy and European integration. Environmental policies and institutions have suffered a long period of eclipse and are now being rebuilt, although with varying results. The whole region is currently undergoing rapid economic development, and the need to generate income and improve living standards, especially in rural areas, is leading to the growing exploitation of natural resources. Development is both a threat to and an opportunity for the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the Dinaric Arc.
Among the major current and future threats are: illegal logging, deforestation, poaching, river damming and diversion, unregulated coastal development, unregulated exploitation of marine resources, unsustainable use of agricultural land and pastures.
A complex governance system, the unsatisfactory level of enforcement of existing laws, and a widespread lack of capacity are limiting factors and additional challenges to the sound development of the region.

Two years of DAI

DAI recently celebrated its second birthday with a very satisfactory record of work and achievements. Since its foundation,
DAI has added value to the work and programmes of all its partner institutions, but it has also been the framework for the development of new, joint programmes. “DAI labelled” initiatives led by one or more DAI partners have occurred, including: harmony in the development of towns and their natural surroundings: Kotor and its bay, and Dubrovnik and the and breeding grounds for cetaceans, sea birds, and marine turtles.
• Training course ‘NGO Capacity Building in Networking and Communication’, Skhodra (AL), October 2005,organized by IUCN
• ‘Biking the Balkans’, an initiative to promote a regiona network of local sustainable development experiencesin South-East Europe, June/July 2006, organized by UNESCO-BRESCE
• International workshop ‘Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity – Programme of Work on Protected Areas in the Dinaric Arc countries’, Belgrade, March 2006, organized by WWF and IUCN
• International training for MAB Biosphere Reserve Stakeholders in South-East Europe, Virpazar (CG) and Shkodra (AL), October 2006, organized by UNESCO-BRESCE.

In the autumn of 2005, DAI fostered the event ‘Lake Skadar international designations for Territorial Development’, which was attended by the Prime Ministers of Albania and Montenegro and contributed to the designation of a protected area on the Albanian side of lake Skadar/Shkodra. DAI partners are now working to develop a joint framework for the transboundary management of this exceptional territory, unique in Europe.

DAI partners are also engaged in the development of the initiative’s first joint field project: ‘The territorial management of Karst Poljes — the case of Livanjsko and Sinjsko Polje’, a multi-purpose action framework to conserve the outstanding natural and cultural heritage of some of the world’s most important karst habitats, while promoting rural development and the equitable sharing of the resources of the region amongst its population.


Giorgio Andrian
Assistant Programme Specialist - Environmental Unit

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