BioNET’s position paper, with a primary focus on the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020, to help SEE countries achieve biodiversity conservation as part of the EU accession process.

Southeast Europe (SEE) has committed to biodiversity conservation as part of the EU accession process, and has signed the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for the most part. “The set of tasks within an international framework proves to be challenging for implementation. CSOs are capable and willing to play a more significant role in biodiversity conservation, as well as in discussions and decisions on biodiversity in SEE,” according to the BioNET.

BioNET members’ primary focus is on the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020, that offers a good framework for action aimed at protecting species, habitats, ecosystems and the services they provide “outside of EU borders” and its post-period ahead of us. The process included drafting the document and commenting by each of the 14 members, concluded by final adoption within the network.

“The position paper serves as a guiding document for negotiations and the establishment of cooperation with governments in the region and in the context of international development cooperation,” states BioNET.

Milka Gvozdenović, a senior advisor at Young Researchers of Serbia (Mladi istraživači Srbije – MIS), said that the BioNET position paper reflects opinions and needs of CSOs related to the strategic planning of biodiversity protection and numerous pressures to natural heritage. 

“The key messages are: the need for better cooperation – between countries, between CSOs and institutions, between different sectors; and the rule of law in biodiversity conservation – that is, political will and governmental responsibility in biodiversity protection, proper development and implementation of biodiversity protection laws, and access to justice,” she said.

“During the development of the position paper it has become evident that problems in nature protection and biodiversity conservation are common for all BioNET countries,” Gvozdenović noted.

The initiation of the idea is a result of a joint planning workshop held in February 2019 in Montenegro, where three BioNET members volunteered to steer the process. These CSOs are: Young Researchers of Serbia, the Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) and the Sunce Association for Nature, Environment and Sustainable Development from Croatia (Sunce – Udruga za prirodu, okoliš i održivi razvoj).

“BioNET welcomes open dialogue between governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector on biodiversity conservation as a first step toward successful cooperation,” according to the working group.

The position paper is envisaged to be presented to decision-makers in order to draw their attention to these topics. Additionally, it is envisaged to serve BioNET members in planning further action in the Western Balkans region.

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