Preserving the European Green Belt as Green Infrastructure

Participants 10th Pan-European Green Belt Conference © Katharina Grund

More than 100 representatives of 24 European countries gathered from 15 to 19 October at the World Heritage Site Wartburg for the 10th Pan-European Green Belt Conference. 

The European Commission has highlighted the importance of the 12,500-kilometre-long Green Belt Europe by recognising it as a project of European importance. "The Green Belt initiative is a model for cross-border cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organisations. This is the only way to maintain and develop the Green Belt as the backbone of a European network of ecological corridor", says Prof. Hubert Weiger, chairman of the BUND and member of the EuroNatur board. "Today, the Green Belt stands for the idea of a united and free Europe. Here a death strip develops into a lifeline", says Thuringia's Environment Minister Anja Siegesmund.

As a joint message of the conference, the European Green Belt Association as the steering structure of the European Initiative and the more than 110 participants call in the "Eisenach Resolution" on all stakeholders and decision-makers from local, national and EU level to take further necessary steps to preserve and promote this common natural and cultural heritage as a Green Infrastructure. "The European biodiversity objectives can only be achieved if the European Union, its member states and neighbouring countries massively increase their investments in Europe's Green Infrastructure. The Green Belt shows these investments are worthwhile," says Gabriel Schwaderer, Director of EuroNatur and Chair of the European Green Belt Association.

The conference was jointly organised by BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany), EuroNatur, the Thuringian Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation (TMUEN) and the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN).

European Green Belt Days

European Green Belt Day 2016 in Prespa region (Greece, FYR Macedonia, Albania) © Fejmi Daut

Every year, the European Green Belt Initiative celebrates the biological diversity and cultural heritage in the impressive landscapes along the former Iron Curtain during the European Green Belt Days from 18 to 24 of September. The first European Green Belt Day was celebrated on 24 September 2016 in all nine countries along the Balkan Green Belt.

The European Green Belt Days are aiming at increasing the public awareness and knowledge about the Initiative and its vision as well as to improve cross-border exchange and cooperation. Especially the high number of different events implemented in the same week and scattered all along the European Green Belt gives the celebration a very special value and is a strong sign for cross-border cooperation in the frame of nature protection!

Get an impression of the variety of the European Green Belt Days in the "Manual for celebrating European Green Belt Days".

Manual for celebrating European Green Belt Days

Manual for celebrating European Green Belt Days

Download (5 MB)

Model municipalities of the European Green Belt

Mayor Gazmend Muhaxheri (2nd from right) with NGO partners from Environmentally Responsible Action (ERA) group and EuroNatur. © Fatlum Hasani

Municipalities are of special importance for the practical implementation of activities on the ground. The European Green Belt Association awards model municipalities as “Model municipality of the European Green Belt” every year. It is assigned to municipalities with outstanding commitment for the European Green Belt as outlined in the criteria for selection.

A maximum of one municipality per year and region (Fennoscandia, Baltic, Central and Balkan) may be awarded as “Model municipality of the European Green Belt”. The respective Regional Coordinator may suggest municipalities or may accept proposals.

The Regional Coordinator examines the proposals according to the undermentioned criteria and informs the Board of the European Green Belt Association of the intention to grant the award. The Board of the European Green Belt Association approves the assignment of the award and the Regional Coordinator implements the actual awarding.

In 2015 the award was presented for the first time to the municipality of Haidmühle in Germany. In 2017 the municipality Leopoldschlag in Austria was awarded. In 2018 the first municipality was awarded at the Balkan Green Belt, the municipality of Peja in Kosovo.

The award does not imply any financial support.




Declaration of Intent on the European Green Belt

On the national levels the European Green Belt Initiative experiences strong support. On the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the European Green Belt Initiative a Declaration of Intent (DoI) was signed. Currently 18 countries have signed the DoI and thus have officially committed themselves to continue their engagement to support the initiative. In addition, two countries expressed their support for the DoI by letters (Serbia, FYR Macedonia).

The following countries signed the Declaration of Intent on the European Green Belt until now: Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany,  Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia.


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