“D2C - DaRe to Connect” Kick-Off Conference in Bratislava

The international conference was organized in Bratislava (Slovakia) as a public kick-off event of the “D2C - DaRe to Connect” project. 11 partners from 8 countries are working in the project focussing on the closure of gaps in the ecological corridors of the European Green Belt in the Danube Region. The D2C project is co-funded by the European Union's ERDF and IPA funds through the Danube Transnational Program. The two-day conference was organized by BUND Bavaria, Department Green Belt the project leader, with support of the Slovak partner Ekopolis Foundation.

Lively discussion during Kick-off Conference in Bratislava © Ján Roháč

The first day was reserved for project-internal meetings and discussions. The second day consisted of the public Kick-Off Event, which was attended by more than 50 experts, stakeholders and interested persons. Melanie Kreutz and Martin Kuba (BUND Bavaria) introduced the European Green Belt Initiative and the contribution of the DaRe to Connect project. Markus Pöchtrager and Florian Danzinger from University Vienna presented first achievements and findings of the work with GIS- and Remote Sensing data.

Florian Ballnus (Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment, Danube Region Strategy, Priority Area Coordinator) described the EU Strategy for the Danube region, especially its Priority Area 6 Biodiversity. It became obvious how well the D2C project fits into these strategic aims. Melanie Kreutz (BUND Bavaria) explained the role of the European Green Belt as a natural part of the EU Green Infrastructure.

To be able to capitalize the project findings, speakers from other projects were present to report on their findings and experiences. Anke Hahn (TU Dresden) introduced the project MaGICLandscapes, which is largely compatible to the D2C project. Milan Janák (WWF Slovakia) explained the Alpine Carpathian Corridor, which spatially and thematically overlaps the European Green Belt in Slovakia. The last but definitely not the least part was a discussion. The room was full of commited experts so the discussion was long and intensive, even in the hallway, almost two hours after the conference.

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