This study surveys the factors for success or failure of transboundary cooperation and asks subsequently whether transboundary protected area complexes contribute to a sustainable development of the respective region. Thirty guided (phone or face-to-face) interviews have been carried out in three case study sites in Europe and a workshop with 30 participants was held during a meeting of EUROPARC’s TransParcNet. Additionally, the ‘change formula’, one of the basic principles of change management, has been applied to analyse the underlying causes for success or failure of intended changes. It was found that personal contacts and informal events are key factors for a successful and long-lasting cooperation between neighbouring protected areas. Cross-border cooperation in nature conservation contributes to the environmental and social sustainability of a region and even channels funds to the often marginalised border regions suffering from a weak economy.
Keywords: transboundary cooperation, Protected areas management, factors for success or failure, change formula, sustainable development