UNESCO declares world’s first 5-country biosphere reserve in ‘Amazon of Europe’

  • The UNESCO September 15, 2021, designated Mura-Drava-Danube (MDD) as the world’s first ‘five-country biosphere reserve’, according to a statement by the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature.
  • The biosphere reserve covers 700 kilometres of the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers and stretches across Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia.
  • The total area of the reserve — a million hectares — in the so-called ‘Amazon of Europe’, makes it the largest riverine protected area on the continent.
  • The WWF statement noted that the new reserve “represented an important contribution to the European Green Deal and contributes to the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy in the Mura-Drava-Danube region.”
  • The strategy’s aim is to revitalise 25,000 km of rivers and protect 30 per cent of the European Union’s land area by 2030.
  • MDD’s recognition “was a mandate to all five countries to jointly advance the protection and revitalisation of the Mura-Drava-Danube area and boost sustainable business practices”.
  • The reserve is home to floodplain forests, gravel and sand banks, river islands, oxbows and meadows.
  • It is home to continental Europe’s highest density of breeding white-tailed eagle (more than 150 pairs), as well as endangered species such as the little tern, black stork, otters, beavers and sturgeons.
  • It is also an important annual resting and feeding place for more than 250,000 migratory birds, according to WWF. Almost 900,000 people live in the biosphere reserve.
  • Additional projects for nature and people are already being implemented in the area. They have a combined funding of around 20 million Euros and are co-financed by the European Union.
  • These projects put river revitalisation, sustainable business practices enhancing cross-border cooperation into focus.
  • One such project is the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme-funded Amazon of Europe Bike Trail, a long-distance cycling trail following the Mura, Drava and Danube river landscapes for over 1,250 km.
  • When booking this cycling adventure, part of the spending directly supports nature conservation initiatives in the region.
  • Source : www.downtoearth.org.in


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