ICPDR Proudly Takes on Role of Formal Host and Non-Country Member of Danube WILDisland Ramsar Regional Initiative

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4 persons holding a fabric banner that says Ramsar
ICPDR becomes Formal Host and Non-Country Member of the Danube WILDisland Ramsar Regional Initiative

The ICPDR is proud to announce its appointment as the formal host and Non-Country Member of the newly established Danube WILDisland Ramsar Regional Initiative (RRI). Approved by the 63rd meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on Wetlands, this initiative becomes the 22nd Ramsar Regional Initiative globally and the first river-based RRI in Europe.

The announcement was made by Musonda Mumba, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands, through a video message at the Danube Party during the 13th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region on June 20, 2024. A symbolic handover of the ICPDR patronage of the Danube WILDisland Ramsar Regional Initiative from Ramsar to the ICPDR also took place during this event, underscoring the formal transition of responsibilities.

Gerhard Bachner, the Austrian focal point of the Convention on Wetlands, ceremoniously handed over the documents to ICPDR Executive Secretary Birgit Vogel, along with representatives from DANUBEPARKS and the LIFE WILDisland project.

“This is a major milestone for the WILDisland project and the entire DANUBEPARKS family,” said Edith Klauser, Director of Donau-Auen National Park. “Our joint efforts to mobilize support for river redynamization and sustainable use of the Danube have been recognized.”

The journey to this milestone began in May 2019, involving extensive discussions and planning with representatives of the Donau-Auen National Park on the 'Wild Island' concept. “The discussions and planning that began five years ago have finally paid off,” noted Gerhard Bachner.

ICPDR Executive Secretary Birgit Vogel expressed immense pride in taking on this new role. “This initiative supports our mission of cleaner, healthier, and safer waters and integrates seamlessly with our updated River Basin Management Plans,” Vogel stated. “This moment is especially symbolic as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Danube River Protection Convention.”

Under ICPDR’s patronage, the Danube WILDisland RRI will be coordinated by DANUBEPARKS, a non-profit organization uniting 20 Protected Areas across nine Danube countries. The initiative will be managed through the newly established Lower Danube Office hosted by Persina Nature Park in Bulgaria.

This development heralds enhanced Danube-wide and cross-sector cooperation, joint restoration projects, and coordinated efforts to preserve and restore the Danube River and its natural habitats. The initiative emphasizes a bottom-up approach, considering the unique needs of each member country while leveraging collective expertise.

The initiative, developed within the international LIFE WILDisland project, has garnered active support from nine Danube countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine.

The ICPDR, together with the WILDisland team and the DANUBEPARKS family, eagerly anticipates future opportunities and collaborative efforts to enhance the Danube WILDisland Habitat Corridor.