Preserving the valuable transboundary ecosystem requires
wise conservation efforts.
The Transboundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve will combine the cluster of thirteen protected areas along the Mura-Drava-Danube region and jointly manage the shared river ecosystem in a sustainable manner while boosting economic growth and development in the region.
The Biosphere Reserve concept defines about 300,000 hectares of core and buffer zones
(existing protected area network) and around 700,000 hectares of transition zones
. The core zone
is the ecological backbone of the reserve. It primarily covers the river and floodplains areas which are mostly situated within flood control dikes.
The goals and measures in the core zone are pre-dominantly focused on the preservation of natural habitats, species and processes as well as the restoration of already degraded areas. The buffer zone extends along the rivers outside the inundation zone. It is characterised by a mosaic of cultivated land and village areas and also contains some smaller detached zones like oxbow lakes, fish ponds and small wetlands. Extensive agriculture such as cattle grazing, hay making, organic production, local products marketing and ecotourism are some of the key activities in this area. The outer transition zone provides regional economical and scientific support to the buffer zone. The majority of towns and universities are situated within this area.
Green light for the Transboundary Biosphere Reserve
In order to preserve the Mura-Drava-Danube area, WWF, EuroNatur and their conservation partners and alliances have endeavoured to form a Transboundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve “Mura-Drava-Danube” (TBR MDD). On March 2011, in the Hungarian town of Gödöllő, near Budapest, in an act of great environmental leadership and transboundary cooperation, the Ministers responsible for environment and nature conservation
of Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia signed a joint declaration to establish the reserve. The joint declaration was
founded in the preliminary bilateral agreement between Croatia and Hungary from 2009.
The EU Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, advocates the initiative because it “perfectly fits into the biodiversity objectives
of the EU and the Habitats and Birds Directive”. The initiative is also part of the EU Danube Regional Strategy, the regional basis for future EU funding priorities.