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UNESCO declares five-CEE- country biosphere reserve

Nomination by Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia

16 September, 16:04
(ANSA) - BELGRADE, SEP 16 - The United Nations educational scientific and cultural organisation UNESCO has formally declared a 'biosphere reserve' spanning the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers, the first five-country biosphere in the world, the Slovenian news agency STA reported on Wednesday. The biosphere has an area of 900,000 hectares along the three rivers, and it is the largest protected riparian reserve in Europe. The nomination for the biosphere reserve was submitted by Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia in 2019. It brings together "the Lower Mura Valley Biosphere Reserve (Austria), the Mura-Drava-Danube Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Croatia and Hungary), the Backo Podunavlje Biosphere Reserve (Serbia) and the Mura River Biosphere Reserve (Slovenia)," UNESCO said in a statement. "The first biosphere reserve to connect five countries in the world encompasses the largest and best-preserved river system in Central Europe and aims to create a model of international cooperation for river basin management, while building bridges between people and nature," UNESCO noted.

The creation of the biosphere reserve "is a historic step towards a new era for people and nature in Europe," the WWF said, underlining that the protected area "has been called the 'Amazon of Europe' due to its thriving biodiversity" and it is currently "the largest river-based protected area" in Europe.

"The decision to protect the 'Amazon of Europe' is a beacon of hope that should be replicated across the continent," said Claire Baffert, Senior Water Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office. WWF, together with the MAVA Foundation and local partners supported for years the creation of the reserve, WWF noted. (ANSA).

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