Green Infrastructure


Realization of the Balkan Regional Ecological Network (BREN)

The Balkan region is a cradle of very rich biodiversity in terms of both flora and fauna. There are a great number of endemic species, and many species are of global or European conservation importance. Unfortunately, a large number of species in the region have already become extinct, while others are seriously threatened, mainly as a result of continued and increasing anthropogenic pressure. The loss of biodiversity is taking place in all of the countries of the Balkans and those around it.

The unique biodiversity of the Balkans is a treasure shared by the countries of the region and its protection should also be their common responsibility. Major threats to biodiversity often extend well beyond the borders of individual countries. There is an obvious and growing need for joint actions to be undertaken on a regional scale, for countries to join forces, and exchange knowledge and experience.

A first step was made in June 2010 when ministers and high-level officials responsible for the environment of the Balkans and neighbouring regions met in Mavrovo, Macedonia, with observers from donors, the international community, scientific institutions and NGOs. They agreed joint action for biodiversity conservation within the region and with the neighbouring regions, to be taken in the context of the principles of sustainability and against the backdrop of changing climatic conditions.

The conference resulted in the Mavrovo Declaration. Part of the Declaration addresses the importance of joint regional Balkan action, recognizing that efforts by individual countries should be complemented by regional cooperation to help reach global biodiversity targets. This project aimed to implement part of the priority actions, as laid down in the Mavrovo Declaration and supported by the ministers.


Establish the basis for a functional regional ecological network in the Western Balkans by:

  1. mapping the existing elements;
  2. collecting and collating the existing knowledge and capacity; and
  3. establishing a working expert network.


The project worked towards the establishment of a coherent and functional ecological network (with protected areas at its core and defined corridors that will allow it to function) fully integrated with land-use sectors, physical planning and the need for climate change adaptation in the Balkan region.

Time frame

November 2012 – April 2013



MAVA Foundation


This was a scoping phase of the project focusing on the situation analysis, which included a review of:

  • data and information and a gap analysis to identify where data and information are missing;
  • the current situation;
  • the key stakeholders within the region;
  • a consideration of areas of potential synergy in relation to other initiatives.