The International Day for Biological Diversity was an excellent occasion to link several timely events together. At the Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD in Bonn a side-event was held on 22 May to highlight results, good practices and lessons learned from the UNEP/GEF project on the implementation of the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development in Central and Eastern Europe (Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland).
In parallel with the side event in Bonn, a press conference and a closing celebration of the UNEP/GEF project (Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity through sound tourism development in biosphere reserves in Central and Eastern Europe) was organized at the project site in Jósvafő, Aggtelek National Park in Hungary. The press conference was held by the CBD National Focal Point with the participation of the project team and colleagues of the Aggtelek NP.
The national event was very much linked to the Biodiversity and Agriculture topic as special attention was paid to the agriculture-related activities of the UNEP/GEF project. In the Aggtelek Biosphere Reserve the project team has worked together with the village inhabitants to re-establish the use and maintenance of the orchards with several old local fruit varieties. The orchards are a typical element of the cultural landscape and are very attractive for tourists - as are the products made out of the fruits which local people sell to visitors. The revitalisation of the orchards not only provides a source of income to the inhabitants, but is an important contribution to nature conservation as the orchards contribute to conserve the genetic diversity of traditional fruit varieties as well as provide the habitat of diverse plant and species communities. In order to show all these, media representatives and other participants were taken to a rehabilitated traditional orchard.
In order to continue previous years’ tradition, the Ministry of Environment and Water announced a nation-wide fairy tale writing competition titled ‘Still any sky-high bean stalks at your village?’. The title refers to a wide known story called 'Jack and the bean stalk'. Within the scope of this competition we invite people (without any age restriction) to write a tale or short story related to rural life or agriculture. The deadline of the competition is the UN World Food Day on 16 October 2008. The Ministry of Environment and Water plans to publish a book with the best tales received.