11.12.2013 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Transboundary Cooperation. From Vision to Action

© Bomac - Fisherman's cabin at Lake Prespa

The sub-regional MAB workshop on “Transboundary Cooperation. From Vision to Action”, will take place in Pogradec, Albania, from 12-13 December 2013. The event is organized by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), within the framework of The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.

Transboundary cooperation offers UNESCO a new dimension for the development of its designated sites - both the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) and the Natural World Heritage (WH) sites - , and provides a tool for the co-management of shared ecosystems, of which Transboundary Biosphere Reserves (TBRs) are key catalysts.

Processes of establishing TBRs need to be facilitated as they are at a crucial moment when stakeholders require support and, communities and authorities need clarification of their expected engagement, responsibilities and benefits in order to move forward towards the designation processes and consequent implementation of key and interrelated functions of TBRs, such as: environmental conservation, research on human-environment interactions, sustainable development (SD), cultural identity and learning for a sustainable future in regional and global contexts.

The workshop aims to strengthen capacities of the concerned MAB National Committees (NCs) and those who shall ensure a proper in-situ management of the future TBR, as well as catalyse participatory processes to implement the key functions of the site while considering also a possible contribution to the implementation of the future strategy for the MAB Programme and its WNBR in the coming years.

The objectives of the  workshop are to convene a meeting of key actors and experts, as specified above, enabling them to share information, experience, lessons learnt and best practices in biosphere reserves management and transboundary processes to address current emerging challenges; to strengthen transboundary cooperation with a particular emphasis on bordering territories where transboundary water and associated ecosystems can be affected by unsustainable development due to different management approaches; and, to achieve a common understanding of institutional, legal and regulatory contexts in the implementation of the key functions of the TBR and catalyse the drafting of a joint strategy and related action plan.

The workshop programme is spread over two days. The first day will be restricted to MAB NCs representatives of Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The second day will be open to MAB NCs representatives as well as national and local stakeholders with a particular focus on the proposed TBRs – the Ohrid-Prespa Lakes Watershed, the Skadar/Shkodra Lake and the Osogovo Mountains.

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