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WCC 2016 Res 034 - Activity Report

General Information
IUCN Constituent: 
Pro Natura / Friends of the Earth Switzerland
IUCN Constituent type: 
IUCN Member
Period covered: 
Geographic scope: 
European Union (EU)
Czech Republic
In implementing this Resolution your organization has worked/consulted with...
IUCN Members: 
Ministerstvo zivotního prostredí / Czech Republic
Bund Naturschutz in Bayern / Germany
IUCN Commissions: 
IUCN Secretariat: 
Other non-IUCN related organisations: 
Hnuti DUHA, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic, Scientists for Sumava Platform (Czech Republic), Sumava National Park Authority & Council, Municipalities with territory inside NP Sumava.
Indicate and briefly describe any actions that have been carried out to implement this Resolution: 
Policy influencing/advocacyIn connection with the recent amendment to the Nature protection act, the Ministry of the Environment (MoE) has prepared a new ordinance regulating protected area (PA) management plans as to their mandatory contents and their preparation. Where the previous ordinance had mandated setting out the aims of the protected area and assigning an IUCN category following directly therefrom, the MoE newly proposed loosening the adherence to IUCN categories. Rather than a clear present declaration of an IUCN category for each PA, the category could newly be set out as a „target“ for the PA. E.g., NP Sumava: target IUCN cat. II. In practice, this would mean that PAs might not be placed within the IUCN classification at present, but at a hypothetical future date, which seriously puts in question the will of the MoE to achieve their stated management goals. In the case of NP Sumava, it would have had serious consequences for the implementation of res. WCC 6.034. Our partners in Hnuti DUHA (Friends of the Earth Czech Republic) held meetings with the MoE and the Office of the Government (i.e. the Cabinet Office) and notified the scientific community of the proposed changes, following which the „Scientists for Sumava“ platform also sent a letter to the Cabinet Office. At the behest of the Cabinet office, the MoE then altered the ordinance proposal and approved it in a form conforming to the previous version, i.e. PA management plans will continue to contain the IUCN category that the parks are to adhere to. We have held preliminary meetings about the new zonation of the national park: with the Director and technical staff of NP Sumava, as well as local NGOs. We continue to act in concert with the concerned scientific community (e.g. platform Scientists for Sumava), including WCPA members (e.g. Dr. Zdena Krenova). On-going
Policy influencing/advocacyThe Ministry of the Environment has worked out an internal directive, setting out the methodology for preparing National Park zonation. It provides that forests are to be divided up into nature protection zones according to their place in the classification of natural-ness of forest cover. The latter classification was originally developed for the purposes of research and monitoring of forests in smaller PAs like nature reserves, not for the purposes of national park zonation. Using this classification method yields completely different outcomes than, e.g., Natura 2000 biotope mapping. Moreover, the entire approach of setting conservation status as a function of the current state of forest stands, rather than their desired end-state aimed for in the final status of the PA, is itself problematic. This approach has already caused deviation from the goals of previous management plans and indeed regression in the protection status of certain areas. Specifically, an overreliance on the criteria of the natural-ness classification has in the past led to the fragmentation of the ‘first zone’ of NP Sumava, i.e. the area with the strictest conservation regime, and to an erosion of the conservation status of some of its most valuable forest stands. Advocacy from our partners in Hnuti DUHA, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic, unfortunately failed to achieve meaningful improvements to the document in its approval process, as the Ministry of Environment rejected Hnuti DUHA’s prompts. The directive serves as a guideline to NP employees in the present process of delineating nature conservation zones. In its current form, as approved by the Ministry in November 2017 and described above, the document is likely to complicate the process of NP zonation, which directly influences the management of individual areas of the park.Completed
Policy influencing/advocacyWe, along with our NGO and academic partners, took active part in a campaign for a better law regulating national parks in the Czech Republic. The main focus was advocacy, but also raising public awareness and providing technical expertise to support the legislative process, as appropriate. An English-language report from the campaign is linked below. The Ministry of Environment introduced an amendment to the Nature and Landscape Conservation Act (link to full text of current version listed below) in 2016, which contained new rules for Czech national parks. As part of the campaign, we and our partners prepared a series of specific texts, which were tabled in Parliament as amendments to the new legislation and some of which were eventually passed into law when the Czech Parliament approved the revised bill in April 2017. The amended law states for the first time that the long-term aim of conservation in national parks is primarily to protect undisturbed natural processes and that this should take place on more than one half of their area. The long-term aim is set specifically with reference to IUCN PA category II, which applies to three out of four Czech national parks, including NP Sumava. Broadly speaking, this success contributes to the fulfilment of paragraph 4(b) of the resolution as the conservation aim is now aligned with it in terms of the park’s end-state. Unfortunately, no timeline has been set out for its achievement (as paragraph 4b mandates) and the law explicitly provides for a 15-year moratorium on NP zonation changes, after an initial revision of the zonation, to be completed this year. In this sense, the new law represents an obstacle to the implementation of the resolution, as no further changes to NP zonation will be possible until 2033 if the revised zonation is approved this year.Completed
Scientific/technical activitiesOur partners at Hnuti DUHA and in the scientific community suggested in 2013 that the core non-intervention zone of NP Sumava, intended to protect natural processes, could already cover 50 % of the area of the NP (peer-reviewed study linked below), based on mapping of the present extent of habitats protected by Natura 2000, which are suitable for non-intervention management and benefit from it. An update to the Natura 2000 habitats mapping (2010-2014) led our partners also to update the zoning proposal in accordance with new data last year in consultation with WCPA experts (e.g. Dr. Zdena Krenova). According to the new proposal, non-intervention “nature” zones should extend over 53% of Sumava NP immediately. While the new proposal is not yet published, it is attached below. The proposal has been introduced to the representatives of the Ministry of Environment, the Sumava National Park Authority and Council, as well as mayors of some local municipalities (whose territory is partly contained within the park) and is currently under discussion in this broad group of stakeholders. Notably, a number of the elected mayors of the local municipalities are in favour of the proposal. This action has included a number of field activities, as the preparation of the revised maps required verifying the state of locations with the park, photographic documentation, etc. On-going
Please report on the result /achievement of the actions taken: 
To date, the resolution has not been implemented in full. The positive outcome of our activities has been the legal mandate for 'eventually' achieving protection of natural processes over the majority of the area of NP Sumava. The key missing piece is a binding plan, or even a road map, of how to get there.
What challenges have you encountered in implementing this Resolution and what measures have you taken to overcome them?: 
The chief obstacle has been political pressure on the Ministry of Environment against the interest of nature protection. To overcome it, we have lobbied the Ministry and, when necessary, the Cabinet Office, to respect their prior commitments and the resolution, albeit with mixed results.
Identify and briefly describe what future actions are planned for the implementation of this Resolution: 
Future ActionDescription
Education/Communication/Raising awarenessWe will continue to coordinate our activity with the scientific community in order to both educate the public and provide the technical expertise necessary to support sound decision making. We will soon publish the updated scientific basis for the NP zonation and continue to discuss it with relevant stakeholders.
Policy influencing/advocacyWe will advocate a zonation of the park in accordance with the resolution. The Sumava NP Authority is preparing a proposal for the new zonation of the NP, following from the amended Nature Protection Act and its implementing regulation. Once complete, we will review it and enter the public comment process to convince the authority and Ministry of the Environment to conform to the resolution.
Additional Information