The recent kick-off event on „Science in the Carpathians (S4C) – Strategy Development and Networking Workshop“ (27-28 May 2008, Krakow, Poland) set the first milestone for a new science network for Global Change research in the Carpathian mountains.
Presentations, photos, and preliminary workgroup records can be downloaded from the workshop website.
A participatory exercise led by Marc Zebisch revealed that a large number of national and international networks relevant for the Carpathian exist and that research in the Carpathians addresses already some of the most pressing challenges in the face of Global Change.
On the other hand the potential synergetic effects of such networks and research activities within the Carpathians research community are still constrained by
a lack of interdisciplinary, applied and pan-Carpathian research;
lacking access of Carpathian researchers to EU-funded projects partly due to the structure of these funding schemes, but partly also due to sub-optimal scientific networking (i) among Carpathian researchers and (ii) between Carpathians and other European countries;
a missing link between the research community and the Carpathian Convention; and
the lack of a Carpathian research strategy.
From the inputs of the workshop participants, the following priority areas for future research were identified for the Carpathian region: (1) Climate change and meteorological data; (2) Sustainable development; (3) Land use change; (4) Forestry; (5) Biodiversity and nature conservation; (6) Water; and (7) Tourism development.
The workshop outcomes will be communicated to the representatives of the Ministerial Conference of Parties (COP) of the Carpathian Convention at the 2nd meeting in Bucharest , Romania (17-19 June 2008). At this occasion, the S4C initiative, presently consisting of more than 250 scientists and stakeholders, will make a plea to the representatives to:
officially support the S4C network as an important instrument to provide the scientific support to the aims of the Carpathian Convention;
search for possibilities to institutionalize and finance the network from national and international funds with a long-term perspective;
make use of the network by seeking for specific expertise, if needed in the frame of the Carpathian Convention;
support future events organized in the frame of S4C, in particular “Forum Carpaticum”, a meeting of scientists and stakeholders, tentatively scheduled for 2010.
The S4C will go beyond Bucharest. In a road map outlined during the Krakow workshop, members of the network have the opportunity to actively shape and steer the new S4C initiative by, for instance, contributing news to the Carpathian Flash (Newsletter), organizing S4C events, acting as a member of the steering committee, assisting in expanding the science network, proposing new projects and advocating the idea of S4C in their countries.
Since S4C is an open network, which aims to represent as many people and aspects of Carpathian research, we would like to invite you to actively participate in S4C, contribute to the S4C newsletter, and communicate S4C to other interested people. If you want to be included in the S4C Carpathian list , please contact Astrid Björnsen firstname.lastname@example.org