Maintaining ecosystems and finding sustainable solutions for development -has always been a pillar of Austria's Development Cooperation. This is why the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) is funding projects which help communities to identify measures that strengthen countries' climate resilience and ecosystem-based adaptions. In Moldova, for instance, a recently launched project aims to support the creation of the Lower Dniester National Park and to increase the local population's interest in specific development opportunities in the area: The inhabitants of in total five villages will benefit from water supply infrastructure works, and strips on both banks of the Dniester will be afforested. By the end of the project in 2021, residents of the region will not only be aware of how important it is to preserve biodiversity, but will also benefit from economic opportunities such as eco-tourism, organic farming oreco-business that the Lower Dniester Ramsar region has to offer.
"The project is in line with the Biologic Diversity Strategy of the Republic of Moldova (2015-2020), which seeks to improve the management of state-protected natural areas as well as the creation of the Lower Dniester National Park", states the Moldovan Minister of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment Liviu Volconovici at the kick-off event on 29 March 2018 in Chisinau.
With funding in the amount of 750.000 Euro, ADA will support the organisations "Biotica" and "EcoContact" to improve the Lower Dniester's water system, protect local ecosystems and find sustainable pathways for the region's development. Efforts to create a National Park date back to the late 1990s. With this project, significant steps are being undertaken to achieve that goal. Previous ADA-funded projects mainly focused on improving the water supply infrastructure in the region.
"The current project aims to continue these efforts and reduce the impact of climate change in the area, as extreme weather conditions such as droughts or floods have intensified in the last decade", emphasizes Alexei Andreev, Director of "Biotica". Rodica Iordanov, Executive Director of "EcoContact", underlines the long-term impact that the project aims to achieve, pointing out that its main intention is to reduce the pressure on biodiversity in the Lower Dniester area and ensure its long-term functionality and management.