The LIFE programme is the EU's funding instrument for the environment and climate action. It has been running since 1992 and has co-financed more than 5,500 projects across the EU and countries outside the EU. This year the LIFE turns 30. As DANUBEPARKS is playing active role in two LIFE projects - LIFE WILDisland and LIFE Danube Free Sky - this year we were especially involved in the celebration of a big LIFE programme anniversary.
- LIFE WILDisland
In Austria the anniversary was celebrated with a specialist conference, which took place on May 24-25th in HBLFA Raumberg-Gumpenstein. The event gathered dozens of experts in various field, who have successfully completed or are currently working on nature conservation projects, co-funded by the LIFE financial instrument of the European Commission.
LIFE WILDisland is one among almost 70 Austria-lead projects supported by LIFE between 1996-2022 and it is the NATURE project with greatest EU co-funding (9 million EUR) in the country and also in Europe. It was represented by all three Austrian partners – Donau-Auen National Park (as coordinating beneficiary), and viadonau and Verbund (as very experienced and skillful associated beneficiaries).
The two-day conference focused on projects in the field of nature and biodiversity. Successful projects for habitat improvement of endangered species as well as renaturation projects of water bodies and forests were presented. A subsequent panel discussion focused on the topic of success factors of LIFE projects. The first day of the event was rounded off by field trips to the Salza Estuary restoration area on the Enns River and to the Trautenfels Castle Iris Meadow - two examples of successfully completed LIFE-funded projects. The second day was dedicated to perspectives of different stakeholders on the funding program. The keynote speakers were Angelo Salsi (European Commission, Head of LIFE Unit), Landesrat Johann Seitinger (Province of Styria) and the Secretary General of BMLRT, Mr. Günther Liebel.
As a ceremonial conclusion of the event, a small fest on the River Enns was hosted by the students of HBLFA Raumberg-Gumpenstein.
The event provided an excellent opportunity to exchange experience and network with other LIFE-funded projects in Austria, see colleagues and friends and enjoy the hospitality of Styria.
- LIFE Danube Free Sky
In Croatia, a bird-watching action with the students of the Department of Biology was organized. On this occasion, World Migratory Bird Day was also marked.
Partners presented the project and its activities to the students, after which we observed and recorded the birds with a walk along the rabbit embankment to the Sakadaš dock and a touristic boat ride in the Special Zoological Reserve in Kopački rit
In Slovakia, the LIFE Programme has been presented at Europe Day in Bratislava organized by the Representation of the European Commission in Slovakia, where the visitors could take a quiz and learn about the LIFE Danube Free Sky project and related activities.