Our protected areas are the main conservation tool and can be a driving force for Romania’s economic development. In Romania protected areas now cover almost 25% of the country’s territory, including stunning landscapes, virgin forests and unrestrained rivers, grasslands of inestimable wealth and harmonious villages.
On 15th and 16th May 2019, ProPark – Foundation for Protected Areas organised the “Regăsește România” conference, in collaboration with Foundation Conservation Carpathia. This year’s edition was an open invitation to the private sector to contribute with conservation leaders to the change we want to see in protecting nature. The conference highlighted the importance of protected areas as a reference and a model for Romania’s economic development and concluded that in order to manage the protected areas so as to bring the desired benefits to society, a public-private effort is needed to secure funds for conservation and real support for local economic growth.
Foundation Conservation Carpathia has facilitated the workshop “Enhancing the Management of Protected Areas for the benefit of local communities“. The dialogue was opened and moderated by Daniel Bucur, Protected Area Specialist and Project Manager of our Foundation. The 16 participants from the workshop have developed a series of solutions and proposals for community development, based on sustainable use of resources. Thus, local communities around protected areas must be able to decide, together with administrators, how to develop their communities by preserving nature. As a result, we need a legal framework that allows participatory management and encourages efficient and effective management, for the benefit of the entire society. Another very important issue discussed was encouraging investment in local businesses by launching entrepreneurial support programs to encourage and support “green business”, businesses created to support biodiversity conservation while generating long-term profit for locals and financial contribution to the management of protected areas.
A proper management of natural values would change the local economy, so an intensive dialogue is needed to create new opportunities in the area.
Developing partnerships with the business environment through which we secure conservation funds and real support for local economic growth is an initiative and a long-term goal to be implemented. The ultimate goal: an efficiently managed network of protected areas, a network that contributes to biodiversity conservation and to sustainable development of local communities. This will be possible only by coordinating the efforts of all the relevant sectors of the Romanian society.
(c) Csiszar Barna