... one-third of all European vascular plant species can be found in the Carpathians? That means almost 4,000 plant species, and 481 of them are found only in the Carpathians!
… Gerlachovsky Peak (2,655 m altitude) in the High Tatras in Slovak Republic is the highest peak of the Carpathians?
… the European Union’s largest populations of brown bears, wolves, lynx, European bisons and imperial eagles (globally threatened species) are found in the Carpathians?
… 36 national parks, 51 nature parks and protected landscape areas, 19 biosphere reserves and 200 other protected areas are member of the Carpathian Network of Protected areas
… there are 36 registered UNESCO World Heritage sites and 49 important pilgrimage destinations in the Carpathian area?
… the number of hotels in the Carpathians has increased by nearly 60% in the last ten years?
… the Carpathians contain the continent's largest remaining natural mountain beech and beech/coniferous forest ecosystems and the largest area of pristine forest in Europe (outside Russia)?
... the Carpathians are the largest, most twisted and fragmented mountain chain in Europe? They are Europe’s largest mountains by area.
… in the 1970’s, about 1,000,000 people worked in the mining sector in the Carpathians? Today, the number of employees in this sector is about 340,000.
… the Carpathians were put on the WWF ‘Global 200’ list of major ecoregions in need of biodiversity and habitat conservation?
… more than half of the Carpathians are covered by forests? The Carpathian forests are a vital link between the forests of the north and those of the west and south-west of Europe.
The Carpathian Convention is a best practice example of a successful regional governance mechanism to promote conservation and sustainable development in the Carpathian region.
In 2001, Ukraine requested UNEP to facilitate an intergovernmental consultation process among the Carpathian countries, which led to the adoption of the Carpathian Convention in Kyiv in 2003. Since the beginning, UNEP provided a secretariat to the intergovernmental process as well as programmatic support to the Carpathian Convention. UNEP, besides continuing to be an active observer of the Convention, is also entrusted to administer the Convention’s Secretariat (SCC) through its Vienna Office.
Let me congratulate the seven Parties to the Carpathian Convention - Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic and Ukraine - and the many stakeholders and observers involved in its implementation for the achievements that have been made, including the adoption of Protocols on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological and Landscape Diversity, on Sustainable Tourism, on Sustainable Forest Management, and on Sustainable Transport.
Actions at all levels – from local to international - have developed the Carpathian Convention into a vital regional platform for exchange, joint efforts and partnership at the European level. The importance of this type of regional environmental agreements, which combines concerns for environmental protection and the life of local communities, will substantially increase in the years to come.
The Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians (Carpathian Convention) was adopted and signed by the seven Parties (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Ukraine) in May 2003 in Kyiv, Ukraine, and entered into force in January 2006. It is the only multi-level governance mechanism covering the whole of the Carpathian area and besides the Alpine Convention the second sub-regional treaty-based regime for the protection and sustainable development of a mountain region worldwide.
The common vision of the Parties to the Carpathian Convention is to pursue comprehensive policy and cooperation in order to guarantee protection and sustainable development of the Carpathians. The improvement of the quality of live, the strengthening of local economies and communities, and the conservation of natural values and cultural heritage should go hand in hand in the Carpathian area.
The Convention provides a framework for cooperation and multi-sectoral policy coordination, a platform for joint strategies for sustainable development, and a forum for dialogue between all stakeholders involved – from the local community and various NGO’s up to the regional and national Governments, Institutions of the European Union and the United Nations.