The 33rd session of the International Co-ordinating Council of the MAB Programme (MAB-ICC) took place on 13-17 September 2021 – Abuja, Nigeria

confirmed the new Biosphere Reserve, namely the five-country Transboundary Biosphere Reserve Mura-Drava-Danube (TBR MDD) that comprises five individual biosphere reserves: the Mura-Drava-Danube Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Republic of Croatia and Hungary), the Bačko Podunavlje Biosphere Reserve (Republic of Serbia), the Mura River Biosphere Reserve (Republic of Slovenia) and the Lower Mura Valley (Republic of Austria). The TBR covers a total surface of 931,820 ha.

The area encompasses the largest and best-preserved natural river system in Central Europe. Accounting for a substantial share of the European Green Belt, the Mura, Drava, and Danube Rivers (MDD) form an approximately 600-km long, dynamic, and interconnected lifeline through the Danube Basin. A coherent network of 13 major protected areas, with different protection statuses along the rivers, highlights the ecological values of the MDD and accounts for around 2.5% of the total Natura 2000 area of the five countries.

Comprising nearly 1,000,000 ha and stretching 700 km, the TBR MDD forms Europe’s largest coherent and dynamic river ecosystem. The TBR acts as a backbone for the survival of representative habitats and species, while the wise use of its ecosystem services significantly benefits local populations. By “thinking globally and acting locally”, the States Parties jointly strive for harmonized management of the TBR, creating a best practice model for international cooperation for river basin management. The TBR MDD is based on mutual trust and collaboration among all State Parties and the cross-sectoral participation of all relevant stakeholders and local communities. With respect to the historic dimensions of the region, the TBR is also designed to build bridges between people and nature. Multiculturality is also a unique value of the TBR MDD, which as the world’s first five-country biosphere reserve, would function as a symbol of unity.

The joint mission of the TBR MDD is the conservation, restoration, and wise use of the Mura, Drava, and Danube Rivers and their ecosystems.