Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia have submitted the final papers of the application process to UNESCO in order to attain a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation for the land around the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers. This was the final step in achieving a joint Biosphere Reserve status for the land occupied by all five countries.
As reported by sokszinuvidek.24.hu, the status is a result of careful planning which began nearly 10 years ago in 2011.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserve designation, similarly to the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, is internationally recognised and reputed. The area’s new status should be confirmed and come into effect in June 2020.
The resulting Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve – often dubbed as Europe’s Amazon – will have a length of 700km and 800,000 hectares, which means it will be the continents largest UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is one of Europe’s most ecologically pristine river systems; the three rivers act as a green corridor for local wildlife, connecting over 1 million hectares of land.
The waters of the Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve’s waters provide a habitat for over 300 waterfowl and numerous fish species, including the Danube salmon.
According to conservationists, the river system provides potable water and flood protection for local villages. It is hoped that the UNESCO designation will increase tourism in the area.
The designation is a testament to successful international cooperation with regards to environmental protection in the area.