The Danube-Carpathian transboundary region.

Partners involved: WWF Central and Eastern Europe (Austria), WWF Hungary, WWF Romania, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Austria), Birdlife Europe and Central Asia (Belgium)


Hildegard Meyer

Coordinator of activities in the case study

Irene Lucius

Supervisor, engagement with International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR)

Balázs Horváth

Regional Policy Officer, linking to Work package2 activities on policy

Cristian-Remus Papp

Engagement with the Carpathian Convention

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU)

Rafaela Schinegger

Scientist, creating the ecological network blueprint for the region, engagement with the ICPDR

Carina Seliger

Scientist, creating the ecological network blueprint for the region

Georg Gruber

Scientist responsible for management and analysis of multi-stressors, connectivity- and biodiversity data

Birdlife Europe

Barbara Herrero

Policy Officer, linking Work package2 activities on policy and Birdlife national offices in the region

Joana Bores

Important Bird Areas (IBA) conservation officer for Europe and Central Asia, linking Work package2 activities and Birdlife national offices in the region


The Danube-Carpathian transboundary region comprises 10 European Union Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia) and five neighbouring countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, and Ukraine). It includes many of Europe’s most spectacular wilderness areas and some of the largest remaining areas of virgin and natural forests. They are home to two-thirds of the European populations of brown bears, European lynx and grey wolves. The region boasts most of Europe’s last remaining intact rivers and wetlands, including the Danube Delta. The Danube shelters the sturgeons that survived the end of the dinosaurs but now are on the edge of extinction. For thousands of years, this natural landscape has been shaped by its people and is blessed with an incomparable wealth of history and culture.
However, this outstanding hotspot of biodiversity is under threat due to unsustainable economic development. New roads, urban development, intensifying agricultural and forestry practices, energy infrastructure, and tourism development are often planned and implemented without considering nature conservation, particularly protected areas and ecological connectivity. Land use changes and river regulations lead to the fragmentation of terrestrial and freshwater wildlife habitats.
There is a need for coordinated spatial planning across sectors to safeguard what is still in good natural conditions and to restore what has been destroyed in the past. In this context, the establishment of a Trans-European Nature Network (TEN-N) as required by the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, is pursued. The International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River brings together water managers from 14 countries sharing the Danube basin, and the Carpathian Convention engaging stakeholders from the seven Carpathian countries in sustainable development, provides good cooperation platforms for the project, along with the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.

The purpose of the case study

The general purpose of this case study is to foster transboundary and cross-border cooperation following a whole-of-government approach to planning the Trans-European Nature Network (TEN-N) and projects/initiatives on ecological connectivity in line with the Ecological Connectivity Declaration. The result will be a strategy for securing an ecological network of green and blue infrastructure, including possible financing mechanisms in the region.
For this purpose, we will engage with relevant working groups of the Carpathian Convention, the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), and the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.


  • Facilitate dialogue of stakeholders on building the TEN-N based on existing planning instruments and ongoing work on connectivity, while introducing the results of the NaturaConnect project, in particular the prioritisation and connectivity analysis for this cross-border region.
  • Co-create and facilitate feedback to NaturaConnect project deliverables to integrate people’s views, knowledge and experience, and touch ground, most importantly related to the development of a map presenting green and blue infrastructure in the region (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna)

Carpathian Convention:

  • Support the revision of the Carpathian Convention Action Plan on Biodiversity
  • Support the development of the Carpathian Convention Biodiversity Framework

International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR):

  • Support the revision of the Danube River Basin Management Plan (DRBMP) with a focus on biodiversity
  • Provide suggestions for improving ICPDR’s ecological prioritisation approach for continuous restoration and for extending it to the lateral dimension (i.e., toward floodplains).


We will engage with relevant stakeholders under the umbrella of the Carpathian Convention and the ICPDR and use these platforms for interactive workshops, exchange of knowledge, data and experience, and feedback to draft NaturaConnect deliverables. NaturaConnect will provide tools for ecological connectivity planning and outline funding opportunities for national administrations. Furthermore, the project will create an online platform for capacity building to foster a successful implementation of the TEN-N on the ground.