Key achievements

REC Turkey launched the project “Technical Assistance for Natura 2000 Requirements in Turkey”, which aims to establish a methodology for the selection of potential Natura 2000 sites; harmonise the national database system with the Birds and Habitats Directives; and increase institutional capacity in relation to the Natura 2000 concept.

REC Bulgaria implemented several projects related to the Natura 2000 network. Activities included supporting civil society involvement in Natura 2000 management; producing promotional publications; mapping biodiversity; and developing nature protection plans.

REC Croatia launched the Danube Wetlands Eco-tourism Network. This cooperation initiative brings together tourism organisations and NGOs from nine Danubian countries that operate in small protected wetland areas. The aims are to further develop eco-tourism in the Danube River Basin and to promote the long-term protection of ecologically sensitive areas. The plan is that network activities will be funded under the Danube Transnational Programme.

REC Bosnia and Herzegovina was contracted by Bird Life International and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) to organise a national mid-term assessment meeting. The meeting took place on February 18 in Mostar and provided a platform for CEPF grantees to assess CEPF investments in their country and to discuss related challenges and the future of CEPF investment on a national scale. The event also provided an opportunity for the exchange of experience and networking between national CSOs and other institutions in relation to biodiversity and nature protection issues.

REC Bosnia and Herzegovina also launched the project “Collection, Production and Placement of Medicinal Plants on the Market in Relation to Self-employment and Tourism Development”, financed by the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The project aims to strengthen the capacities of women and young people in rural parts of the Upper Vrbas region to grow, harvest and process medicinal and aromatic plants on a self-employed basis.

REC Poland continued to implement projects related to the Kampinos Wetlands. The consortium coordinated by REC Poland purchased 60 ha of meadows; prepared construction plans for hydrological measures to be introduced under the project; organised the monitoring of water and biodiversity in the Kampinos forest; and implemented many educational and consultation activities. The project will close in 2018, with the final result being the improved condition of 6,000 ha of wetlands in the Kampinos National Park. The project received the Polish Innovation Award 2015, which recognises outstanding Polish companies, institutions and organisations whose work is characterised by innovation, research and development.

REC Poland also continued to implement the “Carpathian Unites” project, which aims to protect mountain meadows in cooperation with local farmers. In 2015, over 700 ha of meadows were covered by the project. The REC supports farmers by preparing documentation for agro-environmental payments, and monitoring the impacts on biodiversity of sheep herding.

A project in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the marketing of medicinal plants is helping women and young people in rural areas to kick start self-employment.