• WWF-Romania: Maramures Mountains Natural Park providing environmental services worth 128.4 million lei a year

    The environmental services provided by the forests in the Maramures Mountains Natural Park are worth 128.409 million lei a year, according to the latest studies conducted by WWF-Romania under the Solidaron project funded by a grant extended by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

    “Over the past year, the costs and benefits provided by nature to the humans have been assessed and quantified to support the development of a methodology for compensations to forestland owners in strictly protected areas. In Romania, the main reasons for the loss of biodiversity are ecosystem degradation following unsustainable development, fragmented habitats, unsustainable hunting and fishing practices, the absence of information about and education in the need for nature conservation. Environmental services comprise all benefits, assets and resources we receive from nature and which benefit us individually as we use them to conduct business, to build wellbeing and economic development,” WWF Romania says in a press statement released on Monday.
    WWF-Romania says that an assessment has been also performed over the past year, as well as a quantification of costs and benefits of forest and aquatic ecosystems categories, as well as of the environmental services related to them along with the management costs borne by the direct beneficiaries in the Maramures Mountains Natural Park as a pilot area in order to improve the relevant legislative framework.

    Among the recommendations of the organisation are developing a fair methodology to reflect the real price of water as genuine resource, the principle of polluters as well as beneficiaries pay, granting incentives for efficient use of water resources. At the same time, the computation should also take into account environmental aspects, with the price to be flexible and meant to recoup costs while also preserving the aquatic regions in a good ecological state. In the case of forest areas, compensations are advised to be paid to forestland owners in the areas where restrictions have been set in place on wood exploitation for protection, as well as other payments from European funds for Natura 2000 sites where economic activities are restricted under management plans.

    “Under this innovative project, through a participative process, we have developed fair financial mechanisms and legislative proposals that support nature and humans alike; for sustainable management of ecosystems in protected areas, a fair financial mechanism should exist that will take into account the contribution of suppliers and users of ecosystem services when such assets of public interest provide by nature are being secured,” says WWF-Romania Project Manager Alexandra Puscas. More…

  • Cyprus and other Mediterranean countries join forces for smart growth

    Regions from Cyprus and nine other Mediterranean EU member states, as well as from three candidate countries join their forces to promote smart and sustainable growth, in the framework of the 2014-2020 MED transnational cooperation programme.

    According to a relevant announcement, the European Commission adopted today the programme, worth more than €275 million, with €224 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). A further €9.3 million has been allocated to the programme from the EU`s Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA).

    The programme will promote cooperation between regions from 10 EU Member States (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, UK – Gibraltar) and 3 candidate countries (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania).

    Among its main priorities are boosting innovation through collaboration between SMEs, public authorities and research bodies, investing in the low-carbon economy, protecting natural and cultural resources, and biodiversity, as well as enhancing Mediterranean governance through cooperation projects.

    The programme aims to foster innovation of public and private actors in green and blue growth sectors, raise the capacity for better management of energy in public buildings increase access and use of sustainable transports systems and improve by 10% the level of sustainability of tourism in MED coastal regions.

    The launch of the programme will take place on June 23, in Marseille, the announcement concludes.


  • DESTINATION: ROMANIA/Lunca Muresului Natural Park (Arad County), a biodiversity paradise

    The Lunca Muresului Natural Park, located on the inferior course of Mures River, between the dams built on each side of the river and its high terraces, is a biodiversity paradise in a relatively confined area. The massive number of protected species of plants, as well as the over 200 bird species nesting in the park give a plus scientific value to the area, currently protected through a great number of domestic and international treaties. More…