Several national parks and large protected areas have been established in the Danube Region since the 1990s, and they have increasingly tightened their bonds of cooperation. The signing of the Declaration of Tulcea (Romania) in April 2007 is regarded as a milestone on the way.
The network was brought to life by eight protected areas to better tackle the challenges presenting themselves after the accession of several Danube states to the EU. The traffic avalanche along the Danube Corridor, for example, which was steadily growing until the onset of the economic crisis, put increasing pressure on the remaining wetlands and pristine river sections.
Carl Manzano, Director of the Austrian Donau-Auen National Park acted as interim speaker of the network. After the kick-off of the transnational nature conservation project “Danube River Network of Protected Areas – DANUBEPARKS” on July 9, cooperation is thriving. The three-year project is carried out by nine administrative bodies of nature preserves from Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria and draws support from the EU’s South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme.
Brussels’ great appreciation of DANUBEPARKS is demonstrated by the fact that the initiative figures among 42 projects which were selected as being worthy of funding from among as many as 821(!) submissions. A total amount of 2.8 million euros is available for the seven work packages (organisational structure of the network, wetland management, river revitalisation, biodiversity conservation, monitoring, implementation of Natura 2000, development of eco-friendly tourism and joint communication strategies).
Administrative bodies of nature preserves from Bavaria, Serbia and Croatia are also integrated in the network, even though their activities are not fundable. The majority of environment ministries of the Danube states were granted observer status.
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(Source: aqua press Int. 3/2009)