The Balkans Peace Parks Project (B3P)
The Balkans Peace Parks Project (B3P) envisaged a cross-border park in a rugged mountainous region spanning Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo as a symbol of peace and cooperation where communities from all three countries work together to protect their fragile environment, stimulate local employment and promote sustainable visitor activities in the region.
B3P is a grassroots network bringing together a diverse selection of people: academics, artists, environmental activists both in the Balkans around the globe, and of course local people living and working in the valleys and villages of Northern Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo.
The articles in this collection have been written by those involved with the project as members of B3P, researchers, volunteers and interns working with B3P.
More information about the charity, and volunteering is available from the Balkans Peace Park Project website.
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A section of the ICUN European Green Belt: the cross-border peace park (Albania/Montenegro/Kosovo)Nelson Mandela, speaking of peace parks said “I know of no political movement, no philosophy, no ideology, which does not agree with the concept of peace parks … in a world beset by conflict and division peace is one of the cornerstones of the future … in the entire world” The IUCN publication, Transboundary Protected Areas for Peace and Co-operation, lists over 600 such regions and defines Parks for Peace as: “transboundary protected areas that are formally dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and to the promotion of peace and co-operation”. The single Prokletije mountain range is divided by three borders. It is one of the most beautiful and untouched areas of high natural habitat in Europe. One of the aims here is to preserve this most outstanding area of natural beauty and value, as well as making a contribution towards peace and stability in the region, promoting the growth of community between ethnic and religious groups. Interest in a peace park for this area has already been activated in Belgrade, Peć, Plav, Podgorica, Shkodra, Tirana, Plav and elsewhere, although, as Franz Stummann observed, “Politicians don’t see what’s happening on the borders” . It has been said that "borders constitute the main cause of wars ... neighboring countries are the most prone to fight. The danger of violence creeps around borders" . Despite considerable skepticism initially, a "peace park", covering a wide geographical area has been developing for the past decade in the area surrounding the meeting point in the high remote mountains of Kosovo/Albania/Montenegro. Each of these aspire to EU membership. There are already many people, NGOs, local and national authorities working on ongoing relevant projects within the area, as well as dialoguing, across the borders.
Peace through Tourism: A Case-Study of the Balkans Peace Park Project.Introduction: ...The first part of this research will be carried out on the basis of a theoretical review. Having defined peace parks in the context of the issues raised, the evolution of tourism needs to be specifically connected with sustainable development and peace issues. Thirdly, the potential and limitations of the development of tourism will be analysed in three aspects - economic, social-cultural and environmental, in the process of promoting peace. The second part will be a case-study of the Balkans Peace Park Project. The impacts of the development of tourism on local people were observed for 9 weeks in Thethi National Park of Albania which is a part of the proposed Balkans Peace Park area. During the observation, a questionnaire survey (Appendix I) was conducted in order to assess local awareness of both the costs and benefits of tourism; approximately 30% of households responded. An interview with the international organization which implemented the tourism development project in the region was also organized. This research will analyse results of both these, as well as the results of observation and participation in the community. 1-3. Literature Review
Improving inter-state relations through transboundary peace parks.Transboundary Peace Parks are established along international borders surrounded by biodiversity that needs to be protected, particularly in regions that were devastated as consequence of internal or international conflicts. They are conceived as peacebuilding strategies to bring former enemies together through the joint management of the shared environment. This dissertation explores the effectiveness of Transboundary Peace Parks in promoting more cooperative and peaceful inter-State relations. In order to demonstrate such effectiveness, three initiatives will be analyzed: Cordillera del Cóndor between Ecuador and Peru, the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration between Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda and the Balkans Peace Park Project (B3P) involving Albania, Kosovo/a and Montenegro. The concepts State sovereignty, borders and territory will be analyzed in this dissertation since they are key factors to take in account when establishing a Transboundary Peace Park. Apart from States, the involvement of local communities is essential when developing these initiatives. The participation of other stakeholders such as NGOs, international organizations and private donors, is also vital for the success of these initiatives. This dissertation also aims to draw the attention to the positive effects of Peace Parks in their area of influence since they receive mostly criticism.