…could have been the slogan of the seminar in Montenegro run a few weeks ago by the Co-operation and Development Network (CDN). The topic was biodiversity (biological diversity) and was held in Montenegro since this country has a remarkably high percentage of Europe’s species, many which can be found only here. South eastern Europe is by far the region, in Europe with the highest amount of species, that is with the highest biodiversity. Reason enough for us to invite a lot of diverse people to a national park not far from Podgorica the capital of Montenegro. Cultural diversity with biological diversity.
The last king, Nikola I, decided already in the 19th Century that this park region should stay untouched, for it is simply beautiful. So the mountains and the lakes around never experienced influence by human beings and the woods are what biologists call a “virgin forest.” That is they do not show even the signs of the first level of degradation.
When the participants arrived on 14th July at the train station in Kolasin, a little village near the Park with a very little and lonely train station, that is especially lonely when you arrive there at 5 in the morning, they could get an impression of what would expect us during the following week – pure nature! We stayed at bungalows in the middle of the wood and used open air-showers, because we had only one small indoor shower-cum-washroom with four walls around it.
We discussed topics like how to implement ecotourism, what effects war has on biodiversity, what rôles NGOs and the UN have and what could be done to save the biodiversity. We gained a lot of knowledge about the regional richness with the; Biogradsko jezero, the Biogradsko Lake where we were staying; Skadar Lake, the largest lake on the Balkan peninsular and about the situations in the countries where we all came from. We spoke a lot about future projects and had many interesting ideas such as Kofi with Annan, Balkania and a Bilingual exchange … be sure that you will
hear about them soon!
But we did not only work but also had lots of fun at the campfire listening to the true story of Dracula, learning Bavarian Schuhplattler and also had one day when we swam in the Adriatic Sea at Podgorica. All in all a very successful and enriching week that brought a bunch of new projects that need to developed.