Over recent years, there have been a great many changes in central and eastern Europe. In this time of change, a new international agreement will provide a framework for conservation and sustainable development in the Carpathians. The Carpathian Convention, adopted in 2003 by seven Carpathian countries, is a framework agreement establishing cooperation and a comprehensive policy on conservation and sustainable development in the Carpathians. It is designed to protect the Carpathian region and ensure sustainable human, social, cultural and economic development.
The United Nations Environment Programme – Regional Office for Europe (UNEP-ROE) is providing an Interim Secretariat and an office in Vienna with the support of Italy, Principality of Liechtenstein and Austria. The UNEP Interim Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention in Vienna provides assistance with the implementation of the Convention by promoting and facilitating cooperation between the Parties and Signatories of the Convention; cooperation with other relevant international bodies and conventions and public and private stakeholders; by encouraging and supporting research, communication and exchanges of information between the partners; by coordinating the preparation and implementation of the Convention's work programme; and by producing documentation and supporting further institutional development.
Now that it has entered into force, the challenge is to translate the framework Convention into practical commitments and action on the ground – such as the creation of the CNPA. Areas that may be covered by specific protocols include: conservation and sustainable use of biological and landscape diversity; water and river basin management; promoting intelligent management of surface and groundwater resources; agriculture, rural development and forestry; environmentally-sustainable management of traditional extensive farmland; transport and infrastructure to improve access to the Carpathians whilst reflecting the specificities of the mountain environment; tourism developed around the outstanding natural resources, landscapes and cultural heritage; industrial and energy usage and introducing environmentally-friendly production techniques; and the cultural heritage and traditional skills of the local populations.