the green heart
A nature-positive future for
Central and Eastern Europe
On 24, February 2022, Russian forces invaded Ukraine. The war has changed everything - especially in Ukraine, but also in other countries in our region and beyond. In Ukraine, this senseless war has destroyed not only lives, homes and infrastructure, but also the enviroment, both directly and indirectly. The war and destruction are continuing as we write these words, with no end in sight.
This 2021 annual report pre-dates the grim milestone of the war. Already before the war, it was a challenging year for us and others in our region - the second year into a global Covid pandemic that has disrupted our societies, work and lives. From forests protected to wetlands restored, the pages of this report document the achievements made in spite of these challenging disruptions.
Last year also marked our second year as "WWF-CEE" - the second year in our journey to establish the first multi-country, self-governing organisation in the global WWF Network and a strong catalyst for a nature- and climate-positive future for our region. As part of this effort, we continued developing our presence in Slovakia and Ukraine.
On top of the Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine has presented an even greater test and challenge to us and our region. Rebuilding and restoring what has been lost in Ukraine will take years if not generations. But amidst the destruction, at least there is the opportunity to build back better, to ensure that investment is made for a better future, one that is climate- and nature-positive. We at WWF-CEE are ready to contibute to this undertaking - for Ukraine; for our region, the Green Heart of Europe; and beyond.
Sasha Bezuhanova, Chairperson, WWF-CEE
Andreas Beckmann, Regional CEO, WWF-CEE
Get to know the stories of the Green Heart of Europe
Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it a form.
- Jean Luc Godard
To know it is to love it. That’s the Green Heart of Europe, that beats within the nature of the central and eastern part of the continent. It’s one of the most spectacular biodiversity hotspots in Europe with significant importance for global conservation. From the Danube basin to the Carpathian Mountains the wilderness areas include some of the largest remaining virgin and natural forests. They are home to 2/3 of the European populations of bears, lynx, and wolves. The region boasts most of Europe’s last remaining intact rivers and wetlands. The Danube shelters the sturgeons that survived the end of the dinosaurs but now teeter on the edge of extinction.
We invite you to dive deep into our latest collection of stories from the Green Heart of Europe and learn more about the pulse of nature in this part of the world. WWF-CEE annual review will take you through a piece of our shared journey to a nature-positive future for our region and beyond.