What is a Peace Park?
The idea of a peace park is not new or far-fetched. The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), based in Switzerland, has listed over 600 ‘transboundary protected areas’ which straddle international boundaries (see Links section). About 25 of these are specifically dedicated as ‘Peace Parks,’ symbols of peace and cooperation between countries where sometimes there has been serious conflict. One of the first was the Morokulien between Norway and Sweden set up in 1914.
Why in this part of the Balkans?
The spectacular mountains and valleys of northern Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro share a landscape of wild beauty, exceptional flora and fauna, as well as a traditional lifestyle, that is almost unique in Europe and relatively unspoilt by modern development. But it is a landscape under threat: from declining population, illegal logging and other environmental destruction. The establishment of a Balkans Peace Park would unite the existing communities of the three countries in preserving biodiversity and enabling local people to continue to live in the valleys, supported by sustainable tourism.
Where is the proposed area?
Although great progress is being made, the Peace Park is still just an idea. But the approximate 3000sq km of the Balkans Peace Park should include the Kelmend, Shala Valley and Valbona regions of Albania, the Prokletije and Komovi area of Montenegro and the Hajla-Rugova-Djeravica region of Kosovo.
The story of the B3P
Like many other organizations, B3P was started by a group of people who passionately believed in an idea and were determined to make it happen. B3P is a genuinely grassroots network bringing together a diverse selection of people: academics, artists, environmental activists both in the Balkans around the globe, and of course local people living and working in the valleys and villages of Northern Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo.
Graham Watson, former Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar, is a Patron of the Balkans Peace Park Project.
“The European Union has done a great deal to secure peace and prosperity for its members, but has been deeply troubled by conflict in South East Europe. Whilst EU membership remains a beacon of hope for Balkan countries, schemes like the Balkan Peace Park Project are vitally important to peace in Europe. The Project rises above the politics that have plagued the region, and instead focuses on the issues that are common to Albanians, Kosovans and Montenegrins alike; protecting the shared natural environment and promoting a sustainable economic prosperity for all those living in the area. For me, this embodies both the spirit of liberalism and European integration, and I am therefore proud to be a Patron of the Balkans Peace Park Project.” (former MEP Graham Watson:, 2010)