From 21st to 25th October we organized a study visit to Switzerland, as part of the "Partners for Nature" project.
The trip was attended by ten people from Croatia, including representatives of environmental NGOs (Zelena akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia, Association BIOM, Brod Ecological Society - BED, Green Osijek), public institutions for management of protected areas (Public Institution Green Ring, Nature Park Lastovo Islands, Međimurska priroda – Public Institution for Nature Protection), Ministry of Environment and Energy and Međimurje County. Our host was the Swiss partner on the project, Pro Natura.
As part of the trip, we visited two regional nature parks (Parc naturel "Gruyère-Pays d'Enhaut" and Parc naturel "Jura Vaudois"), two nature reserves ("La Pierreuse" and "Grande Cariçaie"), a local cooperative for cheese production " L'Etivaz "and the Pro Natura Visitor Center in Champ-Pittet, on the shores of Lake Neuchatel. During the visit, participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the nature protection system in Switzerland, as well as with different models of stakeholder involvement in the processes of protected area management planning. An important theme that has been pervasive throughout the journey has been the way in which nature conservation can serve to support local sustainable development.
The visit was also a great opportunity for networking of various stakeholders involved in nature protection, both between Swiss and Croatian institutions and NGOs, as well as among participants from Croatia, and we hope that some future joint projects and collaborations will result from it.
The "Partners for Nature" project is funded through the Swiss-Croatian Cooperation Program. The goal of the project is to build capacities of civil society organizations and public institutions for management of protected areas in Croatia through cooperation and partnership with Swiss civil society organizations and public institutions, in a way that ensures sustainable socio-economic development of local communities. The project is coordinated by Zelena akcija/Friends of the Earth Croata, while partners on the project include three Croatian public institutions for management of protected areas – Green Ring of Zagreb county, Nature Park Lastovo Islands and Međimurska priroda-Public Institution for Nature Protection – as well as the Swiss partner Pro Natura/Friends of the Earth Switzerland.
**Programme is co-financed by the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs. The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Zelena akcija/Friends of the Earth Croatia and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs.
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