Support for the Protected Areas in Ukraine
Dear EUROPARC members and friends,
There is a time when we the community of Protected Areas of Europe need to stand together and show our support for our fellow Parks. That time is now.
Never had we thought in Europe that we would face war again, and few of us have for decades, witnessed invading tanks rolling through our lands.
Our Protected Area colleagues through Ukraine are now caught up in not just protecting their nature, but their own families.
EUROPARC is supporting the initiative by the Frankfurt Zoological Society, aided by our colleagues in EUROPARC Germany (NNL) to help support the basic necessities of our Ukrainian Protected Areas at this urgent time.
In these difficult times for Ukraine and for all humanity, it is our urgent concern to work together as Protected Areas in Europe and to stand up for the people and their livelihoods in Ukraine. After all, nature knows no boundaries. In order to act as quickly and as efficiently as possible, we want to unite our networks and capabilities and therefore we join the call of the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS).
The FZS has been active in Ukraine since 2002 and cooperates with almost 20 national parks and biosphere reserves in Ukraine. Most of these Protected Areas are located in the Carpathians and Polesia, which are one of Central Europe’s most important natural and cultural landscapes. Part of the Carpathians are part of the joint UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site “Ancient Beech Forests and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe,” while Polesia, in northwestern Ukraine, is home to one of the largest natural river floodplain landscapes on the continent, which also extends across parts of Poland, Belarus, and Russia.
The war in Ukraine has deeply shaken us all. In the last days, the FZS has mainly tried to bring its Ukrainian project partners and colleagues to safety. Some of them have already reached Poland. However, the majority of the Ukrainian Protected Area staff is still on site and all are helping where they can. The FZS is supporting this team to cope with the massive challenge posed by the large inflow of people, as many Ukrainians are fleeing their homes to the west of the country, to parts of Poland and the Carpathian Mountains. These regions are relatively calm at the moment. Ukrainian Protected Area staff and the FZS are continuing their work on the ground to the best of their ability, but in a new reality. The Protected Areas now accommodate many displaced people.
In the Carpathians, the FZS works not only in Ukraine, but also in Poland, Slovakia and Romania. Partners in these neighboring countries have mobilized to get much-needed relief supplies across the border. Within Ukraine, the FZS and Protected Area staff are distributing these materials to people in their region. Protected Areas in neighboring countries also open their doors to welcome people who make it across the border – including families of staff members in Ukraine.
The FZS aims to provide the Protected Areas in Polesia and in the Carpathians with the support and relief supplies that are continuously urgently needed, as Protected Areas are cut off from other funding in these times. This includes sleeping bags and mats, other camping equipment, flashlights, heaters, and support for the basic operating costs of the Protected Areas – fuel, heating, salaries. The FZS continues to be in direct contact with the Protected Areas in Ukraine and has a needs list from them of much-needed supplies. In order to provide these relief goods, the FZS collects donations and subsequently organizes a transport to Ukraine made possible by these donations.
In our view, the FZS is the partner throughout Europe that guarantees that our support will most effectively benefit the Protected Areas and the people living and working there.
We therefore call on all Protected Areas in Europe to join us and call for donations in their regions for the purpose of supporting the helping and refugee people in the Protected Areas of Ukraine.
Please use the following designated donation account of the FZS for this purpose:
Emergency support for Protected Areas in the Carpathians:
IBAN: DE63 5005 0201 0000 0800 02
BIC: HELADEF 1822
More information on the FZS’s call for donations is available here!
Thank you for your support! Our thoughts are with our colleagues in Ukraine.