Romania. April 2020. The virtual workshop focusing on next steps for ecological corridors in Romania brought together 30 participants from Romanian authorities (three ministries: Environment, Spatial Planning and, respectively, Transportation, as well as national and regional agencies), academia (Romanian Academy, Transylvania University), protected areas (Piatra Craiului National Park), experts, NGOs. The meeting was acknowledged as a very useful one, and it marks the setup of a national informal technical working group for ecological connectivity in Romania under the coordination of Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests.
Under the umbrella of ConnectGREEN, on April 8, 2020, between 09:45 and 14:15, a virtual workshop took place on the topic of Defining, Identifying and Designating Ecological Corridors in Romania. The purpose of the virtual workshop was both to review data and tools developed in previous projects, and to launch technical and policy debates. These discussions were meant to be a preamble of the future meetings of the informal technical working group focusing on ecological corridors and integrated spatial planning in Romania under the coordination of Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests.
The projects that were included in the analysis were:
- "Ecological corridors for habitats and species in Romania" (COREHABS) - project coordinated by Transylvania University of Brasov
- "Development of methodology for establishing ecological corridors and training protected area administrators for a better management of them”- project coordinated by the National Environmental Guard
- Projects recently developed at regional level (Carpathian ecoregion): “Open Borders for Wildlife in the Carpathians” and ConnectGREEN. From the ConnectGREEN project, WWF-Romania presented the new methology developped at regional level.
The project presentations and Q&As were followed by a thorough review of the legal and policy framework regarding ecological connectivity at national level, done by WWF. The policy presentation continued with introducing the draft strategic document that is now under elaboration and consultation with the Carpathian Convention within the ConnectGREEN project.
With the ground being set for debate, participants were then invited to join one of two working groups:
- Technical working group. Debates on defining the most suitable approach for the methodology, or methodologies (in case two separate ones are deemed necessary) on Identifying and Designating ecological corridors.
- Strategic working group. Discussions were focused on identifying and filling in policy gaps with regards to ecological connectivity, as well as interlinking Romanian policies to international ones, especially covering the Carpathian region.
After debates, the two groups reunited in the plenary and shared the results of the two debates.
The workshop was evaluated as very useful by participants (see poll results in photo below). Followup actions are underway.