The European Green Belt - a Pan-European initiative
The Green Belt Europe has quickly met with great approval and found many supporters in the 24 countries involved. The main shared objective, of protecting and developing the Green Belt as a core zone of a pan-European network of habitats for endangered animals and plants, is a challenge for cross-border cooperation at all levels.
In three main regions, regional coordinators initiate and accompany cross-border activities and projects together with local partners:
The Green Belt Fennoscandia (Norway, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) is supervised by the Association of Zapovedniks and National Parks of Northwest Russia.
The BUND-Project Office Green Belt has taken over coordination for the Green Belt Central Europe (Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy).
The Green Belt South Eastern Europe (Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, FYR Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey) is supported by Euronatur.
In the bordering countries, "National Focal Points" authorised by the relevant state institutes for Nature Conservation, vote for activities on a national level.
The basis for the international cooperation is a Programme of Work (PoW) established in 2004/2005, which is being successively implemented. The Green Belt Initiative wants to set up a great many projects and tasks. There are already examples of these: In the first EU-sponsored project for the Green Belt Central Europe, with 17 partners from 8 different countries, the current status of the habitat network was recorded by means of a "gap analysis" (deficits). In addition the potential for an environmentally compatible traffic development was analysed, such as the preparation of thematic cycle paths. A homepage in seven languages, and extensive publicity material provide information about the Green Belt.
The IUCN recorded all the available data on protected areas and land usage on the Green Belt. Sponsored by the BfN and the German Federal Foundation for the Environment, data was processed from all countries bordering the Green Belt. Maps and databases are available at www.europeangreenbelt.org.