The Dinaric Arc is a region of South-Eastern Europe encompassing a large part of the Western Balkans between the Adriatic Sea and the Danube Plain. This region is situated in South-Eastern Europe and covers an area of approximately 100,000 km2, with more than 6,000 km of coastline; it encompasses the whole region facing the eastern Adriatic, from the area of Trieste (Italy) to Tirana (Albania). The Dinaric Alps form the backbone of the region, which is endowed with a natural and cultural heritage with richness and variety that is almost unparalleled in Europe. The region hosts healthy populations of large carnivores, numerous endemic plant species, large and almost unspoiled forests, and is extremely rich in terms of freshwater ecosystems.
Yet, these qualities are under threat due to previous and current socio-political circumstances, climate change and changes in land use. Over the past twenty years, the countries of the Dinaric Arc have experienced periods of political and social instability, economic crisis and transition towards a market economy and European integration. Effects of rural abandonment and degradation of the natural environment have severe impacts on the livelihoods of many rural communities in the region. The same is true for unsustainable forms of land use. For these and other reasons there are a number of different international organizations working on different environmental topics in the region, and as a result created a unique opportunity to improve areas of biodiversity, landscape conservation and sustainable rural development in the Western Balkans.
Having a number of international organizations working on similar topics created a necessity for a better coordination of these organizations and their projects in the Dinaric Arc region. As a result, Dinaric Arc Initiative (DAI) was established in 2004 with an aim to give an added value to ongoing work of DAI members in the Dinaric Arc region.
The Dinaric Arc Initiative (DAI) is a broad framework of collaboration which aims to add value to the ongoing programmes and activities of all its partners, and put in place new specific actions aiming at:
• The preservation of the wealth and integrity of the Dinaric Arc eco-region through the establishment of networks of protected areas and ecological corridors, and support to initiatives for the conservation of its biological diversity and the sustainable management of its resources;
• The preservation and valorisation of the cultural diversity and the cultural heritage of the Dinaric Arc;
• The promotion of intercultural dialogue, transboundary collaboration and scientific cooperation among the countries of the region;
• The empowerment of local societies to foster local community development through rural development measures based on the valorisation of the natural and cultural heritage, without overexploiting the capital of natural resources;
• The integration of environmental policies across all the relevant sectoral initiatives.