Implementing an international mountain convention: an approach for the delimitation of the Carpathian Convention area
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What has to be considered when delimiting a cross-border mountain convention area? For the first time researchers from the European Academy of Bolzano addressed this issue and elaborated a homogenous transnational approach for the scope of application of the Carpathian Convention. The study of the Institute for Regional Development was commissioned by UNEP and discussed in several Ad Hoc Expert Meetings in Bolzano. It aims at a scientific support of the process of decision finding of the seven Member States. The delimitation of the scope of application is of great relevance as it defines the areas which can benefit from the actions of the convention. The main objectives of the convention are "sustainable development" and "protection". The build the basis for a step-wise approach. In a first step, international criteria from the EU of technically approved methods were combined with available Carpathian-wide data. Consequently, a rough draft delimitation was defined by considering the aspects: mountain area, nature protection, extensive land use, less-favoured areas, and natural landscape factors. In a fine-tuning step, the rough draft was adjusted to the local situation and adapted to administrative borders. The consideration of administrative aspects facilities the implementation of the convention goals. The study is a pilot project for the delimitation of a mountain convention area. Due to its transparency and the flexible integration of the main aspects of the Carpathians Convention and the reference made to international requirements, it may be of help to other trans-border conventions as a tool in defining their application areas. The Carpathians are a mountain range in the southeastern part of Central Europe and cover about 210,000 km² (˜ area of the Alps). Spreading widely northwards and southwards, the extend in an arc for ca. 1,450 kilometres from Bratislava in the Slovak Republic to the Iron Gate in the valley where the Danube breaks through near Orsova in Romania. They possess a remarkable natural and cultural heritage and represent a unique ecosystem with an exceptionally high biological diversity. A considerable number of endangered animals, particularly megafauna (e.g. brown bear, wolf, lynx), and close to 4,000 endangered plant species as well as large virgin forest areas, can be found in the Carpathians; the account for 30% of the total European flora.
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