Photo credits

Ecoduct in the Tatras of Slovakia by Tomas Hulik

Sustainable Industry, Energy, Transport and Infrastructure

Mountains are a key source of energy, providing biomass fuels (wood, agricultural residue) as well as non-renewable fossil fuels. In general, power production in the Carpathian region relies mainly on fossil fuels, followed by nuclear, hydro and renewable energy sources. Some Carpathian countries hold important fossil fuel reserves, although total proven oil and natural gas reserves are limited. The Carpathians are also rich in minerals and metals and, therefore, suitable locations for extractive industry. After the political changes in 1990, industrial production in the Carpathian region dropped dramatically. Today, mining and metallurgical industries do have an important share in the regional economy, as do chemical, petrochemical, cement, engineering, pulp and paper, food, textile and furniture industries. 

Recognising the particular vulnerabilities of mountain areas and targeting the protection of the environment and human health, article 10 of the Carpathian Convention is devoted to Industry and Energy. It requires the parties to take measures and introduce activities to promote cleaner production, to provide adequate response to industrial accidents and mitigation systems, to promote environmentally sound methods of energy production, distribution and use, to facilitate the use of renewable sources, to implement energy-saving measures and to reduce the environmental impacts of mining. 

Industry and energy are closely related to transport and infrastructure, which plays an essential role in economic and social development. The Carpathians region’s transport has been affected by the changes of the political and economic system. There are substantial differences among Carpathian countries in respect to infrastructure and transport performance. Nevertheless, all have to make serious efforts to comply with the European standards. The Carpathian mountain chain still represents a traffic barrier particularly for the railways, highways, and international traffic corridors which affects the accessibility of the Carpathian region. 

Article 8 of the Convention contains a general obligation for the parties to pursue policies for sustainable transport and infrastructure and to cooperate to achieve this goal. 

Environmental assessment/information system, monitoring and early warning

In order to fully implement the Carpathian Convention, specific tools–such as environmental assessments, monitoring programmes, early warning systems and information systems–must be employed to ensure that the environmental, social and economic costs and benefits of any planned action are considered. Such tools are especially critical for multilateral environmental agreements, so that Parties can better cooperate on assessing, reporting and sharing data. Many of these tools required for the Carpathian Convention also fulfill obligations for other environmental agreements that the Carpathian countries might be a Party to, such as the EU Biodiversity Strategy. 

Article 12 of the Carpathian Convention requires Parties to apply specific assessment tools within the context of the Carpathian mountain ecosystems. In order to complement and harmonize Parties’ various information systems and methods, all Parties are requested to pursue transboundary cooperation, develop relevant indicators and share information. 

Related Working Groups and Initiatives

  • Science for the Carpathians  
  • Carpathian Biodiversity Information System (CBIS) developed by CERI 

    Selected Documents

    • S4C Research Strategy
    • Recommendations for COP6 of the Carpathian Convention from the Science for Carpathians Network (S4C)
    • Recommendations to the Carpathian Convention from the Science for the Carpathians (S4C) Network
    • Based on the inputs of participants of the 6th FORUM CARPATICUM “Linking the Environmental, Political and Societal Aspects for Carpathian Sustainability”, 21-25 June 2021
    • Recommendations for COP6 of the Carpathian Convention from the Science for Carpathians Network (S4C)
    • Based on highlights from Forum Carpaticum 2018 and recent research of the S4C community
    • S4C Research Agenda 2030

    Related projects

    • Integrating nature protection and sustainable tourism development into the Carpathian region via science-policy-practice interface 

    Vienna Programme Office
    Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention

    UN Environmnent
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