On September 27-30, 2019, at the Synevyr National Park, an International Scientific and Practical Conference was held within the framework of the project of the Union of Nature Conservation of Germany (NABU) “Adaptation of local communities to the extension of Transcarpathian national parks, joint efforts of Churches and public organizations”. The project is being implemented in the territories of three Transcarpathian parks that have been expanded due to new territories in April this year – Synevyr National Park, Uzhansky National Park and Zacharovaniy Kraj. Its purpose is to facilitate the adaptation of local territorial and religious communities located in the extended and adjacent territories of national parks to the new conditions of practical environmental management and environmental behavior through the joint efforts of the Church, municipalities and public organizations.
Heads of Transcarpathian National Parks, delegates from “environmental” divisions of Churches and religious organizations, as well as representatives of public organizations, authorities, media and academia of Ukraine and Germany took part in the conference. In particular, Member of the European Parliament, Member of the leadership of the German Green Party Rebecca Harms, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster of the Verkhovna Rada Igor Krivosheev, Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on Ecological Policy and Nature Use Michael Vogel, Senior Expert at the Federal Ecological Fund of Germany DBU Wilhelm Kulke, Head of Central Asia and Eastern Europe (NABU) Boris Tikhomirov, Director of the Institute for Ecological and Religious Studies (IRCEF) Alexander Bokotey and others.
“I am pleased to participate in such an event, because it is extremely important to work in the regions before deciding at the top. I was already in the Carpathians, familiar with the Hutsuls and their culture. Therefore, I am glad that there is a collaboration between different social institutions and the state that the churches take responsibility for the environment. I am glad to speak about the development of the Carpathian region, the value of which cannot be overestimated not only for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe. There are very few places in Europe with such biodiversity. For those who want to keep it, they must take responsibility and do everything to improve the economic situation of the region’s inhabitants. The main task is to find a balance between preserving nature and improving people’s lives. I am optimistic and I hope we can do it,” said MEP Rebecca Harms, a member of the leadership of the German Green Party.
“It is very important that there is such attention on the part of the German colleagues and the new authorities to the problems of the national parks of Ukraine, in particular, and the NP Synevyr. Living within the parks, locals who are limited in their use of forest resources are not always fully aware of the value of the area, do not know the benefits of tourism, are not able and often do not have the financial opportunity to use such a bonus to improve their economic situation. Such projects help to adapt local communities to life in national parks, explain and learn to use it for their own benefit. And this is very important for the country where mass unemployment and poverty are on the population, ” Mykola Derbak, Director of Synevyr National Park, said in his speech at the opening ceremony.
Deputy Director for Research Yurij Tyukh in detail presented the tourist attractions of the region, told about the work of the park in all directions, infrastructure development and more.
People’s Deputies of Ukraine – Igor Krivosheev, chairman of the subcommittee on overcoming the consequences of the Chornobyl catastrophe, noted the important role of communication and establishment of dialogue between the administrations of protected territories and the local population. The initiator of the creation of a working group on the rescue of Borzhava mountain valley from industrial development and Alexander Marikovsky, Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on Environmental Policy and Environmental Management. People’s Deputy stressed the importance of implementing reforms in the province and supporting the region.
In his speech, the Head of the Transcarpathian Tourist Center Alexander Koval spoke about the potential of tourism development in the Carpathian National Parks as the most effective mechanism for community adaptation to the expansion of the PFP. Viktor Buchinsky and Dmytro Kobrynskyy of the NGO Clean Bank shared their experience in collecting and sorting municipal solid waste, a problem of which is extremely relevant in the territory of the PFP. German guests and fellows of NABU shared their experience in implementing environmental projects in Germany and spoke about opportunities for Ukrainian parks.
According to the event organizer, Director of the Institute for Ecological and Religious Studies (IRCEF) Alexander Bokotey, the purpose of the conference is to discuss the state of dialogue between the administrations of protected areas and the local population; assess the needs of local communities and their ability to develop methodological materials to assist administrations of protected areas; approve the materials developed for publication of the manual and information campaign, coordination of scientific, theological and public parts of the work, etc.
The next day after the conference, participants of the event visited the facilities under construction at the Synevyr National Park: the Alloy Forest Museum in the Chorna Rika Tract, the Brown Bear Rehabilitation Center, the Sapsan Birds and Birds Rehabilitation Center, etc. Also, they visited the Kolochava Museum – the Old Village Scans.