On the 30th and 31st of May 2023, the CEI Conference "DANUBEPARKS Newt Conservation Partnership & Climate Change" was held in Văleni, Republic of Moldova, and it was concluded with a great success.
The conference, organized by Public Institution Nature Park Kopački rit, Agency Moldsilva, and DANUBEPARKS supported by the Central European Initiative (CEI), brought together experts, scientists, and conservationists from the Danube River Network of Protected Areas (DANUBEPARKS) to address the critical issues of newt conservation and climate change.
The hybrid two-day event featured insightful presentations of prominent European herpetologist and other experts and representatives of DANUBEPARKS Protected Areas from 8 Danube countries. Attendees had the opportunity to share experiences, best practices, and innovative approaches to conserving newts and amphibians, as well as restoring wetlands.
The event paved the way for the initiation of the first Danube-wide Crested Newt conservation project which will start in 2024. Also, the commitment of DANUBEPARKS and its partners to long-term conservation efforts, was confirmed by signing two strategic documents:
1. Memorandum of Cooperation „DANUBEPARKS Newt Conservation Partnership“ signed between DANUBEPARKS - Danube River Network of Protected Areas represented by Mr. Vlatko Rožac and Societas Europaea Herpetologica (European Herpetological Society) represented by Mr. Andreas Maletzy,
2. Cooperation Agreement between DANUBEPARKS and Lower Prut Natural Reserve represented by Mr. Vasilica Gheorghe, Lower Prut Natural Reserve Director.
"We are thrilled with the outcomes of this Conference," said Dr. Vlatko Rožac, a senior adviser in Kopački rit Nature Park and DANUBEPARKS president. "With implementation of this Cooperation Activity and signing two Memorandums of Cooperation, we provided a platform for fruitful discussions and knowledge sharing among experts in the field. We are confident that the insights gained from this event will contribute significantly to the conservation of newt species and the enhancement of climate resilience in the Danube River Basin."
At the end, one of the highlights of the conference was the field trip to the nearby Lake Baleu which is part of Lower Prut Natural Reserve, where participants observed the conservation efforts and ecological significance of the region. The field trip provided a valuable opportunity to deepen the understanding of newt habitats and their ecological interactions within the broader context of the Danube River Basin.
The conference served as a testament to the strong commitment of DANUBEPARKS Network, all its partners, and the CEI in addressing the challenges posed by climate change and promoting biodiversity conservation. By fostering regional cooperation and sharing expertise, the conference exemplified the importance of collective efforts in safeguarding our natural heritage.