- GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.
- Recently, UNESCO has designated Mura-Drava-Danube (MDD), in Europe as the world’s first ‘five-country biosphere reserve’.
- The biosphere reserve covers 700 kilometres of the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers and stretches across Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia.
- The total area of the reserve — a million hectares — in the often called ‘Amazon of Europe’, makes it the largest riverine protected area on the continent.
- The new reserve represents an important contribution to the European Green Deal and contributes to the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy in the Mura-Drava-Danube region.
- The EU Biodiversity Strategy’s aim is to revitalise 25,000 km of rivers and protect 30% of the European Union’s land area by 2030.
About the Mura-Drava-Danube (MDD) reserve
- The reserve is home to floodplain forests, gravel and sand banks, river islands, oxbows and meadows.
- It is also a home to continental Europe’s highest density of breeding white-tailed eagle, as well as endangered species such as the little tern, black stork, otters, beavers and sturgeons.
- It is also an important annual resting and feeding place for more than 250,000 migratory birds, according to WWF.
- Moreover, almost 900,000 people live in the biosphere reserve.
- Additional projects for nature and people are already being implemented in the area. They have a combined funding of around 20 million Euros and are co-financed by the European Union.
- These projects put river revitalisation, sustainable business practices enhancing cross-border cooperation into focus.
- One such project is the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme-funded Amazon of Europe Bike Trail, a long-distance cycling trail following the Mura, Drava and Danube River landscapes for over 1,250 km.