Case study:Transboundary Management Programme for the planned 5-country Biosphere Reserve “Mura-Drava-Danube” - COOP MDD

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Location: 46° 28' 16", 16° 35' 37"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology, Land use management - agriculture, Land use management - forestry, Monitoring, Spatial planning
Country Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia
Main contact forename Mag.(FH) Magdalena
Main contact surname Wagner
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation World Wide Fund for Nature Austria - WWF Austria
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations World Wide Fund for Nature Austria - WWF Austria; Office of the State Government of Styria, Department 13 – Environment and Spatial Planning, Section Nature Conservation; Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation; Municipality Velika Polana; Public institution for nature protection of Virovitica-Podravina County; Balaton-felvidéki National Park Directorate; Public institution for nature protection of Osijek-Baranja County; Public Institution for Management of Protected Natural Areas in the Koprivnica Križevci County; WWF Adria - Association for the protection of nature and conservation of biological diversity; Vojvodina Šume Public Institution; Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province
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Project summary

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Spanning across Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia, the riverine landscape of the lower courses of the Drava and Mura and related Danube sections forms one of Europe’s most important bio-corridors. Since 1993, NGOs and public authorities have cooperated to work towards the protection of this unique landscape as a UNESCO Transboundary Biosphere Reserve “Mura-Drava-Danube” (TBR MDD) - the“Amazon of Europe”.

However, the lack of operational cooperation for harmonising management practices between 12 single protected areas in the 5 TBR countries threatens the ecological integrity of the planned TBR MDD. Coop MDD aims to overcome these obstacles by establishing a strategic and operational framework for transboundary nature protection, restoration and management of the Mura-Drava-Danube river corridor in Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia as the basis of a well-managed TBR MDD.

Through workshops, study visits, capacity building, awareness-raising activities and pilot implementation of concrete actions in the field of restoration, stakeholder participation and environmental education, the cooperation of PA authorities and cross-sectoral stakeholders for management of TBR MDD will be established, and a wider acceptance by local stakeholders, inhabitants and visitors for establishment of TBR MDD will be achieved.

The main project output - the Transboundary Management Programme for River-Dynamic Corridor Development - will be taken up by the 5-country ministerial Coordination Board as their baseline strategic and operational work programme towards establishment of the TBR MDD.

This will set a solid foundation for-long term functional implementation of the 1 million-hectare, 700 km long TBR MDD in the context of transboundary nature conservation, making it Europe's largest protected river corridor and world's first penta-lateral UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Monitoring surveys and results

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The project’s main result will be the established strategic and operational framework for joint management of the planned TBR MDD. Cooperation between 10 Protected Areas and their stakeholders within the planned TBR MDD will be intensified and made operational, improving the connectivity of stakeholders, institutional structures and local authorities in this important ecological corridor. By jointly developing the Transboundary Management Programme, and the Transboundary MDD Action Plan, at least 100 members of protected area authorities and 800 other stakeholders from protected areas (sectoral agencies, NGO’s, interest groups, schools, etc.), as well as the local population will directly benefit from established or improved long-term cooperation, but also in raised awareness and knowledge on TBR management, and in improved acceptance of the TBR MDD by cross-sectoral stakeholders and inhabitants of the area. The intensified cooperation of stakeholders in the planned TBR MDD will in the long term result in a well-managed functioning TBR MDD, ensuring well preserved and managed dynamic natural river courses within the riverine landscape, leading to improved status of water bodies, habitats and species populations defined in river basin and Natura2000 management plans.

Lessons learnt

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Catchment and subcatchment


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Project background

Reach length directly affected (m)
Project started 2017/01/01
Works started
Works completed
Project completed 2019/06/30
Total cost category 1000 - 5000 k€
Total cost (k€) 2154
2,154 k€
2,154,000 €
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources Programme co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)

Cost for project phases

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Investigation and design
Stakeholder engagement and communication
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Post-project management and maintenance

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure
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Structural measures
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Social measures (incl. engagement)


Hydromorphological quality elements

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Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

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Monitoring documents

Additional documents and videos

Additional links and references

Link Description Nhnax Ic6g For nature without borders - coop MDD promo video

Supplementary Information

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