Expanding cooperation networks, accessing know-how and guidelines, and exchanging good practices – Lake Balaton Functional Region



Governance of lake-related issues (water management, lake ecosystem, local economy, sustainable tourism, spatial planning, cooperation, fragmentation, etc.)


The Lake Balaton Functional Region participated in different international and European projects and studies, through which it expanded its cooperation network, accessed know-how and guidelines, and participated in knowledge exchange activities.

Some relevant projects and studies are mentioned down below.

The OECD study, Place-based policies for rural development: Lake Balaton, Hungary, was finalised in 2005. One of the novelties that this study highlighted was the need to manage the region as a functional area. The document presents a full scan of the area in terms of governance, territorial development policies and their implementation, before suggesting several recommendations. Overall, the offered directions for improving local initiatives are regarding funding, governance, and tourism.

Targeted Analysis / LAKES: Spatial progress and integrated development opportunities of large lakes in Europe, ESPON Final Report, 2021 represents a key step for the integrated development of large lakes regions in the EU because it focuses on territorial challenges and lake governance aspects. Hence, the Lake Balaton Functional Region has access to recommendations for a better integrated development. According to the report, the following standardised  issues were analysed for Lake Balaton: (1) Regulation of the quality of lake water, limiting water pollution, (2)Protection of lake-specific ecosystems (marchland, forests), (3) Regulation of fish catches / support to lake- based fisheries, (4) Strategic measures for demographic attractivity, (5) Development and networking of the tourism industry, (6) Protection and valorisation of cultural and natural heritage around the lake, and (7) Limiting urban-sprawl and soil-sealing. Moreover, apart from delivering a comprehensive analysis for each of the participating lake regions, the project also developed a “framework concept”, which works as an instrument that enables decision makers to support integrated development and promote large lake regions.

The World Lake Vision – A call to action, International Lake Committee Foundation (ILEC), Shiga Prefectural Government, and United Nations Environment Programme-International Environmental Technology Centre (UNEP-IETC), 2003 offered a series of principles to lake regions around the world to develop and implement sustainable and effective management programs. Lake Balaton Area participated in the international call in 2003 and received guidance to develop the region in an resilient and sustainable manner. Furthermore, the next World Lake Conference of ILEC will be organised in the Lake Balaton Functional Region. This aspect is important because the conference is globally renowned for being a hub of knowledge on sustainable management of lakes and their basins, where multi-sectoral participants gather to share ideas and experiences (i.e., academia, government, citizens, NGOs, and enterprises). More information regarding the World Lake Conferences can be accessed here: https://www.ilec.or.jp/en/activities/about-wlc/

EULAKES – European lakes under environmental stressors (Central Europe, 2010-2013)  is the project that generated The “Joint Transnational Strategy for lake management”, which provides guidelines for implementing a governance model that combines  environmental monitoring, risk and environmental fragility assessment and a system of participatory planning. Hence, the document’s objective was to help decision makers from Garda (IT), Balaton (HU), Neusiedl (AT) and Charzykowskie (PL) deal with climate change scenarios and provide them strong arguments to acquire citizens’ support for such an approach.

LakeAdmin – Regional administration of lake restoration initiatives (Interreg IVC, 2012-2014) strongly supported knowledge transfer between participants. Hence, good practices related to water management issues, in particular,  were transferred to be implemented in the participating regions. Overall, the project had 10 partners from nine countries (Finland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and Malta) and covered the following aspects: share, transfer and implement good practices, develop a guide based on the gathered best practices to be promoted beyond the participants, upgrade the process of establishing goals and setting collaborative plans, and enlarge the network of the LakeAdmin.