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Presentation of the project

Geopark Karavanke/Karawanken - An opportunity and a challenge for the region 



The area of municipalities of Črna na Koroškem, Mežica, Prevalje, Ravne na Koroškem, Dravograd, Bleiburg, Neuhaus, Feistritz ob Bleiburg, Globasnitz, Gallizien, Sittersdorf, Bad Eisenkappel and Zell boasts an interesting geological structure with exceptional geological features. The total surface of area is 997 km2, and has a population of 51,500. The geopark area is known for its centuries-old mining tradition, while outcrops of ore bodies on the Peca/Petzen, Uršlja gora and Obir/Hochobir mountains slopes as well as their remains in old mines still attract the attention of many visitors and scientists, as some of them are of exceptional, even global scientific importance. The geopark region is known to lie on the Periadriatic fault system which forms the division between the Euroasian and African litospheric plates and makes an outstanding amalgamation of different geological compositions of the Alps in the region. A variety of rocks and other remains of volcanic activity can be found on Smrekovec and in Ebriach. Also, the geopark offers numerous deposits of ore minerals, rare minerals and fossils to be seen. A unique and interesting relief developed as a consequence of active tectonics and erosion processes during the Karavanke/Karawanken and Savinja Alps formation. Beautiful forests, mountain meadows and cliffs are habitats to some rare, endangered plant and animal species.


These unique features were recognised and promoted in the context of the project Geopark Karavanke/Karawanken which received EU funding.  The project aimed at: 

- setting up a cross-border geopark; 

- promoting sustainable use of rich natural resources and contributing to their conservation through

  cross-border coordination and management;

- enhancing cross-border cooperation;

- improving the visibility and encouraging sustainable development of the area particularly through 

  geotourism and geoeducation.  


This three-year project was implemented under the Operational Programme Cross-border Cooperation Slovenia-Austria 2007-2013 and completed on 31 August 2013. Most of the funding was provided by the European Regional Development Fund (with a contribution of EUR 2.1 million out of total EUR 2.5 million).  


Geopark Karavanke/Karawanken has become a success story and a model of successful cross-border management. The project’s concept, idea and activities will be taken to the next level with the project EUfutuR; the latter will be part funded by the European Regional Development Fund in the 2014-2020 programming period as well.  


Project EUfutuR 

The goal of the project is to define and develop a joint structure for cross-border cooperation between the municipalities, various tourism-related institutions, regional development agencies and associations in border areas which currently takes the form of a Working group ''Geopark'', and to further enhance this cooperation by building a European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) based on inter-municipal cooperation. The project seeks to reduce administrative obstacles to regional development and further strengthen already successful cooperation between 14 municipalities. Also, the project expects to see cooperation between public institutions in regions, in municipalities and citizens and key institutions involved in regional development activities improved. Active civic participation will be promoted and encouraged through various demonstrations and activities (annual week-long Geopark festival, school competition on a selected Geopark-related topic, initiatives for active participation of citizens through photo and video contests on a Geopark-related theme, etc.), which should help raise visibility of the project and, in turn, build image of the region. The project will make an outstanding contribution in terms of inviting the population in border areas to participate in cross-border activities and encouraging cooperation between the municipalities and the citizens.  

The Geopark Karavanke/Karawanken received the title UNESCO Global Geopark – an opportunity and a challenge for the region in November 2015. As part of the Global Geoparks Network, the Geopark intends to build the visibility of the region through the opportunities and means of the Network. The plans under the project include cooperation with neighbouring geoparks in the Alps-Adriatic space and upgrade of cooperation into a cooperation platform called the ''Alps Adriatic Geopark''. Furthermore, the planned activities under the project include the organisation of a UNESCO Global Geopark event in the Karavanke/Karawanken, and continuous promotion of the planned goal of setting up the first inter-municipal European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation between Slovenia and Austria. 


Sources of funding (in EUR)


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