The Carpathian Convention marks its 20th anniversary with a new Biodiversity Framework and a transboundary protected wetland

The Carpathian Convention marks its 20th anniversary with a new Biodiversity Framework and a transboundary protected wetland

Belgrade, 12 October 2023 – Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Carpathian Convention, Environment Ministers and senior officials from the Carpathian countries adopted the Carpathian Biodiversity Framework, among other decisions, at their seventh Conference of the Parties (COP7), held in Belgrade, Serbia. The new framework is a comprehensive instrument supporting the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework at the Carpathian level.

“The Carpathian Biodiversity Framework is a vital tool for translating global goals into actions by various stakeholders in the region. Serbia is proud to contribute to this transformative endeavor,” said Irena Vujović, Minister of Environmental Protection of Serbia. “Let’s join forces to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and create a sustainable Carpathian region. I am confident that we’ll achieve the Carpathian Vision 2050, securing a thriving Carpathian ecosystem for years to come.”

The Carpathian Convention – which brings together the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine – was established in 2003 to protect the second largest mountain range in Europe, home to nearly 4,000 plant species and the largest pristine forests in Europe. It is also inhabited by the richest population of large carnivores on the continent. The Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

“We should celebrate the gains of the last two decades. But we cannot rest on our laurels. A potentially devastating combination of climate change, nature loss and pollution is putting new pressure on the Carpathian region,” said Elizabeth Mrema, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP. “We are happy to see that the Carpathian Convention is strengthening its collaboration with other biodiversity-related, as well as chemicals-related accords, to implement the Global Biodiversity Framework in an overarching and integrated manner.”

At the COP7, the Environment Ministers of Serbia and Romania sealed the establishment of a transboundary Ramsar site in the Đerdap gorge (Iron Gate) National Park, along the Danube River. The wetland site spans the border between Serbia and Romania.

Forest ecosystems represent a precious resource in the Carpathians, harbouring a wealth of ecological, economic and cultural values. The Assessment of climate change risks and adaptation options for the Carpathian forest ecosystems and their services was presented at the meeting. Another COP7 highlight was the establishment of an Inventory of Virgin Forests of the Carpathians, which the ministers described in their official declaration as “a critical step towards fortifying the protection of some of Europe’s few remaining primary forests,” further encouraging forextending the Inventory to encompass other Carpathian forests with varying degrees of naturalness.”

The Carpathian ministers called for a renewed commitment to achieve the Carpathian Vision 2050, where, by 2050, “the Carpathians are a thriving and sustainable region, where people live in harmony with nature. The biodiversity and natural beauty of the Carpathians are conserved, restored, and wisely used, providing a healthy environment and essential ecosystems services for all people of the region and beyond.”

The representatives from the Carpathian countries also recognized the need to address air, water, and soil pollution, with a specific focus on combating plastic pollution in the region’s watercourses.



About the Carpathians

The Carpathian Mountains provide essential ecosystem services to millions of people who reside in the area and beyond, contributing to the health of diverse landscapes. In addition to being the home to the headwaters of major rivers, the region is a biodiversity hotspot in Europe, harbouring some of Europe’s last remaining virgin forests and the largest populations of large carnivores: lynxes, brown bears and wolves. 

About the Carpathian Convention

The Carpathian Convention, a multinational environmental agreement, unites the seven Carpathian countries—Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine—in a unique partnership to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the Carpathian region while promoting sustainable development. The Convention provides an open forum for discussion between various stakeholders, a framework for transnational cooperation across sectors, and a platform for developing and implementing transnational strategies, programmes, and projects for the protection and sustainable development of the Carpathian region.

About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.


For more information, please contact:

Alejandro Laguna, UNEP Head of Communication for Europe

News and Media Unit, UN Environment Programme

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