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Tackling biodiversity through nature based solutions in protected areas and geoparks

The International Conference: “Nature Based Solutions in protected areas to tackle biodiversity loss & increase climate resilience-NATUREBES" was held in Demir Kapija, North Macedonia on 17-19 May 2024.

Experts, professors, doctors of science from European and Balkan universities and Geopark representatives, gathered to discuss Nature-based Solutions (NBS) which are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems. NBS address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.

Their use in response to societal challenges remains underexplored in the Western Balkans and the benefits compared to conventional engineered solutions are underestimated.

Discussions delved into the relation of NBS with geo-heritage, geo-education, tourism, biodiversity, agroforestry, natural hazards, agriculture, climate change, adaptation, and urban planning.

Geoparks and protected areas from Western Balkan countries pledged to start developing actions to incorporate nature-based solutions and policies to include mitigation and adaptation actions to climate change, increasing the resilience of communities and flora/fauna preservation and enhancement.

Experts underlined the need to further develop NBS in the framework of the relevant Sustainable Development Goals to achieve UN sustainability goals and better integration with the EU. Everyone agreed more efforts should be put into placing the NBS in plans, strategies, and policies.

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