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Management of Alytus-Grodno Region Transboundary Protected Areas and Promotion of their Integration into Pan-European Ecological Network

2013-02-14 - 2014-12-31

On 14 February 2013, the grant contract agreement was signed for the implementation of the Action entitled „Management of Alytus-Grodno Region Transboundary Protected Areas and Promotion of their Integration into Pan-European Ecological Network". The grant is financed from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument  in the framework of the Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus Cross Border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013. More about Programme

Project Lead Partner: Public institution Nature Heritage Fund (Vilnius, Lithuania)


Partners: Belarusian State University (Minsk, Belarus); Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno (Grodno, Belarus); Administration of Dzūkija national park and Čepkeliai strict nature reserve (Marcinkonys, Varėna district, Lithuania)


Associates: Grodno Regional Committee of Nature Resources and Environmental Protection (Grodno, Belarus); State Environmental Institution "Republican Landscape Reserve "Ozery" (Ozery village, Grodno district, Belarus); State Environmental Institution "Republican Landscape Reserve "Kotra" (Pervomayskaya village, Shchuchin district, Belarus); Žuvintas biosphere reserve (Aleknonys village, Simnas, Alytus district, Lithuania); Veisiejai regional park (Veisiejai, Lazdijai district, Lithuania); State Service for Protected Areas under Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania (Vilnius, Lithuania)

Problem: The protected areas of Alytus-Grodno region, including its biggest strict protection Čepkeliai-Kotra transboundary Ramsar site, are an integral part of one of the most valuable large complex of forests including these of Dainavos (Lithuania), Grodno (Belarus) and Augustów (Poland) forests, totaling to 1600 km2. At present day, there is no unified approach towards nature conservation in this terrain, as there is no compatibility in laws and regulations, policies related to resource utilization versus its protection, regional and local development policies. Achieving ecological coherence in Europe cannot be achieved by one country alone. The European Transboundary protected areas are of significant importance providing opportunities for greater migration of species, maintenance of landscape connections, allowing animals, plants, and ecological processes, to move freely from one habitat to another.

Objectives: The ultimate goal of the action is to foster sustainable development of the region and enhance protection and maintenance of biological diversity, as well as natural and associated cultural resources through unified approach, coordinated planning and protected area development, identification and promotion of common values, involvement of local stakeholders and communities. The primary aim of the partners is to improve joint strategic planning and management of Čepkeliai-Kotra transboundary, Ramsar site as well as lay the grounds for establishment of transboundary biosphere reserve within the framework of UNESCO's Programme on Man and the Biosphere by fostering cross-border cooperation, elaboration of standardised methodologies, harmonisation of regulatory framework, joint research, and facilitated know-how and experience exchange.  

Results & Outputs: As a result of the project, the following outputs will be achieved:

  • a common methodology for management of trans-boundary protected areas will be elaborated;

  • a concept for establishment of transboundary biosphere reserve will be prepared and consulted with relevant stakeholders;

  • knowledge and capacities on the planning process of protected areas will be increased; 

  • cooperation advanced between Lithuania and Belarus; 

  • management of transboundary protected area of Alytus county-Grodno oblast is going to be improved through elaboration of common nature management plan for Čepkeliai-Kotra Ramsar site;

  • the natural values of the territory will be promoted with the help of marketing materials.


Project number:

LLB-2-175

Grant Contract number:

1S-117

Total budget:

284 834 €

EU contribution:

256 350,60 €

Implementation period:

22 months (02.2013-12.2014)

Contact:

Lina Jankauskienė
A. Vivulskio str. 41-113, Vilnius LT-03114, Lithuania
+3705 2058322+3705 2058322; l.jankauskiene@gpf.lt


Project outputs produced:

Comparative analysis of legal acts governing protected areas of Lithuania and Belarus (in Russian language).

A common methodology for management of transboundary protected areas (in Russian language).

Management plan for Čepkeliai-Kotra transboundary protected area (in Russian language). Supporting maps (species, habitats, management areas, infrastructure, monitoring) and tables (Čepkeliai species and habitats, Kotra species and habitats).

Druskininkai-Grodno transboundary biosphere reserve concept paper (in Russian language). Supporting maps (basemap, zoning map).

Publication "From Mara to Kotra. Discover protected areas of Lithuania and Belarus" (in Russian and Lithuanian languages).


 

Project news:

 

Final Project Event in Liškiava, Lithuania

On December 10-11, 2014, representatives of project partners', associate partners', and major stakeholders gathered to discuss project achievents, outputs that were produced, challenges faced during implementation period, as well as, perspectives of regional cooperation in implementation of objectives of Ramsar Convention,  promotion of tourism in Grodno-Alytus region, and potential for joint  future initiatives. Conference participants emphasized the importance of outputs produced as directly contributing to nature preservation in the area and highlighted the many benefits transboundary cooperation generated. Comparative analysis of legal acts in the sphere of protected areas in Lithuania and Belarus, common methodology for management of transboundary nature protected areas, joint management plan for Čepkeliai-Kotra Ramsar site, concept paper for establishment of transboundary Druskininkai-Grodno biosphere reserve had laid solid grounds for promotion of sustainable development in the region. A bilingual publication produced by joint project team, called “From Mara to Kotra. Discover protected areas of Lithuania and Belarus” as well as supplementary map were presented, inviting to discover protected areas of Grodno region and Alytus County and highlighting nature and culture values. Positive atmosphere, partnership and fruitful collaboration demonstrated by the project, were highly appreciated by all institutions involved, commitment to future cross-border initiatives reassured.

Conference agenda and photos ofthe event.

 

Consultative Grodno Seminar and Study Visit to Nature Protected Areas of Grdono Region

Held on October 8-10, 2014, seminar time was devoted to fine-tune and finalize outputs produced, including biosphere reserve concept paper, methodology for management of transboundary protected areas, Čepkeliai-Kotra joint management plan, publication about protected areas of Alytus-Grodno region. A number of presentations and working discussions were conducted with reference to the problematics of integration of transboundary protected areas of Lithuania and Belarus into Pan-European ecological network, the role of regional authorities and governmental institutions, public awareness raising and involvement of local population into protected area planning and management, potential for region’s tourism development, protection of nature and cultural heritage in Ponemanie region.  Seminar participants took advantage and visited Grodno puscha and Augustow canal as well as spotted objects of region’s historical and nature heritage.

Meeting agenda and photos of the seminar.

Reflection of the project in national newspaper "Гродзенская праўда" (in Russian language).


Project Partners' Meeting and Consultative Seminar in Ozery, Grodno region, Republic of Belarus

On September 24-26, 2013, project partners' meeting and consultative seminar was held in Ozery, Grodno region, Republic of Belarus. Event was organized and hosted by project partner - Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno. Its objective - to conduct a consultative seminar on management of transboundary protected areas while focusing on unified approach to biodiversity monitoring and data exchange in protected areas of Alytus-Grodno region, elaboration of background structure for Cepkeliai-Kotra management plan, detailing basic points for concept paper of transboundary Druskininkai-Grodno biosphere reserve as well as to discuss advancement of project implementation and problematic aspects. Participants visited "Kotra" and "Ozery" landscape reserves, familiarized with their natures values, tourism infrastructure, management, challenges faced. Meeting and seminar was attended by representatives of project partner organizations - Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno, Public Institution Nature Heritage Fund, Belarusian State University, representatives of project associate partners - Grodno Regional Committee of Nature Resources and Environmental Protection, State Environmental Institution "Republican Landscape Reserve "Ozery", State Environmental Institution "Republican Landscape Reserve "Kotra", State Service for Protected Areas under Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve, Veisiejai regional park, as well as National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Belarusian Research Institute of Land, Management, Geodesy and Cartography.

Meeting agenda (in Russian language) and photos of the event.

Reflection of the seminar in national newspaper "Народная Газета" - новости Беларуси, and internet site of Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno Faculty of Biology and Ecology (in Russian).

Consultative Partners' Meeting on Analysis of Legal Acts

On 29-30 August, 2013, a consultation regarding report on legal acts analysis was held in Minsk. Meeting was important for discussing draft version of the report - problematic aspects, comments, suggestions, explicate information. Structure and basic points for elaboration of Čepkeliai-Kotra management methodology were talked over. In parallel, a consultation with Belarus partners' finance managers was conducted to discuss project financial management issues.

Draft version of Legal analysis report (in Russian language).


Study Tour to Protected Areas of Alytus County (Žuvintas Biosphere reserve, Meteliai Regional Park)

On 10-12 July, 2013, a study tour to Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve and Meteliai Regional Park was organized for representatives of project partners' and associate partners' organizations. The objective of the study tour was to demonstrate Lithuanian experience in implementation of European environmental directives in protected areas, show real practice examples that are important in the light of implementation of the project, present the nature and culture values of the region and its particularities. It also served as a platform to discuss project activities and management aspects, exchange experiences, discuss commonalities and differences in nature management policies of Belarus and Lithuania, form a basis for unified nature management measures and planning on both sides. A network of contacts was established to foster collaboration between Lithuania and Belarus including wide representation of specialists - scientists, planning professionals, practitioners, protected area managers, as well as protected area, landscape and territorial planning experts, biologists, zoologists, etc.. Study visit was attended by representatives of project partner organizations - Public Institution Nature Heritage Fund, Belarusian State University, Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno, as well as representatives of project associate partners - Grodno Regional Committee of Nature Resources and Environmental Protection, State Environmental Institution "Republican Landscape Reserve "Ozery", State Environmental Institution "Republican Landscape Reserve "Kotra", Belarusian Research Institute of Land, Management, Geodesy and Cartography, Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve.

Study tour agenda and photos of the event.


Project Inception Meeting in Veisiejai

During 27-28 May 2013 a project inception meeting took place in Veisiejai (Padumbliai homestead). Meeting was committed to familiarization with project goals, expected results and outputs to be produced, modus operandi, sharing responsibilities among partners, workplan and priority actions, etc. It served for getting to know to each other, creating a basis for networking, sharing contacts, common work interests. Representatives from project partner and associate partner organizations took an active part in initial project event.

Meeting agenda and photos of the event.

Reflection of the meeting in internet site of Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno Faculty of Biology and Ecology (in Russian).

 

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