Inspiring stories for Nature and People
A midterm programme meeting was recently held at Čardaklije, a beautiful property in Bosanski Petrovci. This was necessary to plan in detail all the future activities of the programme, which will last for two more years. It was also a good opportunity to look back at acheivements from the past year.
In March in National Park Biogradska Gora in Montenegro, the programme’s camera traps photographed the first bear. This was a very important milestone, as the goal of WWF’s work in that area is to develop a new tourist product – bear watching in the national parks Biogradska gora and Tara. And without bears, that would have been quite difficult! And more recently experts tagged a second bear to be monitored in Montenegro. This bear is called Nikola and is the biggest bear in the Dinarides region. The fact that two bears have been spotted in that area gives hope there might be many more.
In Serbia the WWF Academy for Nature is ongoing. This work has already helped convince professors about importance of the nature, and has seen children from around the country protect nature. It is now continuing with the second generation of Academy students. Because of the positive results by our education team, the WWF Academy of Nature will be replicated in some other protected areas in neighboring countries as early as next year.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina local residents, business owners and entrepreneurs living in and around National Park Una gathered and founded the "Una Tourism Cluster". Since its founding the cluster has seen nothing but success: the number of cluster members is increasing, their co-operation is enviable, and WWF has helped some of them with small grants. The harmony of the cluster was evident to the entire programme team when cluster members joined us in the Čardaklije and honored us with their stories.
WWF is now also telling their stories. From fruits to vegetables, from berry products to honey, you can find everything for sale by the Marčeta family from Martin Brod. In Cardaklije they are developing a new menu where for the first time in Bosnia and Herzegovina you can find kopun, a delectable type of chicken. And this kopun will be offered by other members of the cluster that are in the restaurant business. Through the small grants we have also created new jobs: two lawyers have joined forces and founded an organization for project proposal writing, which is also helping cluster members.
Following these successes, it is WWF’s desire to share these good practice examples with other protected areas in the region and with the residents living nearby. Cooperation between protected area managers and local communities should always be at the highest level: decisions need to be made together so that all see benefits. WWF will put all such success stories on the web page www.natureforpeople.org to emphasize the values of nature and show real examples of successful collaborations. This platform will highlight not only the stories of WWF like the ones mentioned above, but also successes of other organizations and partners.
The small grants, like those given in Una, will also be available for others. The Dinaric Arc Parks Protected Areas Network, a partner on the project, will launch a Small Grants programme at the beginning of the year. This grants programme aims to encourage better co-operation between parks and the local community.
Here at WWF, we look forward to implementing planned activities, as well as the new stories that we will soon tell! We hope that they will help persuade decision-makers to find more space and time for nature in their busy agendas.