The five-sided Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve is a biosphere reserve covering the natural areas of Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia. It is one of the largest natural areas in Europe, the Ministry of Agriculture said.
In March 2011, during the Hungarian Presidency of the EU, the Ministers of the Environment of the five countries committed themselves to the establishment of a five-party biosphere reserve. As a first step, the Mura-Drava-Danube Transboundary Biosphere Reserve was established in 2012 with the participation of Hungary and Croatia. It became the sixth biosphere reserve in Hungary and also the first cross-border one. In the following years, national biosphere reserves were established in the other three countries, and in the autumn of 2020, Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia jointly named it the five-sided Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve.
Hungary participates in the biosphere reserve with an additional 100,000 hectares, altogether almost 330,000 hectares. The enlargement process was supported by more than 50 municipalities, mainly in Zala County. The area of the newly established Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve already exceeds 943,000 hectares and includes many protected natural areas and Natura 2000 areas as well as non-protected areas of the five countries.
In Hungary, part of the protected natural areas and Natura 2000 areas of the Danube-Drava National Park Directorate and the Balaton Uplands National Park Directorate belong to it.
The purpose of establishing the biosphere reserve is the joint conservation and restoration of natural habitats and ecosystems, the conservation of biological diversity, and the development of a wide range of ecosystem services.
In addition to research, monitoring and the exchange of information, cooperation plays an important role in reviving and widely promoting the relationship between man and nature. The five countries will also place great emphasis on the joint development of ecosystem services in the future.
There are currently 714 biosphere reserves in 129 countries around the world; 21 are cross-border biosphere reserves, of which 4 operate in the framework of tripartite cooperation. The Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve, however, is the only five-sided biosphere reserve in the world.